The Foothills Mystery is the author's fourth book that features Marie Quizno, Detective Chief of the fictional town of Big Rock, Colorado. When Tom Campbell, a doctoral candidate in mathematics at Colorado University is near completion of the first solo free climb the Risky Route in the foothills, a person he knows greets him on the trail above. Tom asks for a sip of the coffee that he smells. Instead, the person stamps on his hand causing him to fall to his death. Marie Quizno, who is climbing a nearby route with two other officers, finds his body. Her investigation leads to identifying who stamped on Campbell's hand and whether it was an attempt at murder.