Featured: Murder under the Tree by Susan Bernhardt

Featured: Murder under the Tree by Susan Bernhardt Purchase:

The murders in the fictionalized community of Sudbury Falls multiply at an alarming rate, and Kay Driscoll is an immensely appealing sleuth.

While Kay attends a Christmas tea at Hawthorne Hills Retirement Home, a beloved caretaker dies from an allergic reaction to peanuts.

When the official coroner’s report rules the cause of death to be accidental, a small group of residents suspect foul play and call upon Kay to investigate.

Kay uncovers sinister plots of fraud, revenge, and corruption at the Home. During this season of peace on earth, good will to men, additional murders occur.

Despite multiple attempts on her life, and with the support once again of her best friends, Elizabeth and Deirdre, Kay continues her quest for bringing justice for the victims.

Kay’s first Christmas in Sudbury Falls is an unforgettable one, with equal amounts of celebration and danger.

‘Tis the season to be sleuthing!”

Susan Bernhardt

Meet Susan Bernhardt:

Susan’s town in northern Wisconsin was an inspiration for the quaint setting of her Kay Driscoll novels. Like Kay Driscoll in her cozy mysteries, Susan is a retired nurse who volunteers at her local free clinic. She also writes the Irina Curtius mysteries. She lives with her husband, William, and has two sons, Peter and David.

An avid reader of mysteries, she is a member of Sisters in Crime, Inc. and the Wisconsin Writers Association.

Her published works include: A Manhattan Murder Mystery (An Irina Curtius Mystery), Dress to Kill (An Irina Curtius Mystery), The Ginseng Conspiracy (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 1), Murder Under the Tree (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 2), Murder by Fireworks (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 3), Paradise Can Be Murder (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 4), Murder Misunderstood (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 5).

When not writing, Susan loves to travel, bicycle, kayak, and create culinary magic in her kitchen. She works in stained-glass, daydreams in her organic garden, stays up late reading mysteries, and eats lots of chocolate.

The Kay Driscoll Mysteries – Cozies For All Seasons 

“As a rule, Cozies revolve around multiple murders in a small community, a likable amateur sleuth, and often food. In the Kay Driscoll series, Bernhardt fulfills our cozy expectations and adds a few refreshing touches. The murders in the fictionalized community of Sudbury Falls multiply at an alarming rate. Kay Driscoll as the sleuth is immensely appealing because, like every character in Bernhardt’s book, she’s multi-dimensional. She’s sweet, tough, vulnerable, and reckless in her sense of justice. When Kay’s husband begs her to walk away from the investigation because her life is in danger, indomitable Kay refuses to stop. She continues her pursuit of the truth and we root for her every inch of the way, holding our breath whenever she puts herself in harm’s way.

With support from two of her friends (Elizabeth, a liberated woman who’s never met a man she didn’t like, and Deirdre, the quintessential spiritualist concerned with good karma and a balanced environment with the help of feng shui), Kay throws herself wholeheartedly into uncovering the truth, using Sweet Marissa’s Patisserie as headquarters for their crime-solving efforts. As the investigation gets underway, Kay and friends encounter a city-wide corruption involving some of the best families in town as well as government officials.

By featuring Sweet Marissa’s Patisserie as Kay’s crime-solving headquarters, Bernhardt does more than continue a tradition of presenting some of the action in a cozy around the consumption of food. She turns the locale in its mouth-watering splendor into another character in the story. Bernhardt shows great expertise not only in her characterizations and descriptions but also in maintaining tension in dialogues and keeping the tension strong from one scene to the next.

Bernhardt has mastered the art of the cozy, providing plenty of red herrings and plot twists to keep our interest throughout. For this reader, a refreshing and most welcome touch was Bernhardt’s use of art and music in the narrative. During a visit Kay pays to a local museum, the author’s adroit pen turns us into museum goers looking over Kay’s shoulders as she views the works of the masters. With equal expertise, Bernhardt drops us into the audience when Kay attends a music gig by her husband’s band; the music resonates through and off the pages.

With such a successful foray into the genre, one can only expect many more Kay Driscoll adventures by Susan Bernhardt in the future. Bravo, Bernhardt. Long live cozies.”

Review by Kenneth Hicks:

Kay Driscoll is back and that is a good thing! When a man collapses at a retirement home’s holiday dinner, efforts to save him from a deadly reaction to peanuts is thwarted by an unexplained absence of medicine.

And why, Kay asks, was he the only one among several with peanut allergies who happened to succumb? Kay’s abilities as a detective have become well known in the small Wisconsin town of Sudbury Falls and residents of the retirement home ask her to investigate.

Even though Christmas is imminent and parties (with wonderful food and drink, wonderfully described) are taking up her time, Kay still finds herself in the thick of a murder mystery. As usual, the police are incompetent, allowing the food (i.e., the possible murder weapon) to be thrown out before it can be tested, and generally acting as though they would rather be eating pastries at Marissa’s shop. (Of course, if you were to read some of the descriptions of Marissa’s handiwork, you might think the police are not so stupid after all).

This is the second Kay Driscoll mystery I have read, and I enjoyed it even more than the first one. Some have remarked that Kay and her friends quickly seem to become your friends—slightly kooky, imperfect, but very loyal friends.

I have to agree.

Meanwhile, Kay is feeling her oats. She is starting to do things in this book that she would not have thought of doing previously and getting herself into a lot of trouble because of it. Good stuff! Congratulations to Susan Bernhardt. I am looking forward to the third in the series.

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