Thursday, November 14, 2019

Book Review: Murder at the Mansion by Janet Finsilver (Kelly Jackson #2)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Strong mystery, great location
Cons: Characters could be a tad stronger, some editing mistakes
The Bottom Line:
Kelly’s back in town
Just in time for a murder
Fun second entry

Redwood Cove Faces a Second Killer

I know I talk about how big my to be read pile is quite a bit.  Here’s a perfect example.  I read the first book in the Kelly Jackson series a couple of years ago now, and I’m just getting a chance to read Murder at the Mansion, the second in the series.  That’s not because I didn’t enjoy the first.  I just have so many books screaming for my attention.  I made a point of reading it this month, however, and I’m glad I did.

Kelly Jackson has returned to Redwood Cove on the Northern California coast after a brief trip home to pack up her things.  She’s thrilled to be back to become the manager of one of several bed and breakfasts that her boss owns in the area.  While her location is under renovations, she is helping out at Redwood Heights, a more upscale location.  Her boss is in the process of selling it, and Kelly is supposed to do an inventory of all the items on sight, some of which have some historical value.

Redwood Heights has also had some trouble with thefts; several valuable pieces of jewelry have gone missing from guest rooms.  Then, on Kelly’s first full day back, one of the guests is found dead in her locked room.  Along with the Silver Sentinels, a group of senior citizens who have formed a community watch group, Kelly begins to try to figure out what happened.  Can they solve the crimes?

It really was great to be back in this setting.  I grew up in Northern California, so trips to the redwoods were common, and I miss them here in Southern California.  While Redwood Cove itself is fictional, the location sounds divine with the redwoods so close to the ocean.  I’m definitely ready to visit.

And I can now that Kelly has caught the latest killer.  The plot starts out strongly and the pace is steady until you reach the end.  There are plenty of events, twists, and clues to keep you engaged and turning the pages all the way until the end. Plus, some of the developments are fun.

I also enjoyed spending time with these characters again.  Even though it has been a while since I read the first, I was able to reconnect with them pretty quickly.  I do feel they still need a bit of development to be fully realized characters, but that’s something that will come as the series continues, I’m sure.  I didn’t have a hard time keeping the characters straight, which is impressive given a cast of regulars that is on the larger side, not to mention the suspects.

Likewise, I felt like the book needed one more polish.  Occasionally, something wasn’t quite clear from earlier in the book or a character said or did something that made me stop and reread.  This wasn’t a major flaw, but it was noticeable and a bit distracting.  While annoying, this is mostly worth noting in passing.

While this book doesn’t have any recipes, there is plenty of talk about food.  From the wine and cheese guys, to the baking and raw foods that are prepared, this book left my mouth watering.

I’m glad I finally got to revisit Kelly and solve the Murder at the Mansion.  Hopefully, I will be able to sneak a trip to Redwood Cove into my reading plans soon again.


  1. I have the first two books on my Kindle. I guess I need to get busy. Thanks for the great review

  2. I have this on my TBR and am looking forward to reading it. I adore the title and this does look like a fun series even with the flaws.