Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Book Review: Murder at the Fortune Teller's Table by Janet Finsilver (Kelly Jackson #3)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Charming characters, good plot
Cons: Not sure timeline works
The Bottom Line:
A request for help
Turns into a murder case
Enjoyable book

Mystery From the Past; Murder in the Present

I complain frequently about having more books to read than I possibly have time for.  Keep in mind this isn’t a new problem but something I’ve struggled with since I was a kid.  But it does mean that it’s been a year and a half since I last checked in with Kelly Jackson and Redwood Cove, California.  With as much as I enjoyed Murder at the Fortunate Teller’s Table, I wish I could have returned sooner.

When Summer approaches Kelly and the Senior Sentinels asking them for a favor, they are only too willing to agree.  Her request seems rather daunting, find two people she hasn’t seen in fifty years.  Yet the group of crime solving enthusiasts are able to do so rather quickly.  However, before Summer can follow up with the people who wanted found with her real request, she turns up dead.  The police view it as a tragic accident, but Kelly thinks something else is going on.   Can she figure out what is really happening?

Series authors have to walk a fine line, introducing and reintroducing characters without slowing down the story.  Here, I’ll admit, I could have used a bit more of a reminder about who the characters are and how they all fit together.  Still, as I read the book, it started to come back to me.

We have quite a mix of characters here.  The Senior Sentinels are a fun group of retired members of the community who work together to solve problems.  They often meet at the bed and breakfast that Kelly manages, which is how she gets involved in their work.  I appreciate how the members of the group are able to get information Kelly needs to solve the crime, but she is still the main focus.  We are never given a large data dump when these characters meet, but those scenes do provide us with pieces we need to solve the puzzle.  The rest of the regulars are just as charming.

The mystery here is very strong.  I didn’t see where it was going until we reached the end, yet we got some great clues along the way.  Not to mention some very creative scenes that put Kelly in jeopardy.  The suspects really stand out, which helped pull me into the mystery.

As I was sitting down to write this review, I realized that the characters seem younger than they would have to be for the timeline of the story to work.  It didn’t bother me as I was reading, so obviously, this is a minor issue.

Given the title, I wasn’t surprised to find that questions about fortune telling came into play.  It is a very, very minor part of the book.  Since I don’t believe in fortune telling, this did bother me, but, again, it was minor and easy to ignore.

While Redwood Cove is a fictional town, the location isn’t that far from where I grew up in Northern California.  I always enjoy visiting the area fictionally.  And it really makes me want to go visit the redwoods again.

Since Kelly runs a bed and breakfast, there is ton of talk about food.  Sadly, we don’t get any of the recipes at the end, but my mouth was definitely watering as I read.

Murder at the Fortune Teller’s Table reminded me why I have the Kelly Jackson books on my to be read pile to begin with.  Since I already own the next in the series, I need to make time to revisit Kelly again soon.

Enjoy the rest of the Kelly Jackson Mysteries.


  1. It's a shame I wont get to read any of her books. I put the ISBN in for the paperback and found that the two different counties I have cards for only carry E VERSIONS.

    1. That's too bad. Maybe they will consider getting the paperbacks if you ask?

      I'm assuming you have no interest in reading on the free apps. That's what I do. I don't have a Kindle, but I still read a mix of ebooks and physical books.

  2. I just followed from Facebook and wanted to see your blog. In the review you mention your familiarity with northern California. Do you know Santa Cruz where I set my mysteries?

    1. I know where Santa Cruz is, but I haven't spent much time there. I grew up in the north Bay Area and didn't spend much time in the Santa Cruz area. Now, I'm in Southern CA.

  3. I have the first book in the series gathering virtual dust on my Kindle and have really been wanting to read it. It sounds like a series best read close together so I might just have to go get this book and book 2 before I start though! I love finding reasons to justify more book buying!

    1. I'm helping you buy new books? My job here is done.

  4. I enjoyed this book and series.

    1. It really is an enjoyable series. I am looking forward to visiting it again.


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