The other day me and my best friends, Kay, Elizabeth, and Deirdre were on our way to Marissa’s Patisserie to partake in some of her delicious baked goods. Who’s afraid of calories? Not us. We walk everyday but go to Marissa’s only two or three times a week. Hey, a girl’s gotta eat. As we were walking Kay was telling us about what happened to her just before the big Halloween party in our town, Sudbury Falls. Her adventure had Elizabeth, Deirdre, and I speechless which is saying a lot.
Here’s what happened – Kay was on her way to the Halloween party that night when she happened to see someone dressed in a costume but not going in the direction of the party. So naturally Kay was wondering if there was a pre-party festivity going on so she followed that person to find out. Then she saw another person dressed in the same costume going in the same direction, away from the party location and sneaking into the back of an abandoned store.
Kay tiptoed in and saw six people, all in the same costume, standing in a circle around a man lying on the floor. Was that college professor Sherman Walters the group was surrounding? Was he sick? And did Kay recognize some of the voices of the people in the costumes? Al Stewart who worked at the post office? And was that Bill Murphy, Deputy Chief of Police of Sudbury Falls standing there looking at Sherman and not trying to help?
Well, our Kay is no dummy and thought she walked into some kind of strange movie starring Tom Cruise so she ran out of the store post haste. But the group heard her leave and gave chase after her. Good thing it was dark and she was faster than she thought she was and weaved in and out like a football player until she got back home hoping no one saw her. Now what was she going to do? She had to meet her husband, Phil, at the party and Elizabeth, Deirdre, and I would be wondering where she was. Plus it would look strange to the rest of Sudbury Falls if she didn’t show up especially if one of the people who hurt Sherman ended up at the party.
Kay knew she had to go if for anything else to see if she could figure out why Al and the Deputy Chief of Police were in the back of that store with the professor on the floor. Maybe she’d be able to figure out who the other costumed people were.
Well, Elizabeth, Deirdre, and I were fascinated by what Kay was telling us. We were also very afraid because the day after the Halloween party, as the three of us were taking out daily walk, we found the body of Sherman Walters, last seen by Kay lying on the floor surrounded by some suspicious people, lying by the edge of the river. He was dead and Dr. Anders, the county coroner, determined that Sherman died from accidental drowning. Drowning! Accidental! No way! He might have been drowned but the four of us were sure that it was not an accident. The professor was unconscious but alive when Kay saw him with the group the previous night. Something strange was going on in Sudbury Falls. We were all positive that the professor was murdered and no one was getting away with murder in our town. With Kay at the helm of the investigation, we were going to figure it all out even if it killed us. Which just might happen.
Okay, okay, I’ll admit it. I wasn’t really there, I was reading the book, “The Ginseng Conspiracy” by Susan Bernhardt but I kind of wished I was with Kay, Elizabeth, and Deirdre which means that Susan Bernhardt is one good writer. Talk about drawing the readers into a story. The mystery is solid and even though Ms. Bernhardt intentionally lets the readers know who some of the bad guys are we don’t know who all of them are and that’s where the surprise factor comes in.
The storyline is nicely woven with nary a stitch out of place and there are quite a few tense moments where you can’t read fast enough to see what’s going to happen next.
There are some wonderful characters in the book which you easily become attached to. You know their strong points and their quirks which makes you almost want to scream at them for telling the wrong person some information. Elizabeth has such a big mouth sometimes but we all love her nonetheless.
Sudbury Falls is one of the main characters too. Did you know that it’s the ginseng capital of the world? I bet you didn’t but author Susan Bernhardt says it is so I believe it. It’s also a nice small town to live in. The people are friendly if you don’t count the Deputy Chief of Police, or the postal worker, and maybe a few others but most of the inhabitants are nice people. They’re all willing to help a friend out even if it means putting themselves in harm’s way.
There are lots of bad guys in “The Ginseng Conspiracy” and thankfully for Kay and her friends there are lots of good guys too. Take a trip to Sudbury Falls, hang out with the group, eat at Marissa’s Patisserie and save me some of her cranberry streusel tarts. They go so well with a good murder mystery.
For more about Susan Bernhardt’s books please see Susan’s section on my blog.