Discussion With Author Susan Bernhardt on her books PARADISE CAN BE MURDER and A MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY

Discussion With Author Susan Bernhardt on her books PARADISE CAN BE MURDER and A MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY

I’ve hosted literally hundreds of author chats when I worked at some online sites in the past. Many readers and want-to-be writers attended these chats to ask published authors about their books, how they get inspired to write, how they promote their books, and quite a few other questions.

Jerri Cachero, host of the Facebook group, Cozy Mystery Corner, invited author Susan Bernhardt to be the first author in Jerri’s new cozy author chat series. The group had a great time discussing Susan’s latest two mysteries, PARADISE CAN BE MURDER and A MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY. The discussion lasted 1.5 hours and I’m thrilled to be able to share excerpts of the event.

I hope by reading Susan’s group discussion readers and writers can learn a little about Susan and how and why she’s a writer. Don’t forget to visit Susan on her Facebook page. She loves hearing from all her fans.

To see my reviews of all of Susan’s books please visit Susan’s page on my blog.

Q – It’s always interesting to learn what our favorite authors do when they’re not writing! Tell us a little bit about yourself.

SB – I have many interests. I work in stained glass and especially enjoy the design aspect of my projects. I’m into photography and gardening. I have a beautiful four year grandson that I love being around. I love to travel. My husband and I came back from Eastern Europe a few months ago. I love going to art museums, to the theatre, doing the treadmill in the winter while watching Drop Dead Diva…lol.

Q – How did you create the characters of Kay Driscoll and Irina Curtius? They are both very different and complex in their own way. Are they based on actual people?

SB – Kay Driscoll is actually based on me and her family is based on mine. You always hear, write what you know. Many of the people in the stories are loosely based on people I know. I write using real life experiences. In Murder by Fireworks when Kay almost loses her life in a kayaking accident, I almost drowned in a kayak accident the year I was writing the book. I told my friend, the woman who saved my life, I didn’t know how to thank her. She said write me into a book and I did.

Saying the above, Irina isn’t anyone that I personally know. But she has the same ethnic background as I do. She is a retired ballet dancer who teaches young children in her studio. I am a fan of ballet. I also love NYC. I wrote the book on my interests, what I love, and made the story into an exciting and thrilling mystery. It takes place in Manhattan, but Irina’s world is in a cozy community on the Upper West Side.

Q – Let’s start with Kay Driscoll first. What a force of nature! Certainly not shy and retiring! How did you come up with the idea of sending Kay, Phil and company on a cruise in Paradise Can Be Murder? Probably a good idea since Phil is behind in “romantic gestures” points!

SB – You’re right!! Phil is definitely behind in his romantic gestures. 🙂 I thought it would be fun, for Kay, Phil, and friends to get away from Sudbury Falls and go on a vacation together. I researched this book on a number of cruises. I spoke with the ship’s officers, medical personal, and other crew. Also I experimented with some of the shenanigans that Kay did on-board to make sure they were real.

Q – In Paradise Can Be Murder, there is a sad occurrence in Sudbury Falls. Was it a real life event that inspired you to write about it in the book?

SB – Besides a murder mystery on a cruise ship, Paradise Can Be Murder deals with racism and intolerance. There is racism in America and I thought it important to address this. What I included in the book was not from a real life event that I’ve experienced or read about, but I’m sure similar occurrences happens often. The topics, I believe in this book are important and dealt with well, especially the part by a twelve year old Janey. She has become a beloved character in the later Kay Driscoll mysteries.

Q – Okay, let’s talk about Irina Curtius in A Manhattan Murder Mystery which is set, in the Spring, in New York City. Irina is a very different character than Kay however, they share the same kindness and curiosity about life and sleuthing. How did you create the character?

SB – I wrote about a character that I would find interesting who lives in Manhattan. Irina is kind, good hearted, smart, ambitious, a great sleuth, and a friend to many. She’s someone who loves life and makes the most of it. When writing a book, I “live” my character, much like an actor playing a part, who “becomes” their character. I enjoyed being Irina…lol..the year that it took to complete the book.

Q – Why did you decide to set the book in New York City? Is it a favorite city?

SB – I do like NYC. It’s an exciting and vibrant city with much beauty. I once wrote an article about where my favorite places to write would be. I mentioned looking out of my second floor palazzo window onto the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy with a glass of Prosecco beside my desk pounding away on my keyboard. Among the places I wrote about was NYC, working in an upstairs Upper West Side Brownstone where I could practically touch the tree outside of my window. And in between paragraphs, I’d watch the activity on the street below with the only things on my mind being my novel and trying to decide which neighborhood eatery I would try that evening: Indian, Thai or Italian. I did a lot of research when writing A Manhattan Murder Mystery.

Q – I loved the fact that there is a “mystery inside of a mystery” in your Manhattan Murder Mystery. It shows the complexity of Irina and also her strength. Can we hope we’ll be reading more about Irina in the future?

SB – Thank you. I live complexity in my characters and in my stories. For me, the more complex the better. I’m currently writing the fifth Kay Driscoll mystery. When that is completed, I will begin Manhattan 2. 🙂

Q – Back to a few personal questions – What types of books do you enjoy reading? Have you ever considered writing in other genres?

SB – I was recently asked if I would consider writing in another genre. My response was “No”. However, I did write a science fiction/fantasy middle grade short story for an ezine that I always intended to make into a full sized novel. I never attempted the project because I couldn’t come up with a feasible way to promote it.

I do enjoy some science fiction and fantasy, but what I usually read are mysteries, both cozy and regular mysteries. Some of my favorite authors are: Sue Grafton, Dorothy Gilman, Donna Leon, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Arturo Perez-Reverte, M.C. Beaton (her earlier mysteries) and many others.

Q – What’s your favorite thing about being an author? Least favorite?

SB – It’s great fun for me to write mysteries. I have said this before and readers say they can see that I have a lot of fun writing. I try to give my readers a thrill, some excitement, but my stories also have a lot of humor in them. Often times I’m laughing as I write different scenarios my unique characters are in.

It’s hard to promote books, especially if you are a relatively unknown author. Most people who read my books enjoy them. I’m always posting reviews, what readers are saying about my books to try and attract additional readers.
Q – Anything else we haven’t covered that you’d like to share with Corner members?

SB – Every book that I write takes over a year to complete. I do a lot of research for each book. None of my books are cookie cutter books. I don’t follow a template or a formula. Each is unique, and I think exciting and fun.

 

paradise can be murdermanhattan-murder

Advertisements

Paradise Can Be Murder: A Kay Driscoll Mystery (A Kay Driscoll Mystery #4) by Susan Bernhardt

Paradise Can Be Murder: A Kay Driscoll Mystery (A Kay Driscoll Mystery #4) by Susan Bernhardt

Kay Driscoll  has been told by her friends and family that she has lots of surprises coming her way in the near future she just doesn’t know what they will be. Surprises are fun, right? But right now she is concentrating on a cruise she will be taking with her husband, Phil. They are off for a romantic vacation cruising the Caribbean. The fact that Kay’s best friends, Elizabeth and Deirdre and Deirdre’s husband Mike will be cruising with them won’t stop the romance that Kay hopes for.

A huge bon voyage party was planned but all the joy of it was gone when their friends, Neelam and Dinesh’s, Gupta’s New Delhi store, was vandalized. Vandals spray-painted the words “We don’t want your kind here. We don’t need your kurry. This is America.” Both Kay and Phil were horrified at how their little town of Sudbury Falls had people like that living there.

Even though Kay felt terrible about leaving their friends in a crisis she and hubby Phil went off on their cruise with Elizabeth, Deirdre, and Mike. The ship was beautiful featuring lots of delicious foods and plenty of fun things to do during their ten days aboard. But what Kay seemed to like best was looking at the other travelers. One couple really got her interest. They ate at their own table and were always arguing. The husband, George, constantly criticized his wife, Sybil, which humiliated her and brought her to tears.

Kay, Elizabeth, and Deirdre spoke to Sybil one day and she said that George used to be part of the CIA but was transferred to another state and now she wasn’t really sure what he did. The friends felt bad for Sybil and tried to talk with her whenever they could.

But when one of the couple was found dead by the pool and it looked like the murder was done by the spouse ,Kay knew that something fishy was going on with the ship.

Kay is an old hand at helping to solve murders so she and her friends, against husband Phil’s advice, decided to find out if the spouse was the real murderer and if not then who did it and why the murder happened.

“Paradise Can Be Murder” is the fourth in the Kay Driscoll Mystery Series by Susan Bernhardt. I’ve read all of Ms. Bernhardt’s books and each one is better than the previous and that is especially true in this case.

With each new novel the author seems to become more confident in her writing abilities adding a lot of page-turning tension in her writing style. There’s one terrific scene where Kay gets herself in some deep trouble and had to get out of it before things took a deadly turn. Of course all mysteries have the protagonist getting into life-threatening situations but Ms. Bernhardt did a spectacular job of making sure readers held their breaths waiting to see how would Kay untangled herself.

And there are lots of surprises in store for Kay, some are great, some not so great, but all are fun.

Every book in the Kay Driscoll series are fun, filled with lots of food talk, and lots of love. The novels can be read by anyone and each can be read by itself even though I do suggest starting with the first in the series.

Take a ten-day cruise with Kay and her friends and see what ship-board life is like on the open seas.

Read all my reviews of Susan Bernhard’s books by going to Susan’s page on my blog.

paradise can be murder

 

Murder by Fireworks (A Kay Driscoll Mystery #3) by Susan Bernhardt

Murder by Fireworks (A Kay Driscoll Mystery #3) by Susan Bernhardt

It’s summertime in Sudbury Falls but the living is far from easy for Kay Driscoll. Her son, Andy, is getting married in under a week and the reception is being held at Kay’s home. Her husband, Phil, isn’t doing all that much to help with all the chores that need to be done. If anything, he’s adding on to Kay’s work load.

Phil’s cousin, Loren, is in the hospital and someone has to take care of his 12 year-old daughter, Janey, until Janey’s mother arrives in town to pick her up. Of course Phil agrees to take the girl into their home but Kay knows she will be the one watching her for the time she’ll be with them.

Janey is not the easiest of kids to like but then again most 12 year-old children are hard to deal with. But Kay is expecting two hundred people for the wedding reception and has to make sure the house is in good order, decorations are in place, and the catering will be perfection. All Phil has to deal with is rehearsals for his band because they will be entertaining.

A few days after the wedding Kay, Phil, Janey, and her friends are at the July 4th fireworks display when they they think they hear gunshots. A book club member, James, is found dead in the sand. The police think he killed himself but Kay believes otherwise.

No one loved James as much as James loved himself. He was having affairs with numerous women who adored him and he also just started a new job that he loved. Life seemed to be going his way. Kay felt that James had absolutely no reason to commit suicide no matter what the police thought.

But James was not well liked. He was rude to people, made crude comments, basically stole his new job from another man, and many of his love interests were married women and their husbands probably didn’t appreciate James showing that kind of attention to their wives. In other words, there’s a huge list of people who would love to see James dead.

Kay didn’t like James either but she did want justice to be served so she started investigating his death along with her friends Deidre and Elizabeth. Investigating came easy to Kay and she helped solve other murders in her town but asking questions made her a target to the murderer and put her life in danger.  

Between weddings, taking care of 12 year-old Janey, being a loving wife and mother, and watching out for her life Kay has her hands full this summer. It was summertime but the living was far from easy.

“Murder by Fireworks” is the third Kay Driscoll novel is this excellent series by Susan Bernhardt. I’ve read them all and each book is better than the previous one. This is my favorite of the three.

Ms. Bernhardt is becoming a wonderful mystery writer. Through reading all her books, not only the Kay Driscoll series, I’ve seen how the author honed in on her craft. It’s obvious that she takes her time thinking about story lines and how the plot leads to the bad guy. The stories are well-thought out and complicated. The murderer is not someone you would suspect by page 50 and her explanations for why the murder was done forms a near perfect murder/mystery.

Do not expect a simple cozy while reading this. “Murder by Fireworks” is up there with most any other good mystery novel. The book isn’t just for women and I’m sure it would appeal to any mystery lover.

The characters are wonderful and that includes the character of the Town of Sudbury Falls. It makes city dwellers, like myself, wish they lived in a small town where everyone knows your name, people you can share the joy of holidays with and are willing to help out with a crises at a moment’s notice.

While Reading any of Susan Bernhardt’s books you’ll find yourself engrossed in a good mystery and you won’t want to stop it reading until the mystery solved.

Do yourself a favor and grab a copy of any book in the Kay Driscoll Series and discover what a good writer this author is.

For more about Susan Bernhardt’s books please see Susan’s section on my blog.

murder fireworks

Murder Under the Tree (A Kay Driscoll Mystery #2) by Susan Bernhardt

Murder Under the Tree (A Kay Driscoll Mystery #2)  by Susan Bernhardt

Kay Driscoll and her husband Phil are about to celebrate their first Christmas at Sudbury Falls. They have parties to attend, a party of their own to host, their sons are coming in for a holiday visit, and one of their sons will be celebrating a birthday just after Christmas. Needless to say Kay has a lot to do. Christmas presents have to be bought, birthday gifts have to be found, decorations have to go up,  and Kay is loving every moment of these hectic days especially since hubby, Phil, will be home with her for the entire week. Kay is in bliss until … yes, there’s always an “until.”

While attending a holiday party at the Hawthorne Hills Retirement Home Kay and the rest of the guests watch as Les Hollings, a caretaker, eats some food, starts to choke, falls to the ground, and dies. Les was allergic to peanuts and somehow peanut butter got into this food thus killing him.

The retirement home swears that they don’t use any peanut butter since some other guests have the same allergy. Sweet Marissa’s Patisserie had catered some of the food and Marissa said she didn’t use any sort of peanut product in the dishes that went to the retirement home. So how did the peanut butter get into Les’ food and no one else with a peanut allergy had problems? Well, that was obvious to Kay. Les was murdered for some reason.

With a little persuasion Kay agrees to investigate the murder not that she’s a detective but she did help solve a previous murder during Halloween. Husband Phil begs her not to get involved and the Sudbury Falls police chief especially doesn’t want her involved but what they don’t know can’t hurt them even though she herself just might be hurt in the process. But Kay starts her own investigation anyway with a little help from her best buds Elizabeth and Deidre.

“Murder Under the Tree” by Susan Bernhardt is the second book in the  Kay Driscoll Mystery Series. “The Ginseng Conspiracy” is not only the first in the series but also Ms. Bernhardt’s first novel. It was terrific but “Murder Under the Tree” far surpasses it. It’s almost like the author got into her natural writing groove. Her skills are sharper and seems to lack the fear that she might have had about pleasing her publishers and readers with her first novel. Here she’s obviously writing from her heart. The party scenes and Kay’s home life descriptions are just about perfect and far from boring. I especially enjoyed the way she spoke about Sudbury Falls and how the community was gearing up for the Christmas Season. It made this Jewish New Yorker wish she lived in a small town and participated in all the Christmas activities and decorations. Big kudos to Susan Bernhardt for coming so far in her skills to write what she obviously felt and throwing her fears to the wind.

Now for the mystery portion. It was good. There were lots of suspects and you never really knew who the killer was until close to the end. Although I did start to suspect before Ms. Bernhardt gave the murderer’s name. The characters are enjoyable and well thought out. There’s a nice twist at the end when one of the character’s made a surprise discovery. That part was kind of nice and heat breaking too.

One thing was left up in the air and I read the last few pages a few times to make sure I didn’t miss it. The characters did talk about this missing aspect so I’m wondering if that will be answered when I read the third book which I have in my Kindle.

Will cozy lovers like the Kay Driscoll series? Sure, although it isn’t really a cozy even though some of the basics for a cozy are here. Mystery lovers will take to it because Ms. Bernhardt’s books are wonderful thrillers too.

And while I’m at it, I want to suggest that Susan add some recipes to her books. She talks a lot about food and I’d like to see a recipe or two. What can I say? I like food.

Do yourself a favor and start the Kay Driscoll mysteries. You’ll then see for yourself how a writer progresses from being good to incredible.

For more about Susan Bernhardt’s books please see Susan’s section on my blog.

 

 

A Manhattan Murder Mystery: An Irina Curtius Mystery by Susan Bernhardt

A Manhattan Murder Mystery: An Irina Curtius Mystery by Susan Bernhardt

Former ballerina, Irina Curtius, lives on the Upper West Side in Manhattan, New York. Everything that the great city has to offer is at Irina’s fingertips; museums, restaurants, galleries, not to mention the beautiful Central Park. There’s no reason for Irina not to be ecstatic about her home and she isn’t. New York City is the perfect place to live.

For the past 20 years Irina has been teaching ballet to little girls in her studio, Little Cygnet’s Ballet Academy, with her college friend, Jerome, playing the piano for the school. Irina loved her professional career but she loves teaching the little ballerinas and watching them progress.

Her condominium is an ivy covered brownstone on West 87th street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenue built during the late 19th century. The rooms have beautiful crown moldings, the windows are large, and yes you can hear the traffic on the streets but so what? The city itself never sleeps and its inhabitants like to be as active as the city.

Irina has some nice neighbors too. Her best friend, high school English teacher, Margarite, lives in an apartment right down the hall with her cat Gypsy; Celeste who lives on the floor above; and Stephen Kramer, his wife Tricia and Tricia’s sister mystery writer, Alice, live on Irina’s floor. But something has changed with the Kramers.

Irina, Stephen, and Tricia always got along well but since Tricia’s sister Alice moved in the dynamics kind of changed. First of all Stephen started to look ill. He still manages to go to work where he’s up for a promotion and to play racquetball with his business associate, Alex Rankin, but Stephen looks very bad and Irina is quite concerned about his health. The strange thing is that whenever Stephen leaves town for business he returns looking fit and healthy but as he stays home he gets sick again. Tricia, his wife, says he has the flu and her sister, Alice, gets very annoyed at Irina whenever she inquires about Stephen’s health.

But life goes on and Irina, with the sneaky ways of friends Margarite and Jerome, is soon reunited with her college boyfriend, Robert. Forty years earlier Irina and Robert were living together and just before they graduated college he broke her heart and ran off to marry one of Irina’s friends. Irina was a little annoyed with her friends for interfering and isn’t sure if she wants to take up with Robert again.

So there’s a lot going on in Irina’s life but things get more hectic when a rash of burglaries breaks out in her neighborhood and then neighbor, Stephen Kramer, is found dead in his apartment by wife, Tricia.

This is all way too much for Irina and she feels guilty that she didn’t press Stephen to see a doctor. But she also feels that his death is very suspicious. Stephen was a young man and healthy, as long as he wasn’t living at home, and excited about his potential promotion at work. So when irina’s Police Lieutenant friend, Charles Whitney, tells her that Stephen’s death is being ruled as a suicide she decides she has has to find out the truth because she suspects that Stephen was murdered.

“A Manhattan Murder Mystery” is yet another great novel by Susan Bernhardt. Susan lives in Wisconsin so I wondered just what she knew about New York City. Since I’m a native New Yorker which means I’m always ready to fight any outsiders who think they know enough to write about the New York I read this book with my boxing gloves on ready for a good brawl with Ms. Bernhardt. It never happened.

Everyone writes about the Statue of Liberty, the World Trade Center, the Empire State building, that’s easy, just Google those popular sites and you have all the information you need just by sitting in bed in your pajamas but Susan’s description of Manhattan was different.

She not only described the Upper West Side to perfection with its neighborhood stores and the pre war apartment buildings but she somehow got the feel of what living in New York is all about. Every neighborhood is its own country and every apartment building is its own city. Apartment buildings actually do have “mayors” who people go to when they need someone to talk to and I’m not talking about a condo board. And walking from one neighborhood to another you kind of need a passport to pass through with people watching any strangers who pass by their buildings.

Most writers who don’t live in New York don’t get that but somehow Ms. Bernhardt did. “A Manhattan Murder Mystery” is like a love letter to this great city and it’s obvious that the author respects New Yorkers and how we live here.

But I’m here to talk a little about the book and not New York, even though New York City is a huge part of this novel.

I thoroughly enjoyed “A Manhattan Murder Mystery.” You think you know what’s going on with the murdered Stephen, most avid mystery readers would catch on fast and Ms. Bernhardt doesn’t try to hide it from her readers but how he was killed is not the reason to continue reading the story. It’s not the how but the “why” and the “who” about his death that forces you to read to the last page.

Then there’s Irina’s personal life. There were times I felt like screaming into  my Kindle telling Irina to stop being such a nice person and get rid of someone in her life and to look to another instead. You will also get really angry at some of the characters and want to slap them around. Sorry about my violence towards a book character but I am a New Yorker and we all have a teeny bit of violence in our genes.

The author talks a lot about food here as she does in all her books and fans of Ms. Bernhardt will get a good insider laugh or two as they read “A Manhattan Murder Mystery.”

I’d love this to be turned into a series and I have a feeling that Susan Bernhardt just might do that. But Irina has to go over the bridge and visit Brooklyn for her next adventure. Come to Brooklyn, have someone poisoned at Nathan’s Famous, then have the suspect chased to Coney Island where they try to lose Irina on the Wonder Wheel, and then on to the Aquarium to swim with the sharks, and finally to The Brooklyn Cyclones Baseball team to get lost in the crowd. All these sites are within walking distance of each other so a good chase scene would be realistic and doable in a few hours. Maybe I should write a book.

You’ll have a great time reading “A Manhattan Murder Mystery” and will not be disappointed in this excellent story.

For more about Susan Bernhardt’s books please see Susan’s section on my blog.

The Ginseng Conspiracy (A Kay Driscoll Mystery #1) by Susan Bernhardt

The Ginseng Conspiracy (A Kay Driscoll Mystery #1) by Susan Bernhardt

 

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.