Sixteen years after a family feud drove her from the cozy Northwoods village of Whispering Pines, Wisconsin, former detective Jayne O'Shea returns to prepare her grandparents' lake house for sale. Once there, not only does she find that the house has been trashed, her dog discovers a dead body in the backyard.
Jayne intends to stay out of it, but when it becomes obvious the sheriff isn't interested in investigating the death, Jayne can't stop herself. Her list of suspects grows faster than the plants in the commons' pentacle garden. Could it be the local Wiccan green witch with her stash of deadly plants? The shopkeeper who slips into trances and foretells death? The visitor determined to practice black magic?
What Jayne knows for sure is that the closer she gets to solving this crime, the more the sheriff wants her to back off. And when a local fortune teller provides a crucial clue, Jayne knows it's up to her to solve this murder.
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Don't get involved in small town politics.
Whispering Pines is a small town, established in 1966, on Jane's grandmother's land. Ex police sergeant Jane hasn't been back since she was 10, some sixteen years before. But now she is returning to sort out the old house, ready for sale, following her grandmother's death three months previously. But what Jane didn't expect was to find the house vandalised and a body in the grounds.
This cozy mystery is full of atmosphere and character. Some lovely touches, too, like the sound of the wind in the trees which gives name to the small town. The story line is convoluted and leads the listener into various suppositions which are probably incorrect, with the final reveal being dramatic. Yet the way is left open for this interesting 'witchy' series to continue. (No, it's not one of those paranormal events type books, honestly!).
The narration is good, clear and well paced. Sandra Murphy has a pleasant, well modulated voice and, whilst her renditions of the individual protagonists vocalisations are not greatly differentiated, this in no way detracts from her overall performance.
A fast action, fun read with passions riding high in small touristy town Whispering Pines which boasts a bakery with the name 'Treat me Sweetly'. Now who can resist a visit there? But watch out: strange things can happen at night when there are no streetlights around. My only complaint was the sudden ending which, hopefully means that there is more to come from this attractive little town. I received a complementary copy of Family Secrets from the rights holder, at my request, via Audiobook Boom. Thank you so much..
- Norma Miles