Are you looking for something to read during the long winter days? A book to curl up with under a warm blanket or beside the roaring fire? Look no further than Susan Bernhard’s A Manhattan Murder Mystery. If you have read any of her books, you know that she creates characters that are so life like, you will consider them friends. And her mysteries are top notch. So you do yourself a favor, get a copy of this book, sit back and relax (and stay warm) and enjoy.
Irina Curtius, a retired ballet dancer living on the Upper West Side in Manhattan, runs a ballet studio for young children. Recently, she has been watching her younger and otherwise healthy neighbor, Stephen Kramer, become ill over time. When Stephen travels for business, his health always seems to improve dramatically after he has been away, but only temporarily. Within days of returning home, his health begins to deteriorate again. On top of that, Stephen has added stress due to problems he is having with his wife and his irate live-in sister-in-law. Sadly, Stephen’s last bout with his mysterious illness has proven to be fatal. Unsatisfied with the official explanation and in order to deliver justice for her friend and neighbor, Irina sets out to uncover the truth and prove that Stephen was indeed murdered.
It won’t be easy, though. A former lover from Irina’s college days at NYU has suddenly reinserted himself into her life, wanting to pick up where they left off. Additionally, a mysterious newcomer arrives in Irina’s neighborhood and he now seems to be shadowing Irina, appearing everywhere she goes. The story that unfolds, interwoven in the everyday lives of Irina and her social circle, highlights the unpredictability of life, the best and worst of humanity, and the powerful bonds that drive people together (and apart). (Goodreads)
About The Author:
I’m an author living in northern Wisconsin. Like Kay Driscoll, in my cozy mystery series, I’m a retired public health nurse who volunteers at her local free clinic. An avid reader of mysteries, I’m a member of Sisters in Crime, Inc. and the Wisconsin Writers Association. My published works include: The Ginseng Conspiracy (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 1), Murder Under the Tree (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 2), Murder by Fireworks (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 3), “October 31st”, “Midsummer”, and “John and Madeline.”
My town in northern Wisconsin was an inspiration for the quaint setting of my novels. Ninety-five percent of American ginseng is grown in Wisconsin. I live with my husband, William, and have two sons who are both married and also live in Wisconsin.
When not writing, I love to travel, bicycle, kayak, and create culinary magic in my kitchen. I work in stained-glass, daydream in my organic garden, stay up late reading mysteries, and eat lots of chocolate.
Susan’s blog is at www.susanbernhardt.com (Goodreads)
A Manhattan Murder Mystery
An Irina Curtius Mystery
The characters are well rounded, well developed and three dimensional. The author knows how to create characters that the reader can care about, cheer for, worry about and want to get know better. I wanted to spend more time with Irina, maybe have her over for tea and scones. I also enjoyed the other characters in the book and liked the interactions between them all.
There is more than one mystery in this book. One is what happened to Stephen, was it a natural death or was it suicide, as the authorities believe? The other is the mystery of a stranger that has appeared in Irina’s life. She sees him everywhere and does not who he is or what he wants with her. And the third mystery is why an old boyfriend has reappeared in her life. Does he just want to rekindle their romance or does he have another motive?
While reading this book, I felt like I was watching a classic murder mystery movie. It reminded of the classic Alfred Hitchcock movies that I always love watching. All of the plotlines are expertly woven together and so detailed that it is hard to catch your breath when reading this book (this is a great thing).
The author is very talented in her descriptive writing and through much of the book I felt like I was right there, watching all the action taking place around me. I have never been to New york, but I felt like I was there, seeing the neighborhoods and apartment buildings and all the sights and sounds that the city has to offer. I felt like I was on a mini-vacation while reading this book.
If you’ve read any other books by this author, you know that she loves to describe food in great detail. Do not read this book without a few snacks nearby because you will be hungry from reading about so many delicious foods and beverages. This just adds another layer to the greatness of this book, in my opinion.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well crafted, well plotted, character and action driven cozy mystery. I would also recommend reading the Kay Driscoll Mystery series, written by this author. In my opinion, she is an author not to be missed.
Other Books Written By Susan Bernhardt:
On her way to attend a Halloween Ball, Kay Driscoll, a newcomer to town, witnesses the murder of a local professor. When the official coroner’s report rules the cause of death to be accidental and the community accepts the judgement, Kay decides to uncover the truth for herself. Through her personal investigations, Kay exposes a complex conspiracy, woven deep within the thriving local ginseng industry, that involves some of the more prominent figures and families of Sudbury Falls. With her new friends, the free-spirited herbalist Deirdre and the untamed modern woman Elizabeth, Kay discusses new clues over tea and pastries at Sweet Marissa’s Patisserie, their crime-fighting headquarters. As Kay gets closer to the heart of the conspiracy, additional murders happen in quick succession. Before long, Kay learns that the villains are gunning for her, too. Phil, her musically talented but preoccupied husband, determined to keep her safe, withholds from her the one thing she needs most: the truth. (Goodreads)
While Kay attends a Christmas tea at Hawthorne Hills Retirement Home, a beloved caretaker dies from an allergic reaction to peanuts. When the official coroner’s report rules the cause of death to be accidental, a small group of residents suspect foul play and call upon Kay to investigate. Kay uncovers sinister plots of fraud, revenge, and corruption at the Home. During this season of peace on earth, good will to men, additional murders occur. Despite multiple attempts on her life, and with the support once again of her best friends, Elizabeth and Deirdre, Kay continues her quest for bringing justice for the victims. Kay’s first Christmas in Sudbury Falls is an unforgettable one, with equal amounts of celebration and danger. Tis the season to be sleuthing! (Goodreads)
Wedding bells are in the air, and so is murder.
Kay Driscoll’s son’s wedding reception for two hundred guests is in her backyard. As if that wasn’t enough, a precocious and troubled twelve-year-old is foisted on her two days before the wedding. When the happy day arrives, one of the guests disrupts the event and is asked to leave: a womanizing member of Kay’s book club.
A few days later, after a Fourth of July fireworks show, he is found dead on the beach. Kay and her ever-present friends, Elizabeth and Deirdre, investigate the death, which at first is declared a suicide. They believe this is a cover-up and go about to prove their theory, an arduous task because the potential suspects are many, and few (if any) will regret the victim’s death. (Goodreads)