Review Of Murder Under The Tree

Murder Under The Tree

A Kay Driscoll Mystery, Book # 2

Susan Bernhardt

5 Stars


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)


Kay and her friends, Elizabeth and Deirdre, become involved in another murder investigation. This time someone dies at retirement home, and it is not one of the elderly residents. It is a caretaker that appears to be loved by all. When it is determined that the death was caused by an allergic reaction to peanuts, the ladies know they have to find answers and bring justice to the victim. With so many suspects and so few clues, it will not be an easy task but that fact will not stop them from achieving their goal.

The characters are well developed, well rounded and three dimensional. Kay, Elizabeth and Deirdre all have strengths and weaknesses that make them seem more realistic. Kay is a very determined woman and does not like to take no for an answer. This is both a strength and a weakness, in my opinion, because sometimes she puts herself in harm’s way. Elizabeth is very smart and seems to be the “common sense” one between the three friends. But she is a bit flighty when it comes to the men in her life. Deirdre is the “new age” member of the group and sometimes she is a little “out there” with her ideas. But she keeps the friends grounded and helps to center them again when things get chaotic. I love the way they are all different but their personalities meld together into a unique lasting friendship that compliments each other. They feel like real people that I would want to be friends with and experience life with. Everyone should have these types of friends in their lives.

The mystery is well plotted and carried on throughout the entire book. There are many suspects to consider and motives to uncover before the case can be solved. The more Kay looks into the life of the deceased, the more she learns about his not so stellar past. Is the murder related to a past indiscretion or something that has happened in the here and now? There is also another mystery in the book, that being Elizabeth’s “stalker”. I felt this added another layer to the book. There were a few “wow” moments while I was reading where my jaw dropped opened and I enjoyed that a lot.

I really enjoy when an author gives the reader an insight into their lives, whether it be with locations that they love, traditions that they they follow or hobbies that they enjoy. I think this makes the book more realistic and I become even more vested in the story. I think that this author did this with the Christmas traditions that Kay did with her family, and she did it well . It felt to me like the author was sharing some of her own family traditions with me and I loved this.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well crafted cozy mystery. This is the second book in the Kay Driscoll series and the second book that I have read and both have been equally good. I will definitely be reading the third book, Murder By Fireworks, which has already been published. If you have not read any books by this author, do yourself a favor and grab all three. You will not be disappointed.