Family Secrets by Shawn McGuire

Family Secrets by Shawn McGuire

25th July2021.

I enjoy discovering new authors and series, especially at the cosy mystery end of spectrum. Family Secrets, the first of a series set in the town of Whispering Pines in Wisconsin, features ex-cop Jayne O’Shea and her Westie, Meeka. They arrive at the home of her late grandparents to find the body of a young woman on the lawn.

With the help of Tripp, another visitor to the community, Jayne slowly becomes involved in an investigation where nothing is as it first seems. The sheriff appears uninterested in the murder. His nephew and deputy, Reed, is openly hostile to Jayne’s involvement. And a whole host of local characters, from a green witch to some local councillors, become suspects.

It’s all lovingly written and described. Jayne’s a strong character with her own baggage to deal with, picking away at the loose threads to piece together the relationships and motives that will help her solve the case. It’s fairly standard fare, but lifted by the setting, the Wiccan religion that guides many of the people, and the distinctive characters who add warmth, humour and charm to the story.

It’s a gentle, easy to read novel that charms and leaves you looking forward to the next in the series.


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.

Family Secrets by Shawn McGuire

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