Kept Secrets by Shawn McGuire

20th November 2021.

The idyllic community of Whispering Pines is rocked by a second suspicious death, only a few weeks after a murder. Once again, Jayne O’Shea draws on her past experience as a detective to investigate. Only she’s a citizen now, with a deadline to clear and renovate the old family house for sale.

Torn between her belief that Berlin, a performer in the town circus, was murdered and her need to work on the house, she can’t help treading on a few toes. When a new sheriff is hastily appointed to fill the void left by his predecessor, the situation gets worse. Young, inexperienced and determined to make a mark, the new sheriff dismisses the death as an accident.

A second death within the circus community brings things to a head and Jayne can no longer stand aside.

Like the first novel in the series, this is a cosy murder mystery, lifted by the characters, setting and idyllic way of life that’s in sharp contrast to the murders. Jayne is a worthy lead, torn by conflicting emotions as she’s pulled in several directions. Though she quit as a detective, it’s not so easy to stop being one when people are being murdered on your doorstep.

With a cast of fascinating characters, internal politics, personal conflicts and couple of murders to solve, Kept Secrets has it all. You can’t help rooting for Jayne as she tries to please everyone and find her true goal, while solving the murders and digging up more secrets as she renovates the house.

Then there’s her faithful sidekick, Meeka the West Highland white terrier, stealing every scene she’s in.

If you enjoy an absorbing cosy mystery with a great cast and plenty of backstory, check out this series. While there are plenty of references to the first story, Family Secrets, in this novel, it’s always best to start at the beginning to get the full benefit of watching the characters and backstory grow.

You can check out my review of Family Secrets here.

Description

If you knew you could catch a killer, would you? Tucked next to a pristine lake, the part-Medieval Europe, part-Renaissance Faire hamlet of Whispering Pines is a utopia . . . except for the recent murders.

One month after arriving in the Northwoods, former detective Jayne O’Shea has settled comfortably into small-town life and is making good progress with her task of getting her grandparents’ house ready for sale. Then the shocking death of one of the carnies rocks the community, and the villagers look to Jayne for help, placing her in an impossible middle ground of not wanting to get involved and needing to ensure justice is served.

When a second carney turns up dead, and the newly hired sheriff–more concerned with ticketing tourists than catching the killer–dismisses the death as an accident, Jayne has no choice but to step in.

Can she uncover the truth before the murderer strikes again?

Kept Secrets by Shawn McGuire