Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Ginseng Conspiracy (Kay Driscoll Mystery #1) by Susan Bernhardt

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Synopsis: 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.

Review: A fabulous first novel and beginning to a mystery series.  Kay and her friends Deirdre and Elizabeth are fascinating characters. The three of them have very different personalities, and they balance each other out well.  All of the other characters in the story were also well-written and fleshed out, so that all of their actions seemed to make sense and fit their personalities. 

The mystery starts almost immediately, and it twists and turns all the way through the book. There is constant action, and suspects abound. When the identity of the murderer is revealed, it is a complete surprise.

The story is set in the fall, around Halloween, so now would be a good time to pick it up and give it a try. However, it is certainly worth reading at any time of year.

Rating: Five stars

About the author
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I'm an author living in northern Wisconsin. Like Kay Driscoll, in my cozy mystery, The Ginseng Conspiracy, 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 other published works include "October 31st", "Midsummer", and "John and Madeline."

My town in northern Wisconsin was an inspiration for the quaint setting of my novel. 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


Unknown said...

Just what I like to hear about most mysteries -- that the mystery starts immediately, twists, turns, constant action, and suspects abound. :) Sounds awesome!
@dino0726 from 
FictionZeal - Impartial, Straightforward Fiction Book Reviews

Susan Bernhardt said...

Thanks, Diane for visiting and your great comments.

Susan Bernhardt