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Murder Under The Tree

(A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 2)

Written by Susan Bernhardt


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!


Other Published Works:

The Ginseng Conspiracy - October 31st - Midsummer - John and Madeleine


Reviews of Murder Under The Tree

Murder Comes to Christmas - "Murder Under the Tree," the second book in the Kay Driscoll series by Susan Bernhardt is out; now fans of the fearless sleuth can rejoice. It is Christmas time in Sudbury Falls, 'Tis Time to be Merry, but as we've come to know when Kay is around, murder will follow her as it did Jessica Fletcher in the delightful television show "Murder She Wrote."

Attending a Christmas tea at a local retirement home, Hawthorne Hills, with one of her best friends, Deirdre, Kay witnesses a death, which is later ruled out as accidental. Residents suspect foul play and ask Kay to look into it. Not one to sit back and let injustice rule the day, Kay throws herself wholeheartedly into the investigation, despite repeated pleas by her husband not to get involved.

Before the book is over, a cascade of murders, three to be exact, take place as well as two attempts on Kay's life. Bernhardt had made an impressive debut with "The Ginseng Conspiracy," the first book featuring Kay Driscoll as an amateur sleuth, but "Murder Under the Tree" is by far the stronger of the two. Here Bernhardt shows her mastery of description, bringing her characters and settings to life with vivid and imaginative prose, and uses a touch of humor to great effect in a scene where Kay, who will go to any length to uncover the truth, disguises herself as the first victim's sibling to find information important to her investigation: a priceless moment in a book full of plot's twists. A sub-plot by way of a stranger arriving in Sudbury Falls is skillfully integrated into the main theme, adding tension to a story that keeps us turning pages until the end.

The reader's love for Kay's plucky and determined personality extend to her two best friends, Deirdre and Elizabeth, who were introduced to us in "The Ginseng Conspiracy." As they were then, both are integral to the plot here, helping Kay solve the puzzle of murders that had changed the sound of Christmas bells in Sudbury Falls to one of fear and gloom. When the book ends we miss the interaction between these friends and wonder what will come to Sudbury Falls next to bring them once again to the pages of another Bernhardt's cozy. This reader, for one, can't wait.

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When I first read The Ginseng Conspiracy, I was new, not to mysteries, but to 'cozy' mysteries. Susan Bernhardt's first book was my initiation into the group of Cozy Mystery Lovers, and I could hardly wait for her second book to come out.

Murder Under the Tree did not disappoint! If anything, it was more intriguing than the first, because i had the killer pegged from the start...then I changed it to another character...then to a third. It is just that kind of book, suspenseful, with clues demanding that you KNOW who the perpertrator is...only to find out you're wrong!

Kay Driscoll and her buddies, Deidre and Elizabeth, are again in control. Almost. Kay's husband Phil doesn't want her snooping into the death of a beloved caretaker that occurred while she was visiting Hawthorne Hills Retirement Home, but when it is ruled accidental, Kay and her cohorts decide not to leave things alone. Twists and turns find corruption, violence, revenge, and even fraud going on in the seemingly benign retirement home, and Kay is in the big middle of everything. She is determined to find the killer...or killers...even at the risk, twice, of her own life.

This is the second of a great series, and once again, I'm looking forward to the third, reading about the exploits of Kay Driscoll ...

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The triumphant return of Kay Driscoll - Amateur sleuth Kay Driscoll is back! Having read the first cozy mystery in this series, I was excited to get my hands on this new release. Susan Bernhardt brought back not only main character Kay, but also her cast of enjoyable supporting characters - Kay's family, friends, and neighbors in Sudbury Falls. Danger and intrigue once again follow Kay around town as she attempts to unravel the truth behind an "accidental" death at a nursing home. Just like the first book, this one has a great blend of action and emotion, with a good share of humorous moments to break up the tension. Set during the Christmas season, this is the perfect gift for mystery readers - or a nice holiday treat for yourself!

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Cozy and Confident - This is a page turner. I had to get done with it in one sitting because it hooked me right away and was intriguing from start to end. The author has retained the intimacy and charm of Sudbury Falls and its characters from her previous book, The Ginseng Conspiracy, and yet has provided a completely new and confident story. I enjoyed it.

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Great read - I just got done reading this cozy mystery!!! Miss Bernhardt doesn't disappoint! Her characters who I loved in the Ginseng Conspiracy were back fresh into the Christmas/New Year season. A great cozy read for this cold and snowy weather we are getting too soon!

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What a fun read! Great to see the sleuths back together again. A superb followup to The Ginseng Conspiracy.

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Murder Under the Tree is a well-crafted, suspenseful cozy, with an interesting cast of characters, and a plot that twists and turns. A real page-turner, perfect for the upcoming holiday season.

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Mystery lovers of all types will enjoy this book. A nice blend of humor and vivid description along with good research really makes "Murder under the Tree" a nice read.

©2012 by Susan Bernhardt. All rights reserved.