Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books
Published: August 24, 2021
Available Formats: Digital, Audio, and Hardback
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
My Review: In The Secret Staircase we join Kate as she works with the town renovation board of directors as they begin work on the Barton mansion. Before they can even get started a body shows up then someone is murdered on the property. Kate has more suspects than trusted workers.
If I’m being honest, this was a series that I wasn’t going to continue after the second book. The concept of renovating a town to be similar to a place like Colonial Williamsburg was interesting but the books moved very slowly for me. I requested the third book from NetGalley after I learned of the passing of Sheila Connolly in 2020. I wanted to see if the book ended on a “finished “ note or left the reader hanging. I was satisfied with the ending. Even if another author picks up the series I don’t think I’ll continue.
I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.
From NetGalley: From New York Times bestselling author Sheila Connolly, The Secret Staircase is the third Victorian Village Mystery, which finds Kate Hamilton discovering a long-dead body in a hidden staircase.
Kate Hamilton is feeling good about her plans to recreate Asheboro, Maryland as the Victorian village it once was. The town is finally on her side, and the finances are coming together.
Kate’s first goal is to renovate the Barton Mansion on the outskirts of town. Luckily, it’s been well maintained in the century since the wealthy Henry Barton lived and died there. The only substantial change she’s planning is to update the original kitchen so that it can be used to cater events in the building. But when the contractor gets started, he discovers a hidden staircase that had been walled in years earlier. And as Kate’s luck would have it, in the stairwell is a body.
After her initial shock wears off, Kate is relieved when the autopsy reveals that the man had died around 1880. Unfortunately, it also reveals that his was not a natural death—he was murdered. And serious questions remain: who was he and what was he doing there?
Kate begins a hunt to identify the man and figure out what he was doing at the Barton Mansion. But when a second body is found—this time from the present day—Kate realizes that real dangers lie in digging up the past…