Saturday, January 21, 2023

Book Review: DEATH IN A PALE HUE - An Art Center Mystery by Susan Van Kirk

About the Book (from Amazon)

Who knew going home could be deadly? 

I will show them success. Artist Jill Madison repeats this mantra when she returns to her small hometown to restart her life. Hired to manage a new community art center, she vows to make it successful so the people of her town will have what she did not have—an education in the arts. 

She no sooner accepts the job than a burglar makes off with an expensive sculpture and an uninvited corpse is discovered in the basement. Even worse, the body belongs to someone Jill knew…well. Investigating what happened places Jill right in the path of a murderer. 

How will she keep her job, run her first big event, and escape a killer who plans to paint her out of the picture permanently? 


Jill Madison is an artist, returning to her home town to develop an Art Center, named for her deceased artist mother. Only a burglary and the body of an old friend prove a rocky start. Not the most organized, Jill misplaces things and often is on the wrong side of board members. Still, she is persistent in her efforts to find out who killed her friend, especially when there’s a second murder.

This is the first in a new cozy mystery series, though not the first for Susan Van Kirk. Death in a Pale Hue was engaging and I enjoyed getting to know the characters, especially Jill. There are twists and turns, enough action to keep the story moving at a good pace, and an unexpected killer. I’m looking forward to the next in the series. If you like cozy mysteries and small town secrets and happenings, this is one you’ll enjoy. 

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in the hopes that I would post an honest review. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.

About the Author (from Amazon)

Susan Van Kirk taught thirty-four years at Monmouth High School (1968-2002) and another ten years at Monmouth College (2001-2011). Her first book was a creative nonfiction memoir with fifteen stories about her teaching life called "The Education of a Teacher (Including Dirty Books and Pointed Looks)." The longest story is about a book challenge in her high school class to a Kurt Vonnegut book.  

Her mysteries began with her Endurance series, a cozy series about the small, Midwest town of Endurance and Grace Kimball, retired school teacher. This series includes "Three May Keep a Secret," "Marry in Haste," The Locket: From the Casebook of TJ Sweeney," "Death Takes No Bribes," and "The Witch's Child." The entire series has been republished by Harlequin Worldwide Mystery. "A Death at Tippitt Pond" is a standalone mystery. 

Van Kirk's Art Center Mysteries begin with "Death in a Pale Hue," [2022] from Level Best Books, and will continue with "Death in a Bygone Hue," [2023] and "Death in a Ghostly Hue," [2024]. Van Kirk is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and is the president of the Guppy Chapter, an online chapter of Sisters in Crime. 

She is represented by Dawn Dowdle of the Blue Ridge Literary Agency. You can visit her website at and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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