Thursday, February 4, 2016

ARC Review: The Fine Art of Murder by Emily Barnes

The Fine Art of Murder
Author: Emily Barnes
Series: A Katherine Sullivan Mystery (Book 1)
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (February 9, 2016) 

Description: Former Police Chief Katherine Sullivan has been called brilliant, brave, compassionate, and quirky, but after decades of crime fighting, this resilient grandmother with an artist’s soul is discovering that retirement can be just as deadly as being on the job.

When Katherine returned to her hometown, her only thought was to comfort her recently divorced daughter. That was before a young woman was found murdered on the estate of the town’s richest family. Now, in order to track down the killer, Katherine must uncover the generations of secrets that at least one person as already killed to protect in this charming and smart series debut, The Fine Art of Murder.

My Thoughts: Katherine Sullivan is a retired Chief of Police turned artist and a grandmother too. She has traveled from her home in New Mexico to spend some time with her daughter in Edina, MN. Her daughter is recently divorced and is feeling the pressure of her job as a child advocate, caring for her two tween children, and getting over her anger at her ex-husband.

I enjoyed the setting of this one. As a native Minnesotan, I was familiar with both Edina and Minneapolis. I liked the relationship that Katherine has with her daughter and with her grandchildren. I especially enjoyed her interactions with her grandson who shares her love for art. I also liked the way Katherine dealt with his Asperger's. Katherine was consistently wise and unflappable.

I enjoyed the mystery too. A young woman was found murdered inside the estate of one of the richest families in the area. She was helping get the mansion ready to be turned over to the State as a heritage property. There had long been rumors that a notorious family member - the grandfather of the current owner - had hidden stolen art somewhere in the mansion. Perhaps she was filled by someone looking for the art.

There were a variety of suspects. Was it the art expert called in to value the art? Was it the grandson who was watching his family home being turned over to the state? Was it his crazy aunt who felt that the mansion and all its contents should belong to her? Was it the aunt's boy toy, a former football player turned addict, who made a habit of latching on to rich older women?

Katherine calls on an old friend, who also retired from the police force and then formed a security business, and his crew of odd employees to help her solve the case. One thing I noticed was that, for a former police chief, she took a pretty cavalier approach to the law when she was doing her investigating and she didn't seem to have much of a sense of self-preservation.

Fans of cozy-ish mysteries will enjoy this first book in a new series.

Favorite Quote:
Randolph Pierce had told Lizzie he'd "found himself" while living in New York. I never understood that term. It's exhausting how much energy people spend losing and finding themselves.
I got this eARC from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.


  1. This looks like a book I would enjoy! The setting for the murder sounds fascinating and I like the basic premise. Katherine sounds like an interesting detective and I like the sound of her relationship with her family. Added to my TBR!

  2. Also one I would like very much.


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