Customer Reviews: The Secret Staircase (Wendover House Cozy Mysteries Book 1)
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on January 18, 2012
I thoroughly enjoyed The Secret Staircase by Melanie Jackson. Ms. Jackson has a beautiful writing style that makes you not only enjoy the story, but also appreciate the art of writing. Her characters are so well thought out that you feel like you know them personally and the story line is given to you in small doses until you can't wait to see what happens next. I just couldn't put this book down. The perfect blend of mystery, suspense and intrigue. I am now hooked on Ms. Jackson's books and cannot wait to read book 2 in the series.
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on February 6, 2016
This book was a pleasant surprise for me. I had read blurb about it on Amazon and it didn't seem like my kind of book. Then the other day I saw a review and decided to give it a try. Glad I did. It took me a few chapters to get really into the story but once I did it wasn't till the end of the book that I realized there wasn't a murder. Melanie Jackson has a way of keeping you so involved that I found myself wanting to do a Wendover family search. Tess, finding that the unwillingness of her parents, if they knew, but mostly her grandmother never talking about the past and then burdening her with a failing paper is the only part that bothered me but then I was taught that a good writer can interject a maddening situation and make you still want you to continue reading.
I am so glad I read that review and didn't just go by the blurb because I would have missed out.
Another series added to my list .
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on April 9, 2012
This novella or short story was worthy of the title of classic mystery in the style of a Poe. In my opinion, the only thing I would have liked is for the book to be triple the size. I chose the Paperback version.

Tess MacKay, a woman with a sense of humor, yet, curiously quite alone in this world, gets notice that she is the remaining heir of the Wendover's, an ancestral family that has lived for the past three hundred years on Little Goose Island, Me or is it Canada? That is one of the mysteries that Tess finds she needs to solve.

When Tess arrives, she finds characters right out of the history annals. An attorney, two brothers that are the law, a famous author, a sick man with his nurse, groceries, and more. Even more important is the local Inn's and Chowder Houses. Why are they all interconnected? Why does everyone treat her as though it is important she stay on the island? Just what is going on?

Trust me, as you read this story, you will find yourself guessing and , in my own case, my imagination was creating stories of it's own. I was delighted with the ending and even more delighted that I had bought the second book of the series.

Ms. Jackson has a great deal of talent and she has sold me on the "Wendover Mysteries." To my sorrow most of Ms. Jackson's works are on ebooks. I'll have to keep my unit charged at this rate.
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on January 19, 2012
I absolutely adore the beautiful writing style of Melanie Jackson. She has done an amazing job on the settings, history, characters, and... the cat, of course! I love the idea of a secluded island full of secrets and mysteries and the atmosphere was just like it, getting me hooked up and entertained until the very end. This is a wonderful read for anyone who likes mysteries. I have seen reviews talking about "an disappointing end", but I have to disagree. This is a SERIES! And the first book of a series. It is not supposed to reveal the whole story and the conflicts are not supposed to be all solved here; that is what the upcoming books are for, aren't they? I really enjoyed this book and will certainly follow the story until the end! Great stuff!
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on January 20, 2012
The Secret Staircase is a wonderful addition to the Agatha Christie-style of cozy mysteries. The book's heroine, Tess MacKay, unexpectedly inherits a large old house on an island in Maine from a long-lost relative. When she travels to see it from her home in Minnesota, she discovers colorful characters and a tempting series of family secrets, superstitions and even a curse. As the first book in the Wendover House Mystery series, The Secret Staircase introduces us to an interesting locale and plenty of quirky characters that no doubt will serve as the backdrop for many books to come. I could almost hear the floors creaking and the storms brewing as I read. I can't wait to start the next in the series.
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on January 12, 2012
I was hooked from the very first phrase, "Kelvin was dead to begin with". Small town, superstitious inhabitants, secluded island, mysterious family history and house with secret passages...this book has it all and then some... The author is brilliant at weaving phrases that invoke feeling and bring characters to life. I found myself entranced as I was reading - I was scared, dreading every encounter with the creepy cat, yet excited to see what would happen next...
A great read! I will definitely read more by this author!
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on January 12, 2012
I love a good mystery story and this one has it all. It is very gothic in nature and and an old curse haunts leading character Tess McKay. The ending is a bit quick but I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
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on May 6, 2012
Melanie Jackson hs created another memorable heroine in Theresa Mackay. In this kick-off novel for her series Theresa inherits a creepy old house on an island off the coast of Maine. Strange noises at night, a legacy of weird (and maybe criminal) ancestors, and eccentric townsfolk keep Theresa and the reader wondering what she's gotten herself into. Will she go back to her job as the editor of a barely surviving small-town newspaper in Minnesota, or will she succumb to the lure of the mysteries of her newly inherited Wendover House?

Therasa is a smart, sassy (at least in her thougths) heroine and just irreverent enough to be good company throughout the book. As she unravels the mysteries of her inheritance, she brings up more questions that one hopes will be answered in subsequent books.
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on January 17, 2012
This book is masterfully written in elegant, clean, spare prose, and it moves along swiftly with a light touch. The heroine is a strong young woman who owns and runs a newspaper in the midwest. When she travels to Maine to inspect the house she inherited from a great-grandfather, she surprises herself by falling in love with it. In fact, I realized part way through the book that the house is one of the main characters, with its quaint rooms and wooden trim and old gas stove and lack of electricity. My only quibble with The Secret Staircase is that I am partial a little more conflict in a book, not only because I like action but because conflict tends to bring out the characters' true colors and helps us see what stuff they're made of. That being said, I would recommend The Secret Staircase for the writing and the descriptions of the old house and the Maine Island coastline.
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on May 7, 2014
Love this author and this series. Couldn't stop until I'd read them all. Hope there will be more. Intrigued that a woman who had never had a family and liked living in civil action would commit to the family legacy. Interesting!
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