In my imagination, I have pictured what it would be like to restore a lighthouse so someone could live there. First, the picture of the lighthouse on the cover drew me in and once I saw the blurb on the back of the book I knew I had to read this book. Dawn, the main character was restoring a lighthouse and there was a mystery.
I wasn’t disappointed. Occasionally when I read it takes me a few chapters to want to keep reading but the easy style of writing and description drew me in right away. I fell in love with Starlight Cove. It is the kind of community we dream of when we want to get away from the busy city world. I walked through the lighthouse step by step with the character and could picture every crevice and nook and cranny.
We have all felt the chill at one time or another at feeling like an outsider and not knowing why and Dawn was no different. In small communities all across America, people are judged by their families and their past and Dawn was too. Could she right the wrong that perhaps her families legacy had left to this small town? Could she prove the judgment against her family was misplaced?
It is a well-written mystery drawing a reader in, making them care about the characters and keeping you guessing to the very end whether judgments were misplaced. This is the first book I have read by Cynthia Ellingson but it won’t be my last.
Dawn Conners’s parents are famous for finding historic treasures, but she has a knack for losing things—her job, her boyfriend, and now, her reputation. Thanks to a mud-slinging exposé, Dawn’s late great-grandfather is assumed guilty of stealing silver from a century-old shipwreck. Hoping to clear his name, Dawn returns to Starlight Cove, her idyllic hometown on Lake Michigan, where the doomed vessel sleeps beneath the beam of a ramshackle lighthouse.
Her plan: remodel and sell the lighthouse while untangling the perplexing family mystery. Neither task is easy, especially once her well-meaning parents and the quirky locals—including nautical researcher and Starlight Cove’s most eligible bachelor, Kip Whittaker—get involved. Despite their attraction, Dawn is reluctant to trust Kip, or any of the close-knit townsfolk. But as she pieces together the truth, Dawn’s once-shuttered heart opens up. And if she’s willing, the lighthouse might guide her to a place she never expected to find, where the past entwines with a bright new beginning.
It’s official! The Penderghast Puzzle Protectors has a new cover, a new publisher, and a new printing company. One might ask why I decided to make some changes with the first book in the Brilliant, Minnesota, Cozy Mystery Series. And if you weren’t asking, I will tell you anyway.
I feel The Penderghast Puzzle Protectors is perhaps the best book I have written so far. My readers keep asking for more Granny (Hermiony Vidalia Criony Fiddlestadt)
and there will be more, but I felt the fictional communities of Minnesota needed another series and so the Brilliant Series was born, but it hasn’t taken off as well as I would like, thus the new cover and a new release.
First a little bit about the new cover. In searching for the perfect Victorian House for my main character Jezabelle Jingle, I came across a picture my friend and Author Sherri Hansen posted of her Victorian Bed and Breakfast and Teahouse, The Blue Belle Inn and knew it was perfect for Jezabelle. Sherri generously gave me permission to use the picture and I feel a connection to it.
Jezabelle Jingle is not quite as silly as her name portrays although she has her quirks and doesn’t suffer fools lightly. She grew up in Brilliant, left for a few years and came back to some of her old friends, Police Chief Hank Hardy and Lizzy Langer. Moving into the Penderghast neighborhood of Victorian Houses she loved her retired life, making her famous cheesecakes and keeping an eye on her interesting but quirky neighbors. But fate thrust her into the history and secrecy the Brilliant Brothers built into the town.
Of course, there has to be a connection to Fuchsia, Minnesota, and Granny, from the Fuchsia Series, and it comes in the form of Granny’s friend, Delight Delure, who is Jezabelle’s niece.
Jezabelle is not a sleuth like Granny but when her neighbor’s lives are threatened by unique goings on and deaths, Jezabelle, along with her neighbors, are forced to investigate and they form the Penderghast Puzzle Protectors. Can her neighbors be trusted?
Jezabelle is not above flirting with her cute garbage collector, Hick Rafferty. She is not too old to have a secret admirer or to keep the Police Department on their toes. Her heart has been broken a few times by secrets in her past and…by losing pets, but new pets seem to find her whether she wants them or not.
As the series progresses you will find a community riddled in mystery with actual puzzles needing to be solved, funny situations and a town that looks out for their own despite their differences.
Jezabelle is a conglomeration of fun, silliness with drops of sense and sensibility, all wrapped up in cheesecakes, cupcakes, and intrigue.
The second book in the Brilliant Series is coming soon. It should be out in October. The title is The Discombobulated Decipherers. Not only is there a dead elf wrapped in Christmas lights, but a Christmas puzzle to solve along with more insight into the quirky lives of the Brilliant residents.
Here is a little excerpt from The Penderghast Puzzle Protectors.
“What are you doing here, HH?” Jezabelle used her nickname
for the Police Chief. “Didn’t know you covered floor failures
too. I kept telling Warbler he needed to lose some weight—
too many of those banana splits from the Creamy Cow, but he
didn’t listen. I warned him these old houses have weak floors
Hank Hardy and Red Hannahan shared a concerned look
between them before Hank answered Jezabelle. “It was no accident, Jezzy. It looks like someone cut a large square out of
the floor. The strange thing was that they must have known
how the house was built.”
“That’s impossible,” replied Jezabelle. “That house, like mine
and all the others on the street, are over one hundred years old.
And they’ve always been in good shape. The owners have kept
them up. Are you telling me we have a one-hundred-year-old
cutting up floors?”
“Here’s the thing.” Red Hannahan interrupted. “That exact
square of floor was framed in a square, not like the normal
joists in a house. That frame was made for exactly that piece
Hardy nodded his head in agreement. “The perpetrator
pulled up that particular floor board without disturbing the
ceiling below. That’s why Warbler didn’t notice it from the
living room underneath the bedroom.”
“And when they did, they pulled the area rug over to hide the
hole. Mr. Warbler stepped on the rug and went right through
the floor. The square was just big enough for part of his rotund
body to go through, but the solid framing of the floor and his
stomach wouldn’t give way for the rest.” Red Hannahan smiled,
remembering the picture of Mr. Warbler hanging through the
Jezabelle wrinkled her nose, puzzled by the events of the
day. “Do you suppose the entire floor is framed like that? And
why would someone want a piece of Mr. Warbler’s floor?”
Hank Hardy ignored the question and answered with one of
his own. “Did you see anything suspicious or anyone you didn’t
recognize around Mr. Warbler’s house today?”
“Other than Miranda Covington actually putting her
garbage out at the correct time so she didn’t have to run down
the street after the garbage truck in her high heels and scanty
nighties? Nope, can’t say I did.” Jezabelle smiled sweetly at the men, remembering that Mr. Warbler was the only one she saw
doing something suspicious the day before. Jezabelle decided
to keep that little bit of news to herself so she could investigate
before she told the police. After all, she didn’t want to put Mr.
Warbler in a bad light, them being neighbors and all. “Nope,
The Brilliant Brothers founded Brilliant Minnesota, and then they disappeared. The residents of Brilliant didn’t know the brothers left a puzzle needing to be solved. A chain of unexpected present-day events shakes up the Penderghast neighborhood of Brilliant: Mr. Warbler hanging between floors after stepping through a hole cut in his floor by a floornapper, then a dead body in Annabelle Avery’s empty house. To the dismay of Police Chief Hank Hardy, Jezabelle Jingle and her quirky neighbors form their own sleuth group under the guise of the Penderghast Puzzle Protectors to solve the puzzle before any of them end up in pieces or—worse yet—dead. Will they be able to figure out if the same person who is causing the mysterious happenings is also Jezabelle’s secret admirer, or is another mystery unfolding to complicate their investigation? Is the entire town in danger of a pernicious puzzle waiting to be solved?
This is what one reader had to say about the Penderghast Puzzle Protectors: The Penderghast Puzzle Protectors is the first in the new Brilliant Minnesota Mysteries by Julie Seedorf. This new series is just as funny as The Fuchsia Minnesota Series! Julie’s stories are so imaginative and creative. The characters are so much fun! I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and look forward to the next one.