Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Hanged Man's Noose: A Glass Dolphin Mystery (Book 1) by Judy Penz Sheluk

Title: The Hanged Man's Noose: A Glass Dolphin Mystery (Book 1)
Author: Judy Penz Sheluk
Published: July 2015
Published By: Barking Rain Press
Format Read: eBook, Kobo
Genre: Mystery, Cozy Mystery
Date Read: September 25 2015
Rating: 3.5/5

I received a copy of The Hanged Man’s Noose from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Garrett Stonehaven is a big shot Toronto developer, who has set his eyes on a piece of property in the small town of Lount’s Landing. Unfortunately for him not everyone agrees with his plan to destroy a closed school in the downtown core to build a shopping centre in its place. Then one of Stonehaven’s biggest opposer’s dies of an apparent allergic reaction. Meanwhile a young freelance writer by the name of Emily Garland moves to town under the disguise of the new editor for a local magazine. However her real task is to spy on Stonehaven and report back to her boss in the city. Centered on a group of downtown merchants The Hanged Man’s Noose also follows Arabella, a new antiques dealer and Johnny a paint shop owner. 

My thoughts:
Several weeks ago I saw an article about a local author who had recently released her debut novel and I jumped at the chance to offer my support. I was especially excited to learn that The Hanged Man’s Noose is a mystery novel set so close to home. 

Small town, big plans:
Lount’s Landing is a work of fiction, which is based loosely on the real town of Holland Landing, Ontario. Historic downtowns are some of my favourite places to visit here in Ontario, so I was able to create a vivid picture of the setting in my head. Also being from a small town myself, I was able to relate with the residents reactions to redevelopment and expansion. There are always people who are against any kind of change, no matter how big or small and it is common for small town folk to be leery of big city companies moving in. Growing animosity opens the flood gates for all kinds of trouble and with that brings inspiration for a creative story. 

It’s all in the details:
One thing I have noticed in other mysteries is the lack of backstory or history of its characters and setting. This is definitely not the case in the Hanged Man’s Noose. In fact the past is a very integral part of the mystery. Readers learn of connections between several key characters that date back to the time of their youth. Even the history of Lount’s Landing’s namesake is also mentioned. I was very impressed by the attention to detail the author gave to the story. I found myself getting excited at the mere mention of even a popular radio station and other Ontario related tidbits and locations.

The cast:

As the plot developed readers are introduced to several characters who become suspects in the mounting mysteries, some are more familiar and others are briefly mentioned. I admit that I became a bit confused as to which character was which, especially in the example of the secondary characters. I think that I would benefit from re-reading this book so that I can pay more attention to these individuals. Emily’s career as a freelance investigative journalist made for a believable sleuth and Arabella’s keen interest in history made them a great team. However in the real world, I believe that these two intelligent ladies would have solved the mystery in less time than it took in the book.  

In conclusion:
The Hanged Man’s Noose was an enjoyable novel and I look forward reading more by Judy Penz Sheluk in the future. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy cozy mysteries with a little more meat to its story. 

Notable Quotes:

“HavenSent Developments is exploring a development opportunity in Lount’s Landing. Nothing unusual, though it is a bit far afield, even for someone as ruthless as Garrett Stonehaven. But our source tells us there’s more to Stonehaven’s latest plan than meets the eye. Much more.”
“Eyes so dark brown they looked black. Miner’s eyes, her old pals at boarding school would have called them, the kind of eyes that would dig their way into the depth of your soul.”
“Wasn’t Lount’s Landing named after Samuel Lount? What kind of town was named for a man who’d been hanged for treason?”
“Honestly there are more horses’ asses than horses in this town.”

Additional Information:
For more information about the author and where to purchase The Hanged Man’s Noose please visit her website:Judy Penz Sheluk