Behind the Redwood Door
Review: When the editor of a local newspaper is murdered, Guy Mallon is recruited to replace him … putting him squarely in the middle of multi-generation family feud in Behind the Redwood Door, the third mystery in this series by John M. Daniel.
Guy and his wife Carol own the Scarecrow Bookstore, a used bookshop in Jefferson City, a small coastal town well north of San Francisco, where the couple used to own a publishing company. Carol runs the business without much need of help from Guy, leaving him to enjoy the peace and quiet of the region and to pursue his interest, local history. After Pete Thayer, editor and writer for The Jefferson Nickel, is killed behind their favorite tavern, River Webster, who owns the paper, asks Guy to fill in for Pete. Guy agrees, but only if he can write about the town's history, bringing to life accounts of times gone by. But then the Scarecrow is broken into, with books on the town's history destroyed. Other acts of vandalism follow. River suspects it is the work of Seamus Connolly, owner of the rival paper the Jefferson Republican. Connolly's family has been at odds with the Websters for well over 150 years, since Jefferson City's founding in the 1860s. But Guy isn't so sure, and looks to the past to determine if he can find something that might help explain what's happening in the present.
Behind the Redwood Door is as much history as mystery, and fans of either — or both — genres will enjoy the storyline here. The history is (presumably) a clever blending of generally known facts from the region and a fictional recreation of roots of the town of Jefferson City. The whodunit element is nicely constructed, the murder mystery peppered with plenty of red herrings. Also noteworthy is the setting along the northern California coast, which is drawn with details that make it come alive, both in the past and the present.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Behind the Redwood Door.
Acknowledgment: Dark Oak Mysteries provided a copy of Behind the Redwood Door for this review.
Review Copyright © 2012 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Oak Tree Press (Trade Paperback), November 2013
ISBN-13: 9781610090612; ISBN-10: 1610090616
Location(s) referenced in Behind the Redwood Door: Northern California; San Francisco
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Behind the Redwood Door by John M. Daniel — A Guy Mallon Mystery
Publisher: Dark Oak Mysteries
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: November 2011
List Price: $14.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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