“Human minds are more full of mysteries than any written book and more changeable than the cloud shapes in the air.”— Louisa May Alcott

What makes a gripping mystery? A spooky setting? A dastardly plot? A narrator whose mind makes them less than reliable? The perfect mystery novel reveals some clues to the reader, a peek at the author’s cards without giving the whole story away. Our latest read, written by a Darien resident, unfolds on a private island in upstate New York where a family woke up to mind a mattress soaked in blood.

Death in the Family by Tessa Wegert

Tessa Wegert’s debut novel is dripping with Agatha Christie vibes. When readers first meet Detective Shana Merchant, the big city cop has relocated to a sleepy town in upstate New York as she tries to regain her investigative chops after surviving a traumatic case. Shana thinks she’s easing back into the swing of things, until a call comes in that someone has been murdered on a private island. When Shana and her partner arrive on the scene, they’re faced with a bed drenched in blood and a family that appears to be far too collected considering one of their own is missing. A storm traps Shana on the island with a pack of murder suspects, without a chance of reinforcements coming to her aid. As she tries to connect the pieces of the crime, her mind keeps shifting back to her past trauma, distracting her from the case.

Wegert’s mystery will keep readers on the edge of their seats as the plot ping pongs through the potential murder suspects and all the secrets each person is keeping. Murder fans get ready to settle into your seat, Wegert’s plot will keep you rooted in place until the final enthralling page. Readers please note “Death in the Family” is the first book in an upcoming series and the reviewer is already eager for a sequel, which Wegert revealed is expected to be published in 2021.

From the book jacket…

“Thirteen months ago, former NYPD detective Shana Merchant barely survived being abducted by a serial killer. Now hoping to leave grisly murder cases behind, she’s taken a job in her fiancé’s sleepy hometown in the Thousand Islands region of Upstate New York. But as a nor’easter bears down on her new territory, Shana and fellow investigator Tim Wellington receive a call about a man missing on a private island. Shana and Tim travel to the isolated island owned by the wealthy Sinclair family to question the witnesses. They arrive to find blood on the scene and a house full of Sinclair family and friends on edge.”

If you enjoy…

Mystery fans might also enjoy reading “The Woman in Cabin 10” by Ruth Ware. The thriller follows a travel journalist who thinks she witnessed a murder while reporting on a luxury yacht. The problem is when she tries to alert the crew about what she heard, she’s told that no one was staying in the cabin next to her and that no one is missing from the boat.

Wegert will be at Barrett Bookstore on Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. to celebrate the launch of “Death in the Family.” For more information, visit barrettbookstore.com/event/tessa-wegert-death-family .