Secret rooms, a dead body hidden behind wall, a family curse, and magicians? All this and more are included within Under Lock & Skeleton Key.
Tempest is from a family of magicians. She had a successful act in Las Vegas until she is betrayed by her jealous assistant. Tempest has no choice but to return to her childhood home. She is helping her father build a customer’s secret room when they find a dead body. All clues point to Tempest as the murderer so Tempest and her two friends must find the real killer. It won’t be as easy as pulling a rabbit out of a hat.
The book is a clear homage to my reading favs in childhood. Nancy Drew, Encyclopedia Brown, and even Trixie Belden are all mentioned in the young-at-heart nostalgic plot. Dramatic discoveries (and plot twists) are abundant. Unfortunately, the book follows the children’s mystery format of repeating the clues over and over until the reader feels as battered as a corpse. This results in the conclusion being very obvious from almost the first page.
Under Lock & Skeleton Key is great for those that remember their youthful excitement at solving the crime before the book’s detective. It also would be a good choice for preteens who like to read mysteries. 3 stars.
Thanks to Minotaur Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.