Judy Penz Sheluk

The Hanged Man’s Noose, Book 1 of The Glass Dolphin Mystery Series


I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading the first book in Judy Penz Sheluk’s The Glass Dolphin Mystery Series, The Hanged Man’s Noose, but within a few pages, I was already intrigued. The heroine of the story, Emily Garland, leads a complicated life. She’s a writer (already a strike against her in my book – never trust a writer!), she’s on the rebound (another strike – what kind of relationships can she have if she can’t keep a boyfriend?), and she has a lot of baggage weighing her down. It’s only hinted at early on, but she has real problems with her boss, with the death of her mother, and her animosity towards Garrett Stonehaven, a highly successful developer.


Apparently I wasn’t the only one who had problems with Emily. Even her boss seemed anxious to get rid of her, exiling her to Lount’s Landing. Sure, her boss, Michelle Ellis, tried to put lipstick on that pig of an assignment, but I could tell Emily was being given the boot. But maybe I’m just projecting too much of my life into that assignment.


Once Emily got to Lount’s Landing, however, I fell in love with the story. Judy Penz Sheluk captured my imagination with two of the key elements for a successful story: characters and locale. Over the course of the next ten or so chapters, she introduces a wide range of fascinating characters that populate the small Canadian town north of Toronto. Second, she brings the town of Lount’s Landing to life with descriptions of the businesses and locale. I love it when a story’s location comes alive for me, making me wish I could visit the various shops, locations, and businesses the author describes.


But this is above all a murder mystery, and fairly early in the story, we discover our first victim (though to be sure, there are several background characters who have allegedly committed suicide, had drowning accidents, or skiing accidents). The first victim is soon followed by the second victim, and then the third. Yep, I really love a story with a lot of dead bodies in it.


Most cozy mysteries require a non-traditional detective to solve the case. Emily Garland almost fits that bill. As she or others often point out, as a reporter, she is used to digging into a story to get the details. But she and her newly acquired friend in Lount’s Landing, Arabella Carpenter, team up to try to solve the murder of the one person in Lount’s Landing who probably had the most people willing to murder him: Garrett Stonehaven. But in the process, they try to solve the other two murders, since, after all, aren’t they all connected?


Judy Penz Sheluk does a great job of keeping you guessing as to who is the murderer. I’m not going to give you any spoilers, except to say that even I was surprised to learn the actual circumstances. The solution of the murders will both please you and wanting more. Fortunately, Judy Penz Sheluk will deliver more in the next two books contained in this delightful mystery series.

Get Judy Penz Sheluk’s The Glass Dolphin Mystery Series here: