Cozy Wednesday with Janet Finsilver – Author of Murder at the Fortune Teller’s Table – #Review / #Giveaway

I am delighted to have Janet stop by today!
Her new book Murder at the Fortune Teller’s Table was released yesterday!


Kelly Jackson Mystery Series

by Janet Finsilver


When I read, not only do I look for a good story, I like to learn something new along the way. As a result of that, I’ve tried to put interesting facts into each of my books. I’ve researched some of the unique aspects of Mendocino, California, which my fictitious town of Redwood Cove is based on. Antique silver objects, Greek fortune telling, and sinker logs are a few of the areas I’ve sprinkled into my books. Dogs with special abilities are part of the series. I’d like to share some of this information with you in this post.

Years ago I read an article about a standard poodle trained to detect cancer in people. I found it fascinating. Since then numerous studies have been done. Dogs can find a variety of cancers. Their rate of success varies among the reports. Some research has shown up to 98% accuracy. This led to Fred, the basset hound in Murder at Redwood Cove.

My awareness for anything unusual regarding dogs was raised. I began seeing articles on a multitude of abilities. In Murder at the Mansion I introduced Jack and Jill, two canines trained to find bed bugs and termites. They extend their abilities to dry rot by the end of the book. Dogs are great for these tasks. Their acute sense of smell can lead them to hard-to-find bedbugs and prevent places being torn apart unnecessarily when searching for termites and dry rot. They are being used in England in many of the old mansions.

Princess, a tan Chihuahua, debuted in Murder at the Fortune Teller’s Table. She’s a feisty retired hearing assistance dog that sports jeweled collars. Princess began to be a little hard of hearing and was replaced by a black Chihuahua named Sergeant. It was fun learning about the different ways they help their owners.

That book also has a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder dog. You will often see them being referred to as PTSD dogs. I chose a Bernese Mountain Dog for that role. This was one of the most unusual areas I researched. They are trained to do whatever their owner needs which varies from person to person. They might circle around the person to keep crowds at a distance or go into a home to be sure no one is hiding in the building. There’s even a dog phone they can be taught to use in certain situations. It sits on the floor, has a large button for the dog to hit, and dials a number that has been programmed into it.

I mentioned earlier that Mendocino itself has interesting aspects to it. The town and surrounding land has been designated as the Mendocino and Headlands Historic District. Many of the buildings are from the 1800s. The Mendocino Presbyterian Church dedicated on July 5, 1868, is still in use. There are strict rules that need to be adhered to when building or remodeling so the town keeps its “Old West” charm.

I’m currently working on my fourth book tentatively titled Murder at the Mushroom Festival. Mushroom hunting is big in the Mendocino region. I’ve taken two classes and now know more about fungi than I thought would ever happen in my lifetime!

Sinker logs are unique to the area and are also part of the fourth book. These are old-growth redwood logs cut down in the 1800s that remained in the river bed. People began harvesting them when they realized how valuable they were because of their grain and colors. A halt was put to collecting them when authorities became concerned about damaging the habitat.

Learning about antique silver objects led me to learn about apostle spoons. In Murder at the Mansion, my protagonist finds twelve well-crafted silver spoons with intricate designs. They were used as christening presents, and the spoon represented the baby’s apostle. She also finds an object to resembling a fish, with fins on one side and a split tail. It’s a knitting sheath. A needle was put in it, allowing the woman’s right hand to be free to handle the yarn. It helped her to work more quickly and efficiently, especially when walking.

Greek fortune telling in Murder at the Fortune Teller’s Table involves reading the patterns in the grounds of Turkish coffee to predict the future. It’s a very ancient practice. Some people call it tasseography. A special copper pot with a long, triangular-shaped handle called a briki is used to prepare the coffee. There are a number of steps performed for the reading including putting the saucer on the cup, swirling the coffee in it three times, and flipping it over.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse at pieces of my Kelly Jackson mystery series!


Murder at the Fortune Teller’s Table
(A Kelly Jackson Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – California
Kensington Publishing Corporation/Lyrical Underground (March 14, 2017)
Paperback 190 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1616509347
Kindle ASIN: B01HA435CI


Poisons, prophecies—and a peculiar past . . .

When a local woman begins searching for a couple she hasn’t seen since the 1960s, Redwood Cove Bed and Breakfast manager Kelly Jackson and the crime-solving group, the “Silver Sentinels,” are quick to help out. They’re also quick to guess that they’re in over their heads after the woman is found dead beside the body of a Greek fortune teller—and a fellow Sentinel gets attacked. As Kelly juggles work and her responsibilities at a food and wine festival in town, she and her sleuthing posse must confront a killer obsessed with old secrets . . . and solve a murder mystery more than fifty years in the making . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I have been looking forward to this book since finishing up the last one. This time Kelly and the Silver Sentinels start out tracking down a couple people that were in the area back in the 60’s but when their “client” is found dead along with a local fortune teller they are quickly involved to prove the two woman have been murdered. It puts their sleuthing skills to the test and a couple of them in danger too.

This ensemble cast led but Kelly Jackson, manager of the Redwood Cove B&B, is just fabulous. Their canine companions are icing the cake. Diverse and genuine they all mesh together using their strengths to their advantage to not only solve mysteries but to keep each other safe. I like that they stay in touch and work together with the local police. Their past experience shows they can trust each other and it is a little twist to the normal cozy where the protags investigate without the consent of the authorities. The new characters are very interesting too.

This plot is complicated because there are a lot of suspects and everyone seems to be hiding something. A multitude of twists and a surprising ending had me positively glued to the pages.

Ms. Finsilver adds a touch of romance to this story, is Kelly headed for a new relationship?

I have enjoyed all three stories in this series and I am excited for number four. All can be read on their own but I suggest starting at the beginning.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Janet Finsilver is the USA TODAY best-selling author of the Kelly Jackson mystery series. She worked in education for many years as a teacher, a program administrator, and a workshop presenter. Janet majored in English and earned a Master’s Degree in Education. She loves animals and has two dogs–Kylie and Ellie. Janet has ridden western style since she was a child and was a member of the National Ski Patrol. One of the highlights of her life was touching whales in the San Ignacio Lagoon. MURDER AT REDWOOD COVE, her debut mystery, was released on October 13, 2015. Her second book, MURDER AT THE MANSION, was released on June 7, 2016.

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Find out more about Janet Finsilver and her books on her webpage here.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

38 thoughts on “Cozy Wednesday with Janet Finsilver – Author of Murder at the Fortune Teller’s Table – #Review / #Giveaway

  1. I loved the first book, Murder at Ravenwood Cove, in fact I recently finished it and am ready for the next one. Would love to win the latest! Thank you!

  2. This series is a new one for me so I appreciate you hosting Janet Finsilver on your blog. Definitely have added it to my want to read list.

  3. This series looks great. I have the first one on my Nook, ready to go! Looking forward to diving in to it.

  4. Such a great post — I really enjoyed all the pictures of Mendocino. Murder at the Fortune Teller’s Table sounds like a great book and part of a great series!

  5. I somehow have missed this series, I love what I just read about the dogs and spoons, this sounds great, I’ll have to go get the first book and get started.

    1. I’m glad to hear you loved what your read about the dogs and the spoons. Thanks! I’ve had a lot of fun doing research for the series and have learned a lot.

  6. I enjoyed the description of the book and I’m looking forward to reading the book. I’ve never heard of fortune tellers using coffee grounds to tell your fortune.

    1. It’s great to hear you enjoyed the description of the book and you’re looking forward to reading it. Thanks! As mentioned in my post, reading the coffee grounds is called tasseography. It was fascinating learning about it.

    1. I do a lot of research for the books and have learned many interesting things. I have to admit the dog phone amazed me. I agree it’s fascinating what they can be taught.

  7. This series is a new one for me so I appreciate you hosting Janet Finsilver on your blog. I look forward to learning about some of the things Janet points out in her post above!

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