"The Secret Staircase" By Sheila Connolly: Review/Giveaway

Review by Sandra Murphy

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book and links to purchase it.

Asheboro, Maryland, is a dying town. In an effort to revive the area, Kate Hamilton has a plan. She’ll make over the entire town to resemble a Victorian village. There’s a mansion the town owns. It needs the usual improvements: plumbing, electric, heating and cooling, check the roof, and more. Kate’s in the middle of searching for a contractor to renovate the mansion without destroying its character. 

One man seems to be on the same wavelength. He has a feel for the old buildings and doesn’t want to modernize them, just update. Because he has an eye for how houses were generally laid out a hundred years ago, he’s able to point out there’s a discrepancy in the kitchen measurements. There’s a false wall. 

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The wall is not the only surprise. He can make a small hole in the wall, insert a special gadget, and look at what’s inside before tearing out a wall. The shocker is, there’s a staircase behind the wall—and the mummified body of a man on the stairs. 

Since forensics prove the body has been there since 1880, that’s a relief, but there’s no explanation or way to identify him. Other bad news is he was murdered. Who would kill a man and then build a wall around the body, especially when there’s a whole forest as part of the grounds? 

Meanwhile, one of the workers turns up when he’s not supposed to be in the house, is mouthy, and doesn’t share Kate’s vision for the renovation. Before she can voice her opinion on his behavior, he’s found dead at the bottom of the basement stairs. Did he fall or was he pushed? 

This is book three in the series. Kate’s vision for the town is on a grand scale but most of the residents are in favor of it. If going Victorian will bring tourists and their dollars, it’s worth a try. Kate and her side characters are likable, including her new contractor. The village, when done, will be a great place to visit. Don’t dawdle too long, Kate will put you to work on her next project! 

Sadly, Sheila Connolly passed away from cancer on April 20, 2020, while living in Ireland where she felt most at home. A prolific writer, at one point she wrote five books a year, spanning several series. In all, she published more than forty books: a Glassblowing series, Museum mysteries, Orchard books, paranormal tales, her most popular County Cork mysteries, and this Victorian Village series.   

To enter to win a copy of The Secret Staircase, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "staircase,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 6, 2021. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. If entering via comment please include your email address so we can contact you. BE AWARE THAT DUE TO THE CURRENT CRISIS THERE MAY BE A DELAY IN SHIPPING THE WINNING BOOK. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase the book or click here. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch in St. Louis Missouri. She writes about eco-friendly topics, pets and wildlife for magazines and reviews mysteries and thrillers for KRL. A collection of her short stories, published by Untreed Reads, From Hay to Eternity: Ten Tales of Crime and Deception can be found at all the usual outlets. Each one is a little weird and all have a twist you won't see coming.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. I've read this. It was good.
    Recommend it.

  2. There's something about this book that gives me a Nancy Drew kinda vibe, but for grownups. That can't be a bad thing, everybody loves Nancy. Thanks for the chance to win a copy. crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com

  3. I have read and enjoyed several books written by Sheila Connolly. I would love to read The Secret Staircase also!

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

  4. Would really love to read. Thanks for the chance.

  5. Would love to get a copy! tWarner419(at)aol(dot)com

  6. A cold case with a walled up body in an old house- count me in!


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