"Secret Inheritance" by Hazel Smith: Review/Giveaway

Review by Tracy Condie

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

No, April May, you are not in Chicago anymore.

Meet April May, a former fashion journalist from Chicago who finds herself in a small town where not having rubber boots is a fashion faux pas. April has inherited lakefront property and a mysterious family heirloom, and that is but one of the many mysteries found within this cozy mystery. As April goes around the old and somewhat unsightly house looking for said heirloom that is to be passed down to the oldest child of the oldest child, she comes upon threatening letters signed by L” and addressed to E.” She assumes E” to be her grandmother Ellen Rowberry, a grandmother whom she never met. The only thing that April is able to deduce is that Ellen was an avid gardener.

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April’s first local encounter is with a very sick Boxer, as in canine, which leads to a meeting with the very handsome Wesley, the town veterinarian. Wesley manages to convince April, a confirmed cat person, to foster the large dog after treating him for possible plant poisoning. From muddy stray to Ralph Lauren namesake (she named the dog Ralph), April now has a dog to take care of along with renovating an old house, looking for a lost heirloom, and getting to the bottom of those mysterious letters.

As with most small and cozy towns, it seems like everyone who April meets knows that she is Ellen’s granddaughter. Some have kind things to say about Ellen, but then there is Isaac, the owner of Main Street Market, the only grocery store in town. There seems to be some anger issues stemming from past peccadillos involving Ellen, Isaac, and Isaac’s twin brother Reuben.

Thank goodness there is a dog-friendly cafĂ© with the best butterscotch muffins and lemon drizzle cake in town owned and operated by Josephine. With each new introduction, April finds herself looking for the mysterious L”, since Officer Greenley (aka just call me Kate) is at a loss as to how to proceed with the mysterious letters that could mean nothing. Or they could mean quite a bit—Isaac and Reuben also get mysterious letters with a single initial, and people end up in the hospital.

April is befriended by Lucy, the local librarian, who suggests that April attend the croquet club to meet some people and get some answers. And so, starts a wonderful friendship, after all, every good sleuth needs friends. There is plenty to research, from town history to search history, and then there are the searches for Huntsley & Dean, a development company. Many believe that the company is messing with the lake water in order to ruin the town so they can purchase it for a pittance and develop it into something that is not cozy. Are these mysteries related, maybe, maybe not?

The clues are well laid as are the red herrings, and while I figured out both the who and the why, I did not figure out the what. One last thing, I can attest that the recipe at the conclusion of the story makes a very tasty Lemon Drizzle Cake, which means that the only mystery remaining is the whereabouts of the recipe for those butterscotch muffins.

To enter to win an ebook copy of Secret Inheritance, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "secret,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 21, 2023. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via comment please include your email address so we can contact you. 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:

Tracy Condie is a paralegal by day and cozy armchair sleuth by night. When she is not working or reading, she enjoys preparing the recipes found in culinary cozies or researching recipes of meal items described therein and sharing reviews of both books and food on Instagram and on KRL. She lives in Corona, California with her husband and dog Zoolie, and looks forward to visiting with their grown sons when their time permits.
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. Sounds like a good book. Looking forward to reading it.

  2. We have a winner!
    Lorie Ham

  3. We have a winner!
    Lorie Ham


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