"Peril in the Pool House" by Judy L. Murray: Review/Giveaway

Review by Sharon Marchisello

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

Peril in the Pool House is the third book in the Chesapeake Bay mystery series by Judy L. Murray featuring middle-aged real estate agent Helen Morrisey. Helen is a quirky protagonist; she channels a team of famous fictional sleuths—Nancy Drew, Nora Charles, Jessica Fletcher, Jane Marple, Agatha Raisin, and Trixie Belden—and refers to this group of imaginary friends as her Detection Club. Widowed with two grown children who live nearby, she’s in a budding relationship with the local police detective, Joe McAlister. Being in love with Helen despite her reluctance to commit, Joe cuts her a lot of slack as she meddles in his investigations and gets herself into trouble, requiring him to come to her rescue. But he must admit, she’s keenly observant and has good ideas that often contribute to solving the case.

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The story is told in close third person mainly from Helen’s point of view. The action begins at a party celebrating the grand opening of Captain’s Watch Bed and Breakfast, owned by state senator hopeful, Eliot Davies, and his wife, Alison. Alison is a school friend of Helen’s daughter, and the families have known each other for years.

There are rumors that the renovated house overlooking the Chesapeake might be haunted, which adds to its mystique. Then a scream from the pool house brings the festivities to an abrupt halt. As the party guests rush in, they find Alison standing over the bloodied body of Eliot’s campaign manager, Kerry Lightner.

Eliot quickly becomes the prime suspect. Someone heard him and Kerry arguing shortly before she was killed, and it later comes out that she was blackmailing him. The motive was apparently a murder from sixty years ago, when Eliot’s grandfather may have killed Kerry’s grandfather, his one-time business partner. Helen thinks there must be more to the story.

Vowing to prove Eliot’s innocence, Helen does a deep dive into the area’s history, treating the reader to interesting information about the beautiful Chesapeake Bay area and its delicate ecosystem. She also investigates other suspects, but the evidence against Eliot keeps piling up. He’s forced to suspend his campaign, and Councilwoman Diane Gleason, a friend of Helen’s, steps in as the candidate.

When there’s a second murder, also linked to Eliot, Helen has to rethink her suspect list with her Detection Club. Fortunately, Joe indulges her theories, and they set a trap for the killer.

The author did a good job of showing Helen at work and how her job, family ties, and network in the community helped her uncover the puzzle pieces and fit them together to solve several crimes. This was a well-constructed, enjoyable mystery with a satisfying ending.

To enter to win a Kindle copy of Peril in the Pool House, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "pool,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen January 20, 2024. 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! 

You can click here to purchase this book.


Sharon Marchisello is the author of two mysteries published by Sunbury Press: Going Home (2014) and Secrets of the Galapagos (2019) as well as a nonfiction book, travel articles, and several short stories. She earned a Masters in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California and is active in Sisters in Crime. She lives in Peachtree City, GA, working on her next novel and doing volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society and the Fayette County Master Gardeners.
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. Replies
    1. Thank you, Glen! If you enjoy an Agatha Christie or Midsummer Murders kind of mystery with lots of red herrings and quick wit, you'll enjoy my series. Judy

  2. Love the cover! Would really love to read.

    1. Great to 'meet' you, Diane. I'd love this cover too!

  3. Sounds like my kind of book!! Thanks for the chance! Lindaherold999(at)gmail(dot)com

    1. Hi LInda, Thanks so much for your interest. My series is very Agatha Christie, Murder She Wrote, storylines. Keeps you guessing. Best, Judy

  4. We have a winner!
    Lorie Ham

  5. We have a winner!
    Lorie Ham


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