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A Palette for Murder

A Palette for Murder

4.3 3
by Sybil Johnson

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"With a smart, sympathetic protagonist, lots of colorful details, and even tips on creating trompe l'oeil paintings, A Palette for Murder is a work of art." – Ellen Byron, USA Today Bestselling Author of Plantation Shudders

A killer heat wave settles over Seagull Lane...Summer's sizzling in Vista Beach, the home of computer programmer and tole-painting


"With a smart, sympathetic protagonist, lots of colorful details, and even tips on creating trompe l'oeil paintings, A Palette for Murder is a work of art." – Ellen Byron, USA Today Bestselling Author of Plantation Shudders

A killer heat wave settles over Seagull Lane...Summer's sizzling in Vista Beach, the home of computer programmer and tole-painting enthusiast Aurora (Rory) Anderson. The abnormally high temperatures are hard on everyone in the quiet Los Angeles county beach community, especially the city's homeless population. Residents are doing everything they can to stay cool, including leaving windows open to catch the faintest breeze. Not the best idea when a string of burglaries is plaguing nearby towns.

Still, Rory doesn't expect to find her neighbor's body just a few doors down. When suspicion falls on a friend and fellow painter, Rory must discover the truth before the police paint the wrong picture and send her friend away permanently.

"Johnson has crafted a clever mystery with a colorful protagonist. Set along the vibrant Southern California coast, this story resonates with a rich understanding of the artistic as well as the homeless communities. A smooth read!" – Daryl Wood Gerber, National Bestselling Author of Grilling the Subject

"Aurora Anderson and her friends are back with a brand new mystery to solve. A Palette for Murder is a well-crafted tale of betrayal, revenge, and the power of family ties, set in a Southern California beach town." – Maggie King, Author of Murder at the Moonshine Inn

"Johnson paints characters with a folksy charm that makes them feel like family...Color me a fan!" – Diane Vallere, National Bestselling Author of The Decorator Who Knew Too Much

Related subjects include: cozy mysteries, women sleuths, murder mystery series, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), amateur sleuth books, book club recommendations, craft and hobby mysteries.

Books in the Aurora Anderson Mystery Series:


Part of the Henery Press Mystery Series Collection, if you like one, you'll probably like them all...

Product Details

Henery Press
Publication date:
An Aurora Anderson Mystery , #3
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Barnes & Noble
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File size:
452 KB

Meet the Author

Sybil Johnson’s love affair with reading began in kindergarten with “The Three Little Pigs.” Visits to the library introduced her to Encyclopedia Brown, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and a host of other characters. Fast forward to college where she continued reading while studying Computer Science. After a rewarding career in the computer industry, Sybil decided to try her hand at writing mysteries. Her short fiction has appeared in Mysterical-E and Spinetingler Magazine, among others. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in Southern California where she enjoys tole painting, studying ancient languages and spending time with friends and family.

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A PALETTE FOR MURDER 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Dollycas 3 months ago
Dollycas’s Thoughts Book 3 in this series takes us to California is heat of summer and some thieves are taking advantage of residents leaving their windows open to catch an ocean breeze. Sadly one robbery leaves behind a body. Rory finds her neighbor dead of an apparent attack. Police quickly focus in Rory’s friend Dawn so Rory does a little investigating on her own but she may be painting herself into a corner. What a perfect read while it is winter in Wisconsin. The heat seeped right out of the book and made me feel the warmth and enjoy the breeze. I could almost smell the ocean and hear the waves as Rory chased down clues both in the murder and trying to find out who hurt a homeless man. A man who Rory has sort of taken under her wing. The author really shined with this mystery. Willow, the woman who died, had secrets and quite a past. We keep learning more and more as the story continues and there are some surprising twists that paint quite a picture of who Willow really was. Ms. Johnson set a nice quick pace to this mystery. One that made the book very hard to put down, I did read it all in one sitting. One part even made me shed a tear or two. I really enjoy the characters she has created. Close friends Rory and Liz, not quite Thelma and Louise, but they have a special bond. Rory’s romantic life is still in flux but I do enjoy the way the author is not rushing it, leaving it to evolve naturally and in a very believable way. Of course, there are always those bumps in the road that twist things up a bit. I think I know where she is headed and it is fun to watch it all play out. Each story in this series is better than the last. I hate to think I have to wait a year for my next visit. Thank you Sybil for another perfect escape.
Jarina 4 months ago
A Palette for Murder is the third installment in Sybil Johnson's Aurora Anderson mystery series. Aurora (Rory) is a computer software designer by vocation and a budding artist by avocation in the seaside Southern California town of Vista Beach. Vista Beach is experiencing an unusual heat wave which is taking its toll on the residents, in particular the homeless. The town has set up cooling centers for those without air conditioning, including the homeless. First the homeless man Rory had befriended when he saved her life is attacked and found under the pier, then Rory's neighbor is murdered. What is common to these two events is that Rory found them both. When Detective Martin Green investigates both crimes, once again Rory finds herself in his company and in his shadow as the crimes are solved. At first there are no suspects for the murder until Rory's friend Dawn is arrested. Dawn pleads with Rory to help find the culprit, little do they know the danger that will follow. With her best friend Liz in tow, Rory investigates her neighbor's murder and ultimately the death of her homeless friend only to discover the link between the two. And when she comes upon the common denominator, it is now Rory who is in peril. Well written with twists and turns that will take you to the very end questioning whodunnit. Although part of a series, this book certainly stands alone. With enough information to place the cast of characters yet no so much as to be redundant to the series faithful, this book is a very good read and I do recommend it.
Carstairs38 4 months ago
Murder of a Neighbor We are currently having our first real Southern California winter in several years. (Rain!!! Yeah!!!!) Ironically enough, I have selected two books in a row set during summer heat waves. (I had no idea, I swear!) It was certainly fun to enjoy warmer weather vicariously through A Palette for Murder. Because Vista Beach, California, is right on the beach, not everywhere has air conditioning. After all, it’s only a few days a year that things get hot enough to truly need it. However, a heat wave in the small, Los Angeles County community is making residence leave their windows open in the hope that they can cool off a little. A group of thieves in neighboring towns are taking advance of that. And it looks like those burglars have finally hit Vista Beach. One morning Aurora “Rory” Anderson finds her neighbor Willow dead on her kitchen floor. It looks like a robbery gone very wrong, but the police aren’t so certain. In fact, they start looking at Dawn as a suspect. Dawn has been a good friend to Rory and her family, so when Dawn asks for Rory’s help finding the killer, Rory agrees. As she begins to investigate, she learns that Willow had many hidden secrets. But which one of them lead to her murder? The characters in this book are good; we care enough about them to care about the outcome. I’m definitely rooting for Rory to get her love life figured out, and I really enjoy her best friend. I do feel they could be stronger, but that’s not a reason to skip this series. The mystery in this book is very strong. There are so many secrets and twists along the way that my jaw actually dropped a couple of times. I did figure out the killer a bit before Rory did, but I didn’t mind at all since the ride was so delightful. I had a very hard time putting the book down and finished it up in just a couple of days instead of my usual three. Those familiar with the series will know that Rory is a toll painting enthusiast. It continues to color Rory’s world with Willow having taken some classes in addition to being Rory’s neighbor and Dawn being an instructor. I really enjoy this theme since painting isn’t something that pops up in many of the books I read. Watching how the twists of the plot come together for a logical solution makes reading A Palette for Murder a lot of fun. Fans of the series will be delighted to return to Vista Beach. If you are new to Rory’s world, settle in for a good book today. NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.