The Secret Staircase review

This is the third and final book in the Victorian Village by Sheila Connolly. It was finished out by her daughter Julie Williams and is being published posthumously on August 24, 2021. I was so sad when Sheila passed last April after having read numerous blog posts by and about her. I’d just been getting started reading her other cozies once I’d read the first two Victorian Village and became a fan of her writing. Since she wrote quite a few books, I know I’ll have lots of happy reading for a long time.

Edith Maxwell, another of my favorite writers was gracious enough to let me use her quote from the Jungle Red Writers’ blog on June 10: “Sheila Connolly’s daughter, Julie Williams, did extensive edits on her mom’s last book (The Secret Staircase is out in August!), and wrote the Author’s Note. I think Sheila might have completed the first draft but it was pretty rough. I don’t think Julie expected to have to do that work, but I got to read an ARC and she did a fabulous job.”

Thanks so much for letting me use your quote, Edith! I’ve included the link for the blog post so anyone who wants to read the whole thing and other comments can do so.

My Goodreads review:

The Secret Staircase (Victorian Village Mysteries Book 3)The Secret Staircase by Sheila Connolly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this final book in the series as well as the final book that author Sheila Connolly ever worked on before her death last year. I’d read that her daughter finished the book for her, but it was very seamless to me and was just as if Sheila herself was writing every word. In other words, I think her daughter did an excellent job with however much or little she found she needed to do. I would never have known had I not seen a comment on a blog about this.

I was glad to see that Kate and the town were making some good headway with the Barton mansion. The body that was found was an unexpected small delay, but later some other findings would hopefully lead to who this was and why the person was hidden there. I hadn’t guessed the killer of the present day murder, and I loved the flash forward to Christmastime for the end of the book.

I have no idea if this was truly supposed to be the last book, but Sheila and her daughter did a great job of wrapping things up and giving the characters and storyline a good closure. I’ll miss seeing anything new from Sheila Connolly, but since I’d only recently started reading her work (meaning this series is the first of her writing I ever read before I read the first Orchard and first County Cork), I have tons of great reading ahead of me!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own. This book releases August 24, 2021.

View all my reviews

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