If you haven’t given The Seacastle Mysteries a try, now is as good a time as any to jump in! I understand they can be read as standalones. I’ll admit, I never personally suggest this – because if you can read the first four why wouldn’t you? But if for some reason, you’ve been given the fifth one and can’t read the other four, here are my thoughts on it.

If you’d prefer to start at the beginning:
Deadly Return (Book 1) Review
Eternal Forest (Book 2) Review
Fatal Tribute (Book 3) Review
Toxic Vows (Book 4) Review

About the Book

Does an ancient coven hold the key to solving a murder?

Few tears are shed when the unpopular manager of the annual Seacastle Vintage Fair meets a sinister end. But local sleuth Tanya Bowe is thrust into the heart of the investigation when her friend, Grace Wong, finds herself under scrutiny for the murder.

When Tanya’s investigation uncovers a suspicious death in the same family, all bets are off. She navigates dark undercurrents of greed and betrayal as she uncovers a labyrinth of potential suspects associated with an ancient coven. Nothing is as it seems, and every clue adds extra complications. To solve the case, Tanya must answer one main question.

Did someone hate the victim enough to kill her, or was greed the stronger motive?

In this captivating British small-town cozy mystery, a maze of potential suspects, each with their own motives and secrets, will keep you guessing until the very end.

If you relish seaside settings, intricate mysteries, and a touch of wit, secure your copy now and join Tanya on her quest to unravel the truth.

My Thoughts

PJ Skinner is spoiling us! The fifth installment of her Seacastle Mysteries is as good as the first four, if not better! And I just realized it hasn’t even been a year since the first book – Deadly Return – was published! Paint this writer green with envy! To publish five delightful cozy mysteries in one year? Legendary status!! Cozies and thrillers are my favorite genres, as most of you know, and Ms. Skinner has well-established herself as one of my top authors!

Tanya, our FMC, is delightful, clever, and feisty, but her diverse, quirky cast of small-town supporting characters shines as is frequently the case in cozy crime. They bring such life and texture to the story and enrich Tanya’s life – even if they cause her difficulty along the way. Tanya’s cast of characters include her two best friends, her lovely beau, her cop ex-husband, her incredibly loveable stepson, Mouse, and other acquaintances who always keep her on her toes.

This time around, our mystery involved some new faces, as well as some previously lesser explored characters – Grace and Max – Tanya’s sort of competitors in the antiques business. I say sort of because they sell much more expensive things than she can afford and she frequently passes those more expensive items on to them. They team up for an antiques fair run by a racist woman who won’t let the British-Asian couple in by themselves, but she gets her comeuppance during the fair. It’s nice to see the author explore this very real issue of xenophobia that has recently resurged during the Brexit era.

While delving into murder, magic, and mystery, Tanya also deals with the very real issues of love and remarriage – will she or won’t she – and her stepson’s seeming return to destructive behaviors with a bad crowd. All in a day’s work for our antiques-dealing ex-journalist.

Who’s It For?

If you love cozy mysteries full of loveable characters, murder that seems almost beside the point, low-stakes love triangles, and strong female leads, this is the series for you. I’d start with the first book, which is Deadly Returns. You could theoretically read them as a standalone, but I think you would lose a lot of context reading them that way, but others don’t agree. I’m an old-school completionist who hates to read out of order! But Skinner provides plenty of context. I do think you miss out on some of the loveable character background and setting, though.

Content Warnings: Death, Religious Ideology, Alcohol Abuse, Drug Abuse, Rituals, Mention of Divorce, Child Harm (Off Page), Murder, Violence, Adult Language, Parent Death, Betrayal, Overt Racism/Bigotry/Xenophobia

Question of the Day

Have you ever been barred for something because of your heritage?

About the Author

PJ Skinner is a geologist who has spent thirty years roaming the planet and collecting tall tales and real-life experiences. Most of her postings were in remote and dangerous sites which provide background settings for her novels. She now writes fact-based novels from the relative safety of London. She still travels worldwide collecting material for the series and having her own adventures.


As a Bookshop.org (US) Affiliate, I may earn on qualifying purchases. Bookshop.org purchases support local, independent bookshops. My chosen affiliate bookshop is Tubby & Coo’s Traveling Bookshop, a local, queer-owned bookshop in New Orleans.