Saturday, August 8, 2015

Today I'm doing a return spotlight on author

Susan Bernhardt is an author living in Wisconsin. Like Kay Driscoll in her cozy mysteries, The Ginseng Conspiracy and Murder Under the Tree, Susan is a retired public health nurse who volunteers at her local free clinic. An avid reader of mysteries, she is a member of Sisters in Crime, Inc. She is also a member of the Wisconsin Writers Association. Her other published works include "October 31st", "Midsummer", and "John and Madeline".

Susan Bernhardt is a "Featured Wisconsin Author" in the Wisconsin Author Review Magazine and The Ginseng Conspiracy is a "Featured Wisconsin Book."

Susan's town in northern Wisconsin was an inspiration for the quaint setting of her novel. She lives with her husband, William, and has two sons, Peter and David, and lovely daughters-in-law, Ashley and Nicole.

When not writing, Susan loves to travel, bicycle, kayak, and create culinary magic in her kitchen. She works in stained-glass, daydreams in her organic garden, stays up late reading mysteries, and eats lots of chocolate.

Book 1 in the Kay Driscoll Mystery series

On her way to attend a Halloween Ball, Kay Driscoll, a newcomer to town, witnesses the murder of a local professor. When the official coroner's report rules the cause of death to be accidental and the community accepts the judgement, Kay decides to uncover the truth for herself. Through her personal investigations, Kay exposes a complex conspiracy, woven deep within the thriving local ginseng industry, that involves some of the more prominent figures and families of Sudbury Falls. 

With her new friends, the free-spirited herbalist Deirdre and the untamed modern woman Elizabeth, Kay discusses new clues over tea and pastries at Sweet Marissa's Patisserie, their crime-fighting headquarters. As Kay gets closer to the heart of the conspiracy, additional murders happen in quick succession. Before long, Kay learns that the villains are gunning for her, too. Phil, her musically talented but preoccupied husband, determined to keep her safe, withholds from her the one thing she needs most: the truth.

My Review

THE GINSENG CONSPIRACY is my first book by author Susan Bernhardt, but won't be my last. 

I instantly liked lead character, Kay Driscoll. I found her very enjoyable. Her friends Elizabeth and Deidre are great opposites that were perfect companions for Kay. As was Marissa who is owner of Sweet Marissa's Patisserie, where the women can often be found.

The mystery started soon into the story and just continued to grow and build until the amazing reveal. Author Susan Bernhardt delivered an ending that completely surprised me! 

Ms. Bernhardt has a fluid way with descriptions. I felt very much a part of the story as I read. I found myself wanting to spend a lot of time in Sweet Marrisa's Patisserie. I totally need a place like that where I live!

This story is set in fall around the Halloween season. However, be assured, you can read and enjoy this book anytime of the year. 

If you enjoy fast paced mysteries with plenty of twists and turns, relatable characters that you want to visit with again, and witty writing that will win you over, pick up a copy of THE GINSENG CONSPIRACY

Now in the perfect time to pick up a copy of THE GINSENG CONSPIRACY. It has been reduced in price to just $3.95 for Kindle and Nook! 

Book 2 in the Kay Driscoll Mystery series

While Kay attends a Christmas tea at Hawthorne Hills Retirement Home, a beloved caretaker dies from an allergic reaction to peanuts. When the official coroner's report rules the cause of death to be accidental, a small group of residents suspect foul play and call upon Kay to investigate. 

Kay uncovers sinister plots of fraud, revenge, and corruption at the Home. During this season of peace on earth, good will to men, additional murders occur. Despite multiple attempts on her life, and with the support once again of her best friends, Elizabeth and Deirdre, Kay continues her quest for bringing justice for the victims. Kay's first Christmas in Sudbury Falls is an unforgettable one, with equal amounts of celebration and danger. Tis the season to be sleuthing!


MURDER UNDER THE TREE is a great second story in the Kay Driscoll Mystery series.

I saw much growth in the writing from the first book (which I loved). Author Susan Bernhardt has really developed the characters and has a great way with descriptions. My favorite parts were in Sweet Marissa’s Patisserie. Oh my goodness, I could smell all the goodies as I was reading.

As with THE GINSENG CONSPIRACY, Book 1 in the series, the mystery starts just a few pages into the book. The story takes off quickly and keeps an invigorating pace right up to its dramatic conclusion. I was kept guessing through the whole book.   

I look forward to my next visit to Sudbury Falls, Wisconsin. I can’t wait to see what Kay Driscoll gets herself into next!

MURDER UNDER THE TREE does take place during the Christmas season and goes through into January. Please, don’t let that stop you from reading it right away! This is a wonderful mystery for ANY time of the year!

is available for both Nook and Kindle

Susan's Q&A

What is your favorite book?

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon 

You enjoy traveling. What is your favorite destination?
London, England. 

What is your favorite food?
Thai dishes. 

A phrase that you use much too often?
That's the way it goes. 

What is your philosophy?
Success is 90% determination
( I lifted the Q&A from Susan's website)

I can't say enough good things about Susan. She's a wonderful author and a sweet person to know.  
You can see for yourself by Liking Susan's FB author page....

.... and following Susan on Twitter

Also, sign Susan's guest book on her website and tell her you heard about her from Lisa K! 

As always, please leave a comment and 
let me know what you think!

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clicking on the link in the 
upper right hand corner of this page.


  1. Lisa, thank you for having me on your Author Spotlight today. It is a real honor being here. I love your site.

    We are leaving soon to visit our little grandson. If any of your readers have comments, I will respond to each this evening.

    Have a great day, everyone! :)


  2. I loved reading through this spotlight.
    We are reading The Ginseng Conspiracy in October, for our group read. Looking forward to reading the next one. Thanks Lisa for doing this.
    Lisa Morin

    1. Thank you,k Lisa, for visiting the Author Spotlight today and also for the opportunity to be on your Cozy Mystery Book Society this Fall. I'm looking forward to The Ginseng Conspiracy group discussion. :)

  3. Thanks, Lisa! What do I like more than a cozy mystery...a Christmas cozy mystery! :)

    1. Thank you, Patricia T. for visiting today. I love Christmas cozies also. Actually I love holiday mysteries period. Murder Under the Tree (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 2) is a Christmas cozy. Murder by Fireworks (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 3) is coming out this Fall and occurs in the summer, June and around the Fourth of July. :)

  4. Intriguing spotlight - it appears Kay's first mystery is accidental, but the second, within but a couple months (autumn to winter) is not ~ I look forward to reading both these adventures, and will there be another 'season' of mystery to come ^_^

  5. Thank you kate2world for you visiting and your great comment. The Ginseng Conspiracy is a Halloween mystery, Murder Under the Tree is a Christmas mystery. This Fall a third Kay Driscoll mystery will be published, Murder by Fireworks. It is a summer mystery and takes place around the Fourth of July. :)

  6. Thanks for the reviews, the books sound great! I love holiday themed books!

    1. Thanks Elaine for your great comment. I love holiday themed mysteries also! :)