Murder at the Marina by Janet Finsilver – Guest Post

Synopsis: She’s got to solve this—or her friends are sunk . . .

Kelly Jackson, manager of the Redwood Cove Bed and Breakfast, is fond of the Doblinsky brothers, Ivan and Rudy, members of the Silver Sentinels, a crew of crime-solving senior citizens in their Northern California seaside hamlet. After she discovers a jewel-encrusted dagger—with what appears to be dried blood on the blade—on their fishing boat, they share their family history with Kelly, and she learns that the knife may be part of a set from their long-ago childhood in Russia. Its sudden reappearance is eerie, but the mystery grows much more serious when a body is found on the boat. The victim was staying at Kelly’s inn, in town for a Russian Heritage Festival, and some of the organizers were clearly harboring some bitterness. But the story behind this murder seems as layered as a nesting doll—and Kelly’s feeling completely at sea . . .

When first a bloody knife is found on her friends’ boat, and later a dead body, Kelly decides to enlist the help of the Silver Sentinels to investigate and clear their names.

I really enjoy both the cozy setting and the likable characters in this series. The story in this installment has a Russian theme and there is some interesting background that just adds to the intrigue. A great plot and characters I was really invested in made this one hard to put down.

Murder at the Marina is book #5 in the Kelly Jackson mystery series, but can easily be read as a standalone.

Please join me in welcoming Janet Finsilver, the author of Murder at the Marina, to The Book’s the Thing!


Deciding on Location


Janet Finsilver

I attended a writing conference where the topic of whether to use fictional places or real ones was discussed on two different panels. When I started Murder in Redwood Cove, my first book, I wanted it to be set in the tourist town of Mendocino, located on the coast of northern California. The idea of using real places such as restaurants, coffee shops, and inns appealed to me, and I thought it would be fun to list them at the end of the book. I wanted to create something of a travel guide. I liked the idea of encouraging people to visit the town for their own enjoyment as well as helping the community’s businesses.

At the conference some authors pointed out that problems could occur using real areas. If the murderer happened to look like a local resident and possibly had the same profession, the person might be upset about what looked like a connection. If foul play took place during an event or at an existing hotel, issues might arise.

The turning point for me was when one person talked about the experience a writer friend had had. A reviewer said the author had gotten a street wrong. In reality she hadn’t, but one of the things writers are warned about is not getting into a debate on social media. The author decided to live with the comment and make no response. It was an uncomfortable choice to make, letting people think she’d made a mistake.

For these and other reasons, I decided to create the fictional town of Redwood Cove. However, anyone familiar with Mendocino will know that’s where my books take place. I’m very glad about the choice I made. I’ve been able to make the Redwood Cove Airport much more frightening than the actual one in Mendocino by putting a cliff at the end of the runway. I “picked up” a festival that takes place in another town and moved it to Redwood Cove.

The examples above are just two of the many times I’ve “shaped” my own town. For me making the decision to not base my books on a real place has given me many more creative opportunities. If I don’t like something in the real town, I just change it.

With the wave of a wand, or in my case the markings of a pen, I can make the storybook town of Redwood Cove come alive for people in a way I feel contributes to the books. I hope you’ll come and visit Redwood Cove!


About the Author

Janet Finsilver is the USA TODAY bestselling author of the Kelly Jackson mystery series. She worked in education for many years as a teacher, a program administrator, and a workshop presenter. Janet majored in English and earned a Master’s Degree in Education. She loves animals and has two dogs–Kylie and Ellie. Janet has ridden western style since she was a child and was a member of the National Ski Patrol. One of the highlights of her life was touching whales in the San Ignacio Lagoon. MURDER AT REDWOOD COVE, her debut mystery, was released on October 13, 2015. Her second book, MURDER AT THE MANSION, was released on June 7, 2016. Book 3, MURDER AT THE FORTUNE TELLER’S TABLE was released on March 14, 2017.

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