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The Fine Art of Murder

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Former Police Chief Katherine Sullivan has been called brilliant, brave, compassionate, and quirky, but after decades of crime fighting, this resilient grandmother with an artist’s soul is discovering that retirement can be just as deadly as being on the job. When Katherine returned to her hometown, her only thought was to comfort her recently divorced daughter. That was be Former Police Chief Katherine Sullivan has been called brilliant, brave, compassionate, and quirky, but after decades of crime fighting, this resilient grandmother with an artist’s soul is discovering that retirement can be just as deadly as being on the job. When Katherine returned to her hometown, her only thought was to comfort her recently divorced daughter. That was before a young woman was found murdered on the estate of the town’s richest family. Now, in order to track down the killer, Katherine must uncover the generations of secrets that at least one person as already killed to protect in this charming and smart series debut, The Fine Art of Murder.


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Former Police Chief Katherine Sullivan has been called brilliant, brave, compassionate, and quirky, but after decades of crime fighting, this resilient grandmother with an artist’s soul is discovering that retirement can be just as deadly as being on the job. When Katherine returned to her hometown, her only thought was to comfort her recently divorced daughter. That was be Former Police Chief Katherine Sullivan has been called brilliant, brave, compassionate, and quirky, but after decades of crime fighting, this resilient grandmother with an artist’s soul is discovering that retirement can be just as deadly as being on the job. When Katherine returned to her hometown, her only thought was to comfort her recently divorced daughter. That was before a young woman was found murdered on the estate of the town’s richest family. Now, in order to track down the killer, Katherine must uncover the generations of secrets that at least one person as already killed to protect in this charming and smart series debut, The Fine Art of Murder.

30 review for The Fine Art of Murder

  1. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Dragina

    3.5 stars ~ RTC? Maybe? ^.^

  2. 5 out of 5

    LG (A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions)

    Marking this as a DNF so that I don't forget about it and try to check it out from the library again in the future. I managed to listen to 20 minutes of it before I had enough of the nonstop "these younger generations are so slovenly, ungrateful, whiny, etc." 1. No one dresses nicely for flights anymore. Gosh, some folks even wear pajama bottoms! 2. The teen granddaughter who's glued to her phone, not properly thrilled that her grandmother is visiting, and not visibly happy about the journal she w Marking this as a DNF so that I don't forget about it and try to check it out from the library again in the future. I managed to listen to 20 minutes of it before I had enough of the nonstop "these younger generations are so slovenly, ungrateful, whiny, etc." 1. No one dresses nicely for flights anymore. Gosh, some folks even wear pajama bottoms! 2. The teen granddaughter who's glued to her phone, not properly thrilled that her grandmother is visiting, and not visibly happy about the journal she was just given as a present. 3. The main character's daughter (the mom of the teen) gripes about how her husband doesn't help out, spends ages at work trips and comes back looking happy and rested while she's running herself ragged. According to the main character's private thoughts, this is just how marriages are when you reach a certain point in your life - the woman ends up doing more work, and that's that. 4. Some of the comments about main character's autistic grandson make me think that this aspect will eventually grate as well. I thought I'd be able to wait this all out and then hopefully enjoy the mystery aspect, but no. And the narrator isn't nearly good enough to make up for the stuff that's bugging me.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Recently retired police chief Katherine Sullivan has returned to her home town to see her daughter and grandchildren. When a woman's body is found Katherine is called upon to help using her investigating skills. I enjoyed the setting as have been to some of those places. I like the relationship Katherine has with her grandchildren, especially her way of connecting with her grandson who had Asperger's syndrome. This story drew me in and kept me wanting to turn the pages as I got deeper into the mys Recently retired police chief Katherine Sullivan has returned to her home town to see her daughter and grandchildren. When a woman's body is found Katherine is called upon to help using her investigating skills. I enjoyed the setting as have been to some of those places. I like the relationship Katherine has with her grandchildren, especially her way of connecting with her grandson who had Asperger's syndrome. This story drew me in and kept me wanting to turn the pages as I got deeper into the mystery.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    This is an enjoyable mystery about former police chief Katherine Sullivan. She goes to stay with her daughter and grandchildren and gets involved in a mystery. interesting sidelines about her interactions with her grandchildren really add to the story.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    This book was merely...okay. It's truly a 2.5 star (when is Goodreads going to give us half stars!). Considering this the first book in what apparently is a planned series, I got a decent feel for the main character and the world she inhabits. However, it turns out she wasn't very interesting. Yes, she was the chief of police in her mid-size town, but the way she got the job seemed so easy. At least in the way it was explained. Now she's retired, but running around like she still is the chief of This book was merely...okay. It's truly a 2.5 star (when is Goodreads going to give us half stars!). Considering this the first book in what apparently is a planned series, I got a decent feel for the main character and the world she inhabits. However, it turns out she wasn't very interesting. Yes, she was the chief of police in her mid-size town, but the way she got the job seemed so easy. At least in the way it was explained. Now she's retired, but running around like she still is the chief of police. And everyone still gives her the info she needs and answers her questions like she's still a cop, which is not realistic at all. She also kept saying she was 'old,' she has a daughter in her 30s and grandkids that were pre-teen and teenagers, but her energy levels were misleading. How old is she? I couldn't ever tell and it left me distracted. The mystery wasn't too engaging either. The victim seemed to do a personality switch mid-stream, which is not an honest thing to do to readers. How are you supposed to 'play along' with the detectives when this whole new side of the victim isn't gradually introduced, but sprung on you in a matter of a paragraph. That's no fun. There was also an attempt at the perpetrator being a surprise, but I wasn't engaged enough with any of the suspects to care who actually committed the crime. Plus the reason the crime was committed wasn't strong. The last third of the book seemed jumpy and rushed, like the author suddenly realized a deadline was approaching. I think this book and character would be more interesting if she still was the chief of police, a woman in a field that is still male-dominant. The author also needs to be more fearless in diving into the main character's relationship with the potential love interest--it seemed as if it was there all the time hovering on the side, but not addressed until the book was nearly over, and even then, very lightly. I don't think I'll be furthering my relationship with Katherine Sullivan mysteries. I'm beginning to think the publishing world has a dearth of good editors. Many books I have read lately should could have benefited from one.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lorraine

    I picked up The Fine Art of Murder to just take a look at it when it arrived in the mail. The next thing I knew was I had read about 100 pages. Katharine Sullivan, the main character, is a retired Chief of Police, but that is not what drew me to this book. I truly liked Katharine and the story/mystery. When a new book comes in the mail or I buy one, I immediately begin to look it over: reading the front and back of the book, reading the front flap and the back flap, and looking for any other inf I picked up The Fine Art of Murder to just take a look at it when it arrived in the mail. The next thing I knew was I had read about 100 pages. Katharine Sullivan, the main character, is a retired Chief of Police, but that is not what drew me to this book. I truly liked Katharine and the story/mystery. When a new book comes in the mail or I buy one, I immediately begin to look it over: reading the front and back of the book, reading the front flap and the back flap, and looking for any other information about the book such as family trees, maps, or glossaries. This mystery I just end started to read, and I definitely liked what I read. I had fun. Well done, Ms. Emily Barnes.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Allison Henle

    The overall mystery was OK but not particularly challenging or mysterious. Too many characters for this short a book! I do have one major complaint: the main character confiscates the cell phone from her grand-daughter, EVEN THOUGH it's clearly stated that this is the grand-daughter's only way of contacting her father, who's traveling overseas. This even causes communications problems late in the book. Yet the main character never gets in difficulty for this decision. I spent the entire book wait The overall mystery was OK but not particularly challenging or mysterious. Too many characters for this short a book! I do have one major complaint: the main character confiscates the cell phone from her grand-daughter, EVEN THOUGH it's clearly stated that this is the grand-daughter's only way of contacting her father, who's traveling overseas. This even causes communications problems late in the book. Yet the main character never gets in difficulty for this decision. I spent the entire book waiting for somebody to really call her out.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dave Hoff

    A refreshing break from heavy reading. A who-done-it, that can be recommended to any age. Retired Edina Police Chief, works the murder case as a PI. Confusing end, or is it just me...

  9. 4 out of 5

    Terri

    I really enjoyed the characters in this book. Very interesting interactions between characters and well developed scenes. Look forward to reading the next book in the series.

  10. 5 out of 5

    DelAnne Frazee

    Title: The Fine Art of Murder - Katherine Sullivan Mystery Book 1 Author: Emily Barnes Published: 2-9-16 Publisher: Crooked Line Books Pages: 304 Genre: Mystery, Thrillers & Suspense Sub Genre: Women Sleuths; Police Procedures; Cozy Mystery ISBN: 9781629534770 ASIN: B01A5VHDI0 Reviewer: DelAnne Reviewed For: NetGalley . Katherine Sullivan recently retired from her position as chief of police and returned to her home town and taken up a paint brush instead of a gun in her new career as an artist. When a y Title: The Fine Art of Murder - Katherine Sullivan Mystery Book 1 Author: Emily Barnes Published: 2-9-16 Publisher: Crooked Line Books Pages: 304 Genre: Mystery, Thrillers & Suspense Sub Genre: Women Sleuths; Police Procedures; Cozy Mystery ISBN: 9781629534770 ASIN: B01A5VHDI0 Reviewer: DelAnne Reviewed For: NetGalley . Katherine Sullivan recently retired from her position as chief of police and returned to her home town and taken up a paint brush instead of a gun in her new career as an artist. When a young woman's body is found Katherine finds the skills of her previous profession and called into play. As she investigates secrets long buried Katherine find herself chasing a killer who is not afraid to remove anything or anyone who threats to dig up those secrets. Can Katherine bring the killer to justice before he makes sure she retires permanently. Katherine Sullivan shows us that no matter what our age it is never too late to start over in a new career. Nor is any talent or information learned wasted. She is a strong woman close to her family and not afraid to seek the truth or get justice for victims unable to seek it for themselves. Her feisty personally and bulldog determination make her a character that you will enjoy visiting time and again. Emily Barnes has woven a story that will keep you glued to the pages as you work our way through the maze of clues and events until the climatic end. Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01A... Barnes and Noble link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-f... Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2... The Reading Room link: https://www.facebook.com/The-Reading-...#

  11. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    I wasn't as intrigued by this book as I thought I would be. During one of my reading updates I mentioned how the book was a little slow and boring but since it was a first book I was still going to keep reading. I did , keep reading that is, and it was still a bit slow. On the bright side it was an easy read so i wasn't slogging through words and chapters straining to finish. But I'm left with a feeling of meh after completing this. It's not a bad book per-se but I've read better. Katherine Sull I wasn't as intrigued by this book as I thought I would be. During one of my reading updates I mentioned how the book was a little slow and boring but since it was a first book I was still going to keep reading. I did , keep reading that is, and it was still a bit slow. On the bright side it was an easy read so i wasn't slogging through words and chapters straining to finish. But I'm left with a feeling of meh after completing this. It's not a bad book per-se but I've read better. Katherine Sullivan was the main character and at first I was excited she's a former police chief she knows what she's doing when she solving crimes, but as time went on I started quirking an eyebrow at her. I get it she may be older but there's being independent and being stupid. You do not go into a potentially dangerous situation alone. You bring back up, as a former officer and chief she should know that. I get it she can take care of herself, but life is freak'n unpredictable even the people who are most able to take care of themselves can get hurt and killed. For such and intelligent woman she was being stupid about it. However I did enjoy her interactions with her daughter and grandchildren. The way she handled each one was very well thought out and I enjoyed the various interactions. Seriously I think more teenagers should get their cell phones taken away for an extended period of time. They'll survive. The mystery was alright, not mind blowing, not an on the edge of your seat thriller type, but more a slow pace. which matches with Kathy's more advanced age i'm guessing. Still by the end of it was I wasn't feeling any strong emotions about who the killer was. I wasn't feeling any strong emotions in this book period. Anyway this was a nice book but, not something that's gotten me interested in reading the rest of the series. In this case I would recommend borrowing the book first before buying just in case it leaves you feeling meh like myself.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dianne Landry

    Katherine Sullivan is the retired chief of police for Edina Minnesota. She's moved away but is visiting to be with her daughter, Lizzie, as she goes through her divorce. I, personally, fell in love with Katherine when, on her first night, she confiscated her thirteen year old granddaughter's cell phone during dinner and said she would only get it back when she leaves. While in town a young woman is murdered out at Buckhorn Manor, home of the Pierce family, the richest family in town. The prime su Katherine Sullivan is the retired chief of police for Edina Minnesota. She's moved away but is visiting to be with her daughter, Lizzie, as she goes through her divorce. I, personally, fell in love with Katherine when, on her first night, she confiscated her thirteen year old granddaughter's cell phone during dinner and said she would only get it back when she leaves. While in town a young woman is murdered out at Buckhorn Manor, home of the Pierce family, the richest family in town. The prime suspect is Randolph Pierce, former town bad boy and Lizzie's current boyfriend, something Kate doesn't find out until after his arrest. Lizzie is also his lawyer and she asks her mom to investigate the murder. With the help of her old friend, Nathan, and his motley staff of private investigators things start to come together. Throw in an eccentric old aunt, a muscle bound hulk and a suave Frenchman and you have all the workings of a fun mystery. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more in the series.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Staci

    *I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways* This is an okay mystery although I'm still slightly confused at the end (Who all did what?) but it's not scary or intensely gripping. I suppose it would fall closer to "cozy" mysteries, especially considering the main character is a grandmother who paints, but it's not quite that either, it's sort of in the middle. Not scary but not simple, you may or may not be able to guess who did it but not right away. *I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways* This is an okay mystery although I'm still slightly confused at the end (Who all did what?) but it's not scary or intensely gripping. I suppose it would fall closer to "cozy" mysteries, especially considering the main character is a grandmother who paints, but it's not quite that either, it's sort of in the middle. Not scary but not simple, you may or may not be able to guess who did it but not right away.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    Enjoyable mystery with interesting characters and setting.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Veronica Crain

    I liked this book and hope she writes more-strong woman!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nancyduffy13

    Run of the mill detective story. The best part was the bonding between the Cameron, the autistic grandson and Catherine, his grandmother.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Marilyn

    First in a new series. Former Police Chief Katherine Sullivan has returned to visit her daughter and grandchildren. While there, a young woman is found murdered in a local mansion. Katherine had met the woman just recently at an art gallery where Miss Stacey Jordan worked. There have long been rumors in town about hidden art in the mansion. Are those rumors about a missing Klimt true? Was the murder committed by a thief or was Miss Jordan targeted? The Pierce Mansion is soon to be turned over to First in a new series. Former Police Chief Katherine Sullivan has returned to visit her daughter and grandchildren. While there, a young woman is found murdered in a local mansion. Katherine had met the woman just recently at an art gallery where Miss Stacey Jordan worked. There have long been rumors in town about hidden art in the mansion. Are those rumors about a missing Klimt true? Was the murder committed by a thief or was Miss Jordan targeted? The Pierce Mansion is soon to be turned over to the state, but an elderly female relative of the family is not happy about this. Katherine teams up with her late husband's partner to solve the murder and investigate the rumors about hidden art. He has retired from the police force as well and has his own security company with an interesting group of variously talented employees.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    This wasn't for me. I was very bored by all the family drama that pervaded the early chapters of the book. I get that cozy mysteries all have a theme, and that some description or explanation of that theme is part of the fun. This book's theme seemed to be either "bratty kid behaving badly" and/or "family dramas/angst being talked about ad nauseum". I wasn't quite sure which it was supposed to be, but by the end of chapter six the only thing I had learned about Katherine and her family was that I This wasn't for me. I was very bored by all the family drama that pervaded the early chapters of the book. I get that cozy mysteries all have a theme, and that some description or explanation of that theme is part of the fun. This book's theme seemed to be either "bratty kid behaving badly" and/or "family dramas/angst being talked about ad nauseum". I wasn't quite sure which it was supposed to be, but by the end of chapter six the only thing I had learned about Katherine and her family was that I didn't want to hear any more about Katherine and her family. This was just a bad fit for me. It didn't hold my interest and I didn't feel any connection to any of the characters. I'm moving on.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Toby

    A fairly solid debut novel. There was more family drama than in a lot of cozy mysteries, but I actually enjoyed it — I felt as though Barnes was setting the scene for the remainder of the series. The writing was relaxing and the plot not overly complicated yet carried out gracefully (for the most part). There were a few places that I found clunky and where I was unable to maintain full suspension of disbelief. But overall, a good first entry in a new mystery series.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Gintner

    First book in the series and I did enjoy it! She is a former police chief & widow. Her husband died in the line of duty. She comes back to visit her daughter & ends up embroiled in a murder investigation. You know how some books dilly-dally around and put in TONS of descriptions & other stuff to drag out the story so you have to wait to find out the ending? Not this book! It's straightforward but not rushed and pretty enjoyable. Looking forward to book #2! First book in the series and I did enjoy it! She is a former police chief & widow. Her husband died in the line of duty. She comes back to visit her daughter & ends up embroiled in a murder investigation. You know how some books dilly-dally around and put in TONS of descriptions & other stuff to drag out the story so you have to wait to find out the ending? Not this book! It's straightforward but not rushed and pretty enjoyable. Looking forward to book #2!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Libraryassistant

    I got this one to listen to when I exercise, what a talented reading! That being said I really wasn't sure I would like it for the first couple of chapters. Katherine really grew on me after that though, and some of the other characters-- and her relationship with them-- were finely drawn. Ultimately it did what it was supposed to: make me want to work out so I could hear what happened next! I got this one to listen to when I exercise, what a talented reading! That being said I really wasn't sure I would like it for the first couple of chapters. Katherine really grew on me after that though, and some of the other characters-- and her relationship with them-- were finely drawn. Ultimately it did what it was supposed to: make me want to work out so I could hear what happened next!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This was an enjoyable listen at 1.4 speed, otherwise much too slow. The characters were likable but not quirky and memorable, and it was a little too preachy/opinionated. I liked the background of a retired police chief/grandmother, but was expecting to learn a lot more about art. I may listen to another for walking, but wouldn't pick it up to read. This was an enjoyable listen at 1.4 speed, otherwise much too slow. The characters were likable but not quirky and memorable, and it was a little too preachy/opinionated. I liked the background of a retired police chief/grandmother, but was expecting to learn a lot more about art. I may listen to another for walking, but wouldn't pick it up to read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    N

    (Sampled.) Nope'd out of this one when it became apparent the author doesn't know the difference between Cubism, Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism. And it's a novel about art! Yiiiiikes. Also, all the dialogue seems to consist of exposition anvils dropped from a great height. No one talks like this! (Sampled.) Nope'd out of this one when it became apparent the author doesn't know the difference between Cubism, Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism. And it's a novel about art! Yiiiiikes. Also, all the dialogue seems to consist of exposition anvils dropped from a great height. No one talks like this!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Brame

    This is what I would call an attempt at a “cozy” mystery. I found it boring. There was almost no character development. The dialogue was stilted. Chunks of action were explained in one sentence—or not explained at all. I had to check to be sure I wasn’t reading an abridged version. Not my cup of tea.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

    Listened to the audio version of book and enjoyed the story. Nothing exciting about the plot. Don't think the book would have maintained my interest but this audio was entertaining because of the fine reading by narrator. Listened to the audio version of book and enjoyed the story. Nothing exciting about the plot. Don't think the book would have maintained my interest but this audio was entertaining because of the fine reading by narrator.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    A pleasant story for when you need a break from the heavier stuff. Katherine's family is kind of boring, but the odd group she teams up with during the case are a fun group. I'm hoping the series doesn't go downhill as fast as so many series do, with the character's quirks just becoming annoying. A pleasant story for when you need a break from the heavier stuff. Katherine's family is kind of boring, but the odd group she teams up with during the case are a fun group. I'm hoping the series doesn't go downhill as fast as so many series do, with the character's quirks just becoming annoying.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Pat

    Did not enjoy this book at all. The plot seems contrived. The characters actions are not believable... such as a grandma taking a granddaughter's cell phone away and the granddaughter did not put up much of a protest. Did not enjoy this book at all. The plot seems contrived. The characters actions are not believable... such as a grandma taking a granddaughter's cell phone away and the granddaughter did not put up much of a protest.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    This was a pretty forgettable book. I can't believe the way the MC abused her former position as chief of police to question people. She had No authority. The ending was just out of nowhere and there was never any doubt about the identity of the murderer or the motive. Kind of a waste of time. This was a pretty forgettable book. I can't believe the way the MC abused her former position as chief of police to question people. She had No authority. The ending was just out of nowhere and there was never any doubt about the identity of the murderer or the motive. Kind of a waste of time.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ulana

    I enjoyed this book about a retired lady police captain working on solving a murder involving a missing painting.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ada

    The main character is really cool. It was interesting reading a murder mystery with the sleuth being a retired cop. Added an interesting element to the book.

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