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Her Sister’s Death by K.L. Murphy 

This riveting murder mystery mesmerized from the first page! 

Val Ritter’s sister, Sylvia, was supposed to be on a business trip but when her body is discovered in the suite on the top floor of the Franklin Hotel, Val is shocked and devastated. The police are convinced she has committed suicide, and any further investigation they conduct is just crossing the Ts and dotting the Is on the paperwork. Val is unconvinced. Sylvia had come so far since separating from her cheating husband and had begun to move on. She’d recently started dating someone new, and although Val didn’t know who he was, she knew Sylvia was happy. 

As a news reporter, Val knew that the family members of suicide victims frequently refused to believe their loved one could take their own life, but still, things weren’t adding up in Sylvia’s case. While researching some of the information she’d received from the detectives investigating Sylvia’s death, Val experiences a temporary emotional breakdown at the library. A kind stranger offers her his clean, dry handkerchief and willing ear, and she tells him what has happened, and all she’s learned since Sylvia’s body was found. 

Terry Martin is a retired Baltimore PD homicide detective who now operates his own security firm in the city. He is sympathetic toward the distraught young woman in the library and provides her a shoulder to cry on and the chance to unburden herself. But when she mentions that her sister died at the Franklin Hotel, he can’t help getting involved in her investigation because he knows this place has a history: a history of death. 

Her Sister’s Death is a riveting tale of murder and deception. I was immediately invested in Val and Terry’s investigation and the flashback story of Bridget Wallace. The author makes the story come alive through three points of view: those of Val, Terry, and Bridget, and I was mesmerized by the telling. 

All three of the main characters are likable protagonists. Val is steadfast in her belief in her sister, dogged pursuit of the truth, and I found her very easy to relate to. She and Terry make engaging and formidable partners, and I liked how quickly they became an effective team. I wouldn’t mind seeing this pair again in a sequel. 

The 1921 storyline was frightening and tragic and all too easy to imagine happening. That poor girl is still so young and is facing a bleak future, even before she understands the true depths of her situation. The interactions with her fiancé and later husband, Lawrence, were almost too painful to read. And for me, there remain the questions: was it something evil inherent in the hotel, or is it the evil spirit of the man that continues to affect the guests of the Franklin, or has the spirit of the man become the spirit of the hotel? 

I recommend HER SISTER’S DEATH for mystery readers who enjoy a touch of the paranormal in their stories, dual timelines, or mysteries set in hotels, the 1920s, or Baltimore. 

I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an Advanced Review Copy from the author through Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours.

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