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Three May Keep a Secret (Endurance Mysteries #1)

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  42 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Grace Kimball, recently retired teacher in the small town of Endurance, is haunted by a dark, past event, an experience so terrifying she has never been able to put it behind her.

When a shoddy journalist, Brenda Norris, is murdered in a suspicious fire, Grace is hired by Jeff Maitlin to fill in for Brenda, researching the town's history. Unfortunately, that past has dark s
Hardcover, 244 pages
Published December 1st 2014 by Five Star (ME) (first published November 19th 2014)
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James Jackson
Nov 22, 2014 James Jackson rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, mystery-cozy
Three May Keep a Secret is a cozy mystery debut from Susan Van Kirk. Bring Jessica Fletcher to Endurance, Illinois, have her teach English so she knows everyone in town (and remembers what they were like as teenagers), and you’ve created the remarkable Grace Kimball. While Endurance (pop. 15,000) is much larger than Cabot Cove, they share the small town setting where everyone knows what everyone else is doing—except when they are keeping secrets. And as the title reminds us, “Three May Keep a Se ...more
Apr 25, 2015 Susan rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-illinois
Newly retired high school teacher Grace Kimball agrees to write a book review column for the local paper. When a former colleague of hers is killed in a fire, it brings back ghosts from Grace's past, but she steps in to write a story about the 175th anniversary of their small town. The dead woman had picked three cold cases to use in her story, but apparently the cases aren't all as cold as they should be--or why would Grace find herself prisoner of a dangerous sociopath? An excellent debut; I ...more
D.J. Adamson
“Nothing gets past you, Miss Marple, does it?”
-Agatha Christie’s Murder at the Vicarage

Susan Van Kirk’s first Endurance Mystery offers a small town retired teacher who is haunted by a past experience and needs to face the event all over again in this well structured novel. You can’t help but like Grace Kimball as she ferrets out blackmail, lies and secrets.
While Ms. Van Kirk may not be an Agatha Christie, her talent of developing a meaningful, enduring character is nicely accomplished.
Gail Baugniet
Nov 25, 2016 Gail Baugniet rated it really liked it
Are There Any Kept Secrets in a Small Town?

Because I grew up in a town two-thirds the size of Susan Van Kirk's Endurance, it was easy to relate to everyone's knowing the next person's business. The "cozy" aspect of this novel is what kept me reading. I wouldn't want to imagine relatives and friends as blood-thirsty murder suspects. Grace's career as a school teacher lent credibility to the unfolding plot and the mystery's solution. A satisfying ending always has me looking toward the next instal
Pam Manley
May 21, 2015 Pam Manley rated it really liked it
When I learned that one of my high school teachers wrote a mystery novel, I just had to read it. After all, how could I pass up the opportunity to return the favor of critiquing her work? I wasn't surprised that it was good. It was fun reading a novel set in a fictional town that was based on my hometown. In fact, I laughed on the first page of the first chapter when she described the town square as "more of a circle than a square." I've been describing it that way to people for years.

Mrs. Van K
Amy Mckee
I received this book through goodreads first-reads

I have incredibly mixed feelings about this books, most of which probably come from the fact that I'm 16 and not exactly the target audience but the purpose of a review is to explain said mixed feelings so here we go.

First of all I loved the characters, especially TJ, they were well developed and interesting, they all had there own individual personalities which sounds obvious but is so rare so that was great!

I also loved the ending, it was
Oct 15, 2015 Jane rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, series, cozy, illinois
I enjoyed the west central Illinois setting of Three May Keep a Secret, and it was refreshing to have a middle-aged protagonist. While often clichéd, the book is well plotted. I guessed one of the mystery’s secrets very early on, and Grace behaves in a very foolish manner toward the end. But the characters are good – including a black female detective – and that’s what most cozy series rely on to keep readers coming back.

The main character, Grace, is a retired high school teacher, and her thoug
Dec 29, 2014 Stefanie rated it it was amazing
The book started a bit slow for me, as cozy mysteries often do, but sped up and left me second guessing myself.

There is a 2 part mystery about the killer, and the first part I solved (so I thought) early on and was correct. The second part, the "who" was more perplexing for me. I dismissed the actual killer after feeling confident s/he didn't do it, and moved to another person after flipping back and connecting some dots, one being a red herring. My guess and then dismissal of the actual killer
Read  Ribbet
Feb 15, 2015 Read Ribbet rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-titles
Since the book is written by a wonderful retired long time English teacher in a small Illinois town, Three May Keep a Secret perfectly captures the setting and main character Grace Kimball. This is the first of at least three Endurance Mysteries featuring Grace Kimball who finds herself in the middle of a crime involving an old acquaintance. The mystery unfolds engaging the reader in trying to solve the crime along with characters. Plotted strategically with wonderful asides as this retired ...more
Dec 29, 2014 Paula rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
Susan VanKirk introduces a smart likeable heroine, a newly-retired teacher turn amatuer sleuth, who is perfectly positioned to give the reader quirky inside information on the characters that populate this seemingly safe small town, akin to a Midwestern Saint Mary Meade, where human nature takes its course and even the people you think you know, hide terrible secrets. Though it is a quickly-moving mystery, the details in the writing give a strong sense of the town and its inhabitants -- it's ...more
Debbie Dingman
Jan 03, 2015 Debbie Dingman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic book

Three May Keep A Secret was a quick read that I couldn't put down. The characters were well developed and the descriptions were so vivid I felt I was right there in the middle of the murder mystery. I can't wait for the sequel to find out what Grace does next.
May 07, 2015 Leigh rated it really liked it
Great cozy mystery. I thought I had figured it out, but actually had it wrong! Likeable characters.
Mar 22, 2015 Betty added it
AWESOME! Well done for a debut mystery because it kept me guessing up to the last. Looking forward to the next one.
Mar 14, 2015 Terri rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
Didn't like much. Took me a week to read. The writing is awkward and doesn't flow. Just not interesting.
Rhonda LeFebvre
Good read.

This is a story one can relate today about a small Midwest town. Wish we had gotten today know the two young boys better.
Cd Rodden
Cd Rodden rated it liked it
Feb 08, 2015
mr m p kirwan
mr m p kirwan rated it liked it
Jul 25, 2016
Amy Sawyn
Amy Sawyn rated it liked it
Jul 06, 2015
Aug 19, 2016 Lori rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
An enjoyable Mystery/Cozy Mystery somewhat similar to Louise Penny's style of writing.
D.J. Adamson
D.J. Adamson rated it really liked it
Dec 07, 2014
James Lynam
James Lynam rated it it was amazing
Nov 14, 2014
Paula Adams
Paula Adams rated it really liked it
Mar 03, 2015
Jeanne rated it really liked it
Feb 21, 2016
Janelle rated it it was ok
May 24, 2015
Karen Wingate
Karen Wingate rated it liked it
Dec 03, 2016
Susan rated it it was amazing
Mar 03, 2015
Mary Gehring
Mary Gehring rated it liked it
May 04, 2016
Ann Behan
Ann Behan rated it did not like it
Sep 21, 2016
Ann G
Ann G rated it liked it
Feb 06, 2015
tammytery rated it it was ok
Mar 25, 2015
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Susan Van Kirk was born in Galesburg, Illinois, and educated at Knox College (BA) and University of Illinois (M.Ed). She taught for thirty-four years at Monmouth High School in Monmouth, Illinois,(1968-2002), and an additional ten years at Monmouth College (2002-2012.)

Her story, “War and Remembrance,” was published in Teacher Magazine in March/April 2006. She wrote a memoir of her teaching life in
More about Susan VanKirk...

Other Books in the Series

Endurance Mysteries (2 books)
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