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The Secret Staircase (Wendover House Mystery #1)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  137 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
A strange inheritance leads Tess MacKay to an island in Maine. In her unknown relative's ancient house, she discovers that the sins of the past are very much alive and able to be visited on the children. Smugglers and pirates and an old curse are not just things of the past, but dangers and mysteries to be reckoned with today.
Kindle Edition, 111 pages
Published October 12th 2011 by Brian Jackson (first published September 29th 2011)
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Frederick Brooke
Jan 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is masterfully written in elegant, clean, spare prose, and it moves along swiftly with a light touch. The heroine is a strong young woman who owns and runs a newspaper in the midwest. When she travels to Maine to inspect the house she inherited from a great-grandfather, she surprises herself by falling in love with it. In fact, I realized part way through the book that the house is one of the main characters, with its quaint rooms and wooden trim and old gas stove and lack of electrici ...more
Jan 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
When I was younger, I was a huge fan of the Nancy Drew Mysteries, and I ordered this book on my Kindle because I loved the title, and the premise of a "house with secrets." The book did not disappoint, and it immediately transports the reader to a tiny coastal village in Maine, not unlike Jessica Fletcher's Cabot Cove from the "Murder She Wrote" series. It is a fast read, but doesn't go so fast that you don't get a flavor for Goose Haven and its quirky townsfolk. What I loved most about this boo ...more
J.P. David
Jan 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Secret Staircase is the perfect story to read while sitting in a comfortable chair in front of a roaring fire, or perhaps on the beach. I settled back in my recliner and was quickly swept away in a well crafted tale of intrigue with just the right combination of suspenseful plot, quirky characters, sharp dialogue and a setting that is both comforting and threatening. In other words, a terrific cozy.

Melanie Jackson knows her craft and it certainly shows in this, the first of the Wendover Hous
Jeannie and Louis Rigod
Apr 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This novella or short story was worthy of the title of classic mystery in the style of a Poe. In my opinion, the only thing I would have liked is for the book to be triple the size. I chose the Paperback version.

Tess MacKay, a woman with a sense of humor, yet, curiously quite alone in this world, gets notice that she is the remaining heir of the Wendover's, an ancestral family that has lived for the past three hundred years on Little Goose Island, Me or is it Canada? That is one of the mysteries
Stuart Haddon
Jan 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Like a wine which promises much when first you put your nose into the glass, Melanie Jackson's novel makes a good first impression. Her writing is extremely accomplished. She has a strong voice, especially in the early part of the novel and demonstrates confidence and originality in her use of language. The main character, Tess, is likeable, quirky, interesting and believable, and the other inhabitants of the story play their parts well. The sense of place is strong. The island and, especially, ...more
New Reader

This book was a pleasant surprise for me. I had read blurb about it on Amazon and it didn't seem like my kind of book. Then the other day I saw a review and decided to give it a try. Glad I did. It took me a few chapters to get really into the story but once I did it wasn't till the end of the book that I realized there wasn't a murder. Melanie Jackson has a way of keeping you so involved that I found myself wanting to do a Wendover family search. Tess, finding that the unwillingness
Terry Huebner
Jan 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Secret Staircase is a wonderful addition to the Agatha Christie-style of cozy mysteries. The book’s heroine, Tess MacKay, unexpectedly inherits a large old house on an island in Maine from a long-lost relative. When she travels to see it from her home in Minnesota, she discovers colorful characters and a tempting series of family secrets, superstitions and even a curse. As the first book in the Wendover House Mystery series, The Secret Staircase introduces us to an interesting locale and ple ...more
Andrea Závodská
Jan 12, 2012 rated it liked it
I absolutely adore the beautiful writing style of Melanie Jackson. She has done an amazing job on the settings, history, characters, and... the cat, of course! I love the idea of a secluded island full of secrets and mysteries and the atmosphere was just like it, getting me hooked up and entertained until the very end. This is a wonderful read for anyone who likes mysteries. I have seen reviews talking about "an disappointing end", but I have to disagree. This is a SERIES! And the first book of ...more
Sep 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I must say, that I really enjoyed this book. I identified right off the bat with the lead character. Her sense of humor was great, and I love how she was a fish out of water going back to ancestral homes. The description of the people that live in Maine, while a caricature, is pretty dead-on, and tongue and cheek. People from Maine are wonderful warm people, just was certain eclectic ways of doing things. It was a great little mystery a nice tie-in into a brand new series, but left me wanting mo ...more
Deanna Sletten
Jan 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: favorites
I thoroughly enjoyed The Secret Staircase by Melanie Jackson. Ms. Jackson has a beautiful writing style that makes you not only enjoy the story, but also appreciate the art of writing. Her characters are so well thought out that you feel like you know them personally and the story line is given to you in small doses until you can’t wait to see what happens next. I just couldn’t put this book down. The perfect blend of mystery, suspense and intrigue. I am now hooked on Ms. Jackson’s books and can ...more
Kay (Brigidsmomma) Compton
Jun 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
This is REALLY good. I have really enjoyed reading this, and am looking forward to the continued mystery as this series progresses. If you like stories with a hint of the weird and paranormal, without overtly hitting you over the head with it, this is a good read for you. I also enjoyed the light history about early MA/ME. Can't wait to read the next one!
Feb 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
A woman inherits a beautiful island off of the coast of Maine, but she must live there forever or the island will fall into the ocean. An interesting and fairly short story I downloaded for free.
Gail Stewart rumsey
Dec 10, 2015 rated it liked it
This is a well written mystery with an intriguing story. I was tempted to give this 4 stars and will definitely continue reading the series and other books written by Ms. Jackson.
Jan 27, 2017 marked it as apuntados  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Linda Cole
Jan 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great start

It was interesting and led you deeper into the mystery of the wendover family. I liked the main character she is smart and brave.
Glenda Bixler
Jan 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed-books
Starring...and remembering...Mary Tyler Moore as a news woman...

Mary  (Biblophile)
Reminded me of the old-fashioned gothic mysteries I used to read when I was younger.
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Gwen Castle
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Alison Brennan
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Melanie, an award-winning author of more than fifty novels, stories and poems lives with her writer husband in the California Gold Country with their cat (also a writer who has a page on myspace) and their dog (who is hoping to get a page on facebook as soon as she masters typing). Melanie likes gardening but hates the deer who also like her garden, and she volunteers at a local animal shelter.
More about Melanie Jackson...

Other Books in the Series

Wendover House Mystery (5 books)
  • Twelfth Night (A Wendover House Mystery Book 2)
  • On Deadly Tides (A Wendover House Mystery Book 3)
  • Pieces of Hate
  • Mysterious Island (A Wendover House Mystery Book 5)

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