Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Fatal Brushstroke (Aurora Anderson Mystery #1)” as Want to Read:
Fatal Brushstroke (Aurora Anderson Mystery #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Fatal Brushstroke

(Aurora Anderson Mysteries #1)

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  142 ratings  ·  48 reviews
A dead body in her garden and a homicide detective on her doorstep…

Computer programmer and tole-painting enthusiast Aurora (Rory) Anderson doesn’t envision finding either when she steps outside to investigate the frenzied yipping coming from her own backyard. After all, she lives in Vista Beach, a quiet California beach community where violent crime is rare and murder even
Paperback, First, 280 pages
Published November 18th 2014 by Henery Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Fatal Brushstroke, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Fatal Brushstroke

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.65  · 
Rating details
 ·  142 ratings  ·  48 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Jan 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2016
Dollycas’s Thoughts

Rory Anderson is a computer programmer that works from her home in sunny California. As a hobby she enjoys tole painting. Sounds like a quiet idyllic life to me. But when a body is found buried in her garden things become chaotic as Rory is a suspect trying to clear her name.

This was an interesting debut. Rory has a past that the author explains over the course of the story that makes her a very vulnerable main character. She spends a lot of time with her mother but their rela
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mystery
Fatal Brushstroke by Sybil Johnson was a very enjoyable listening experience. The narrator did an excellent job of "reading" the story and made each characters dialogue clear. The plot was a little muddled at first because of a reference to an earlier incident in Rory's past but cleared up quickly. I'm already signed up for the next audio book in this series.
I love when I read a book for pleasure and learn new things. I'm not familiar with tole painting, though I've heard of it, and the book has lots of little details about techniques and styles. One of the nice things about cozy mysteries is all the different and sometimes quirky activities and professions that occur in them.

"Fatal Brushstrokes" is the first book of a new series but I was confused at times as there were several references to a previous mystery that Rory was involved in and it seeme
Mark Baker
Jun 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016, mystery
Rory Anderson is shocked when the body of a well-respected tole painter, Hester Bouquet, is found buried in her backyard. With a police chief who hates her, Rory knows if she wants to avoid going to jail, she needs to find the killer. But who might it be?

This is a strong debut. The plot was steady with interesting suspects and shifting clues and motives. I thought I had it figured out a couple of times, but it turned out I was wrong. The characters are fantastic as well, and I can hardly wait to
Sep 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was a nice 'cozy mystery' read. Sometimes a mystery-reading lover needs that escape from the heavy-laden, big-town mystery to the softer, small-town mystery provided by authors like Sybil Johnson.

I enjoyed this story, with the exception of being put off by the way the local police department in Vista Beach was portrayed. They seemed overbearing and ready to pounce on poor Rory without any real concrete evidence. I realize that the incident years earlier with Rory's birth parents played int
Faye Ridpath
Jul 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An excellent debut!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

The characters were very well developed.

I hope to see more!
This was a cute cozy mystery and I will definitely check out more of the series. I enjoyed that there wasn't a romance with the detective, especially while Rory was being investigated for the murders, though it seems Rory would definitely been interested in one. The reason I didn't give it more stars was, I was thoroughly confused by the mention of a previous mystery that Rory was involved with, I thought I had picked up the wrong book for the start of the series. After finishing and verifying t ...more
Michele Seigfried
Aug 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
What would you do if a dead body showed up in your yard? That's exactly what happens in this cozy mystery. Although it is told in third person, you get the feel that the story is being told by Rory, the main character. Rory does seem to lie a lot, which makes her seem suspicious. Sometimes this annoyed me, but I also think it's refreshing to see human flaws in the main character. It breathes life to the character. She is not perfect, and her life is not perfect either.

Along with Rory, the author
Nov 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books
This is a fascinating cozy mystery that will catch your attention so once. The paragraph is unusual. The characters are well developed and area description please you there. RORY Anderson is living in Vista Beach CA and her past is interfering with her life. The Chief of Police feels she is agility because of what her biological parents did as she is the image of her Mother. Rory must do her own investigation to clear herself as the police won't. Rory works at home solving software problems. One ...more
Andrea Guy
This is the first book in a new cozy mystery series. I have to say, if its a Henery Press book, it is going to be good, and this book is no exception.

I like that it doesn't fit the traditional cozy mold. The murder occurred in the first pages, rather than after a few chapters. I also liked that Rory's hobby that isn't really the norm. I had to look up tole painting to figure out what it actually was. Very cool.

Rory is a bit hard to deal with, because she does some pretty stupid things when it co
Jul 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Thank you Net Galley and Henery Press for another great read to read and review!!

This was my first book read by this author, but this publishing house is proving to me to be a GREAT little publishing find. I read a lot of dark mysteries and serial killer books, sometimes I just need to read a little cozy mystery and Henery Press definitely provides that.

This book has lots of suspects and you just know it's the dad and son, but alas, they are committing a different crime, one you do suspect pre
Sep 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle
Good start to a series. Sometimes I found the plot a little coincidental. I understand the setting was a very small town but things seemed to just happen a little too easily. I also wanted to know more about the main characters - especially Rory. I don't feel like I got to know her at all. The book mentioned her being 6 feet tall, but then never really brought that up again. I would think there would be a lot to add to Rory's character with that trait - hard to buy clothes, never being able to g ...more
Jun 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
A friend gave me this book to read and asked to let me know how it was. I hate to say this but it was a very boring story to read. I actually did not find anything in any of the characters that really connected with me. I love to read but I must be fully engaged with the characters and with this one it was not there.
Aug 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: net-galley
I absolutely loved this novel. It was the perfect mix of mystery, small town drama, well developed characters and humour. I enjoyed how the story developed, with each character revealing something about themselves, but still leaving more to be developed in future novels. I look forward to more of Aurora Anderson. Will be put on the must read list for sure.
Jul 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Once I started reading it, didn't want to stop! The characters were all interesting and I felt like I got to know them. The mystery itself was well done, lots of suspects and many clues throughout the story. I look forward to reading further adventures of Aurora Anderson and learning more about her.
Jasmine from How Useful It Is
Aug 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thrillers, netgalley
Very well written, couldn't guess who the bad guy is. Lots of painting discussions. Full review here
Dec 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
I liked the mystery part of the story line, it had me guessing even though there weren't that many suspects. The story gets bogged down by the great deal of time Rory spends helping her mother out in her store though little clues may be sprinkled in the time spent there. Also, there are alarms going off in town and time is spent on that which I pretty much had figured out from the beginning.

I was also bothered a bit by some of the characters. Rory is a more fragile heroine than I am accustomed
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, bought
I read the fourth book in this series and really liked it, but this one drove me nuts.
Rory came off as a complete airhead. Constantly lying to the cops. And ladies, if you live alone, make sure all your doors have locks and all your outside lights are working. I can’t believe she was to lazy to fix her porch light and garage door lock.
I was also annoyed by how everyone in town assumed the worst of her because of something her parents had done 30-something years ago.
Also, people in their thirt
Debbie (Doc)
3.5 Stars

This was a fun cozy read! I am a crafter and found the painting and craft store to be an extra bonus. I really liked Rory and her adopted mother, but the other characters fell short for me. At first impression, I thought that Rory worked in her mother’s store, which ended up not the case. At times, I felt that the plot was confusing and over the top. Rory was ostracized for her birth parent’s illegal activities from the local sheriff as well as from her neighbors. The narrator did an ex
Jan 04, 2018 rated it did not like it
I have rarely hated a main character as much as Rory. After about a quarter of the way in, I was hoping she would be the next victim. Her internal dialogue is ridiculously ignorant, as is everyone around her. Maybe a little character development would have helped, but with internal dialogue like that, nothing could.
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An entertaining read

An entertaining read, with fully developed characters and plenty of twists and turns in the plot. A great first book in the series. I definitely recommend to all cozy mystery fans.
Nov 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Rory Anderson just cant catch a break. She's living with the stigma her parents left her at the age of two. This, in turn, has the town's Chief of Police certain that any crime committed in Vista Beach ties back to Rory - especially if it's arson. So, when the body of a well-known socialite is found buried in her garden, Rory is, of course, suspect number one. Then the evidence begins to mount as the murderer continues to try and frame Rory. Will Rory be able to prove that she's innocent even wh ...more
DelAnne Frazee
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Title: FATAL BRUSHSTROKE - An Aurora Anderson Mystery Book 1
Author: Sybil Johnson
Published: 11-18-2014
Publisher: Henery Press
Pages: 270
Genre: Mystery, Thrillers & Suspense
Sub Genre: Women Sleuths, Cozy Mystery, Amateur Sleuths; Police Procedurals
ISBN: 13: 9781940976495
Reviewer: DelAnne
Reviewed For: NetGalley
Rating: 4 Stars

I received a copy of "FATAL BRUSHSTROKE" from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Description From the Publisher:

Mary Brown
Sep 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Fatal Brushstroke by Sybil Johnson is the first book in a new cozy series. This cozy centers around Aurora (Rory) Anderson who is a computer programmer and a painting, crafty lady. She finds a dead body buried in her garden one night and it turns out the body is someone she knows. The victim is a tole-painting instructor that Rory has had problems with in the past. Because of this, she is considered a suspect in the murder.

Rory is not the only suspect in the case, though. There are many other pe
Nov 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
I have to admit that I had a hard time getting through this book. I am not sure if it is because I was really busy at the end of November or because it was just hard to get into. By the time the reporter/blogger gal made her appearance, I had finally found my pace and was off to the races. I was a bit disappointed Rory didn't find any romantic-ness with the Dashing Detective Green. But I will hold out hope for future books with such a storyline. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

The mystery was a little
Jul 24, 2014 rated it really liked it

I was surprised that this was book #1 in the series. The characters have detailed background and show the history. I like Aurora and her friend Liz. I did guess the murder early on and what the murder weapon was, but not all the motive and why frame Aurora.

Aurora does not tell the police everything she knows or the full truth right away because she does not trust the police with good reason. The Chief of Police can only see her as the guilty party because of who her parents were.

Why do pe
Verity W
Feb 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Computer programmer Rory Anderson is caught up in a murder investigation when her tole painting teacher is found dead in her flowerbed. As the evidence adds up and seems to point to Rory, she starts to investigate what happened while helping her mother run the family crafting and painting store.

This is the first in a series - and in writing this I realised that I'd read the first one last year and not connected the dots between the two. Oops. But this is interesting and quite well done, although
Darlene Ferland
Sep 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I want to thank Sybil Johnson and Goodreads for allowing me to read and review 'Fatal Brushstroke.' Set on the coast of California in the town of Vista Beach, Aurora "Rory" Anderson lives near her mother Arika and best friend Lizzie.
Rory finds the dead and buried body of Hester Bouquet in her own backyard. Hester is a well-known artist and she taught classes and seminars to hopeful as well as working artists. This death and the numerous alarms going off nightly have the police busy. . . Rory, wh
Nov 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Fatal Brushstroke is the first book in the Aurora Anderson mystery series. It is adequately written and professionally edited.

The plot is interesting and fast paced, but a bit disorganized. Information and events in the story were presented in a way that made me feel as though I had missed their introduction. I went back to reread a few sections hoping to find some reason for a new event thinking that I had overlooked something.

The characters were varied and most were very appealing. The main ch
Apr 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
I bought this book in advance as I hoped it would be a great first to a new series. This is really a cozy but it did not held my interest for long. I liked Rory (Aurora) and her friend Liz but the book dragged after a couple of chapters. Rory is blamed for things her parents (or mother?) did when she was a baby. Rory is adopted and her mother has a store. While Rory has a job working at home (computer stuff) she is in her mothers store a lot (really... a lot) and there were lots of descriptions ...more
« previous 1 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Please add a Kindle edition 2 18 Sep 04, 2014 01:58AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Embellished to Death (Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery, #3)
  • Bridges Burned (Zoe Chambers Mysteries, #3)
  • Heartache Motel
  • Death by Blue Water (A Hayden Kent Mystery #1)
  • Abstract Aliases (Bodies of Art, #3)
  • The Bullet Catch (An Eli Marks Mystery #2)
  • Finding Sky (Nicki Valentine Mystery, #1)
  • Nun Too Soon (Giulia Driscoll #1)
  • MacDeath (An Ivy Meadows Mystery, #1)
  • Murder on the Red Carpet (Red Carpet Catering Mysteries, #1)
  • Quicksand (Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery, #3)
  • Diner Impossible  (Rose Strickland Mystery, #3)
  • River City Dead (Aggie Mundeen Mystery #4)
See similar books…
My love affair with reading began in kindergarten with "The Three Little Pigs." Visits to the library introduced me to Encyclopedia Brown, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and a host of other characters. Fast forward to college where I continued reading while studying Computer Science. After a rewarding career in the computer industry, I decided to try my hand at writing mysteries. My short fiction has appeared ...more

Other books in the series

Aurora Anderson Mysteries (5 books)
  • Paint the Town Dead (Aurora Anderson Mystery #2)
  • A Palette for Murder (Aurora Anderson Mystery #3)
  • Designed For Haunting (An Aurora Anderson Mystery Book 4)
  • Ghosts of Painting Past (Aurora Anderson, #5)