A Death at
Tippit Pond

By Susan Van Kirk

A Sweet Iron Mystery

Everyone in the small town of Sweet Iron knew the teenage daughter of Judge Tippitt and his wife, Jolene. Melanie Tippitt’s exotic green eyes sprinkled with gold flecks only added to her haunting beauty. That is why her shocking murder in the summer of 1971 shattered the innocence of the town. Soon, the inhabitants sighed with relief when the murderer was sent to prison. Case closed.

Four decades later, Elizabeth Russell arrives in Sweet Iron with plans for a brief visit. She extends her stay when she discovers reasons to research the Tippitt family genealogy and the disturbing tragedy of their daughter’s murder. Her decision disturbs the tranquility of the town and challenges the truth of what happened that day at Tippitt Pond…

Case closed. Or was it?

Best Selling Author

Susan Van Kirk

I began writing at age sixty ACL [After Children Left.] Publishing a memoir about teaching over
four decades called The Education of a Teacher (Including Dirty Books and Pointed Looks), I
followed the axiom that we first write what we know. Once I retired from teaching in 2011, I
decided to write mysteries. Why? I had devoured the 1500+ pages of Sherlock Holmes in fifth
grade because it seemed like the next step after Nancy Drew, Judy Bolton, and the Hardy Boys.
After that, I read hundreds of mysteries. Now, I’ve created a series called The Endurance
Mysteries and peopled it with folks I love. Mostly. It’s a cozy series about a retired English
teacher in a small town who helps her former student—now Detective TJ Sweeney—solve
murders. Add a little love interest and a gloomy mansion, and I’m rolling. When my publisher
folded their mystery line, I moved in a new direction, writing the first Sweet Iron mystery
starring Beth Russell. A genealogist and historical researcher, she provides fertile ground for my love of history, and she still has many branches
to explore on her family tree.

Other Books

A Death at Tippit Pond

Four decades after the tragic murder of Melanie Tippitt, the tiny town of Sweet Iron is rocked by
new revelations in that haunting case. Ghosts, lies, long-buried secrets …

The Locket

TJ Sweeney gets the spotlight in this Endurance novella about a murder victim in the 1940s. It
was the Big Band Era, romance was in the air, and tragedy was close at hand.

Three May Keep A Secret

“…if two of them are dead.” Retired teacher, Grace Kimball, discovers the truth of Ben
Franklin’s aphorism when her quiet town of Endurance is rocked by a murder or two.

Marry in Haste

“ …repent at leisure.” Two wives—two murders a century apart—and a shocking secret connects
them. Grace Kimball investigates, hoping to save a life.

Death Takes No Bribes

Who poisoned Endurance High School Principal John Hardy? Death is stalking the halls of
Grace’s old workplace, and Grace and TJ Sweeney are only a few steps ahead.


The best cozy mystery genre reads are steeped in small-town atmosphere and interpersonal connections. A Death at Tippitt Pond … [is] … an absorbing mystery fueled by history, emotional attachments, and physical danger.

D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review


Van Kirk’s appealing mystery debut [Three May Keep a Secret]… introduces recently retired
teacher, Grace Kimball. Cozy fans will find a lot to like.

-Publishers Weekly


Small town America has never been made more real … an enthralling mystery involving two
strong women a hundred years apart. Well plotted and a very interesting read.

-Marry in Haste
from DJ Adamson Le Coeur de l’Artiste

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