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Book cover with the title, "Death in a Bygone Hue" with blue and pink background and paintbrushes with paint.

Death in a Bygone Hue

By Susan Van Kirk

An Art Center Mystery

When Jill Madison returns to her hometown to become executive director of a new art center, she never dreams unexpected secrets from the past will put her life in danger. Her parent’s old friend and Jill’s mentor, Judge Ron Spivey, is murdered. He leaves behind more than a few secrets from the past. His baffling will makes Jill a rich woman if she survives the will’s six-month probate period.

She finds a target on her back when the judge’s estranged children return. They form an unholy alliance with a local muckraking journalist who specializes in making up the news. According to the judge’s will, if Jill dies, the family inherits.

Jill and her best friend, Angie Emerson, launch their own investigation determined to find the judge’s killer. In the meantime, Jill simply must run her first national juried exhibit, launch a new seniors group, and move the weavers guild into the art center. Easy, right? Her arch nemesis and art center board president, Ivan Truelove III, is watching her every move, determined to remove her if she makes a mistake. And in between finding dead bodies, Jill may also discover a bit of romance with a newly arrived doctor in town, if she can live to enjoy 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 thousands of mysteries. Now, I’ve created a series called The Endurance Mysteries and peopled it with folks I love. Well, except for murderers. 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 a standalone traditional mystery about Beth Russell, a genealogist and historical researcher. My latest cozy series is the Art Center Mysteries, featuring oil painter Jill Madison, who becomes Executive Director of a small-town art center with a scary basement. Seriously, don’t go down there.

The Book Shelf

Harlequin Worldwide Books

View a full list of Harlequin Mysteries.

Endurance Mysteries

View a full list of the original author series.

Art Center Mysteries

View a full list of the original author series.


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