Drawing of the book cover that includes the title of the book, author, and a canvas with dirty paint brushes.

Death in a Pale Hue

By Susan Van Kirk

An Art Center Mystery

Who knew going home could be deadly?

I will show them success. Thirty-year-old artist Jill Madison repeats this mantra when she returns to her small hometown to restart her life. Hired to manage a new community art center, she vows to make it successful so the people of her town will have what she did not have—an education in the arts. She no sooner accepts the job than a burglar makes off with an irreplaceable sculpture and an uninvited corpse is discovered in the basement. Even worse, the body belongs to someone Jill knew…well. Finding out what happened places Jill right in the path of a murderer.

How will she keep her job, run her first big event, and escape a killer who plans to paint her out of the picture permanently?

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.

The Book Shelf

Harlequin Worldwide Books

View a full list of Harlequin Mysteries.

Original Author Series

View a full list of the original author series.

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 …

Preorder Audio version now – available March 30.

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.

book cover image with title and author with an image of a bird, and a fire burning an old barn.

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.

book cover image with title and author showing an old house and two profile pictures of two different women.

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