The Mystery of Hilliard’s Castle by Kathy Lynn Emerson

You may know Kathy Lynn Emerson as Kaitlyn Dunnett — top notch author of cozy mysteries.  And if you’ve read any of her simply stellar cozies, you know this woman really knows how to write – she gets into the heart and soul of each and every one of her characters.

She has also written other books including romance novels under the name Kathy Lynn Emerson.  Today I am very excited to let you know she just launched a childrens/young teen mystery under that name.  The book is The Mystery of Hilliard’s Castle.

Even though it is targeted toward ages 8 to 12, remembering myself as a young teenage girl at 13 and 14-yrs. old, I know I would have loved this book.  Heck, I’m pushing 68 and enjoyed it!

The setting is Maine, 1982.  Young 12-yr. old Kerry Odell and her younger brother, Lyle, are off to a new adventure.  Their mom, Patricia, has taken a sabbatical to work on “that book she always wanted to write.”  This involves taking a long drive to their temporary rented house in a somewhat remote area.

It’s a pretty rough trip just to get there, with plenty of obstacles along the way. But when they finally arrive, even more startling to Kerry and Lyle is that the stone structure with its shadowy tower and fieldstone walls looks more like a castle than a house.  The house belongs to Mabel Hilliard who is leaving town and renting out her “castle” while she’s away. True to its exterior, the inside of the house is filled with heavy old furniture and ornate antiques – and there’s even more valuable antiques securely locked away in the tower.

Ms. Emerson hits the nail on the head when it comes to the struggles and concerns of younger children, as in this story, where their father had been in a fatal plane crash a while back.  It hasn’t been easy for Patricia raising two young children by herself and the children have to come to terms with that fact that their mother, at some point, may date or re-marry again.

They are also attending the nearest school.  As if it isn’t challenging enough for both of them to make new friends, Kerry is being bullied by a classmate named Ricky York.  Ricky’s divorced father, Alex, has gotten to know their mom, Patricia – and well, Ricky is just “not” happy about it!

While Kerry and Lyle cope with their new temporary lifestyle, things get a little “spooky” in the castle.  There’s odd noises in the middle of the night.  There’s a cat that mysteriously appears and disappears.  Then Kerry starts to notice that a few of the antiques have quietly gone MIA.  The castle definitely has dark and hidden secrets and both of them are determined to find out what they are.

When Kerry’s class is assigned a genealogy project, she realizes this gives her the perfect opportunity to see what she can dig up on the Hilliard family.  Researching their family tree leads Kerry to complex and shocking secrets.  And the more she pries, the more dangerous it becomes for her family and even Mabel Hilliard herself.

Ms. Emerson’s writing is authentic and completely flawless.  She is able to understand what goes through the minds of younger children.  She understands their concerns, their anxieties, their innermost feelings – and she mixes them all together to come up with a wonderful, engrossing mystery for older children and younger teens.

The book is 137 pages – the perfect length to keep young minds fully engaged without losing interest.  If you have children or grandchildren that love to read, especially a mystery, this book is perfect.   And hey, Christmas is coming – great stocking stuffer for your children or grandchildren.

Ms. Emerson has also released three historical novels aimed at ages 8 through 12:  Katie’s Way, Julia’s Mending and Shalla (The Story of a Colonial New England Girl).  I have not personally had a chance to review these, but if you have children that love to read, I encourage you to check them out.

Find these Kathy Lynn Emerson books including The Mystery of Hilliard’s Castle at retailers such as:  Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo.  Visit her site at:

Want to learn MORE about Kathy Lynn Emerson and Kaitlyn Dunnett?  Visit the “mystery” section under the “book” category for reviews on some of her other books and also an interview with this top notch author.


A complimentary copy of these books was provided by the author.

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