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The Secret Staircase: 10/30/22
The Secret Staircase by Sheila Connolly and Emily Durante (Narrator) (2021) is the final book in the Victorian Village mystery series. Work is finally beginning in earnest on the Barton Mansion. Kate Hamilton has hired an electrician and crew, but on their first tour of the house they discover a walled up staircase and a mummified body.
Like the second book, a huge chunk of this final mystery is focused on Kate Hamilton trying to figure out how she wants to realize her vision for a restored mansion and town. With the wall torn down and a newly discovered staircase, she's further confused by possibilities.
The Secret Staircase also addresses the question of who was Mary Barton. Her story is finally revealed, thus completing the question of who the Bartons were and why the house was left essentially to the city.
Like in Crowned and Moldering by Kate Carlisle (2015), the cold case is later tied to a present day murder. This present day mystery is fairly pedestrian. It serves mostly to keep the book on a schedule. Without the modern day murder, the entire book would be Kate Hamilton being unable to make up her mind about project details.