Saturday, October 29, 2011

Review of Uncle Si's Secret by M. M. Gornell - 4 stars

Author: M. M. Gornell

Title: Uncle Si’s Secret
Release date: 27th of November 2008
Published by: Aberdeen Bay
Reading level: FICTION – Adult: Mystery
Pages: 236 in paperback
Source: Paperback received from the author for reviewing

Summary from Goodreads:

Belinda "Bella" Jones and her brother Bernard, owners of the Cedar Valley Residence, have put their hearts, souls, and a ton of cash into this dream endeavor. Now, after five years of hard work, their charming home is almost full of a lovable cast of residents and there's just one more building addition they want to do.

But then Lana Norris, a beautiful area resident is brutally murdered on Cedar Valley Trail just a few feet from their property line, and their world turns upside down. Things like this don't happen in Cedar Valley, and their residents are shocked—and afraid. Overnight their happy place has turned into a jumbled, unfamiliar world. Indeed, residents are checking out, belongings are mysteriously disappearing, the county government is on their back about raspberries of all things, and it seems that nothing will be right again until this homicidal maniac is captured.

Quickly, and to everyone's relief, the police arrest and charge Kirby Norris, Lana's husband. He has an alibi, but all the physical evidence points his way; and for motive, there's a million dollar life insurance policy. It's enough for the DA to indict, arraign, and bring to trial.

But Kirby swears he's innocent, and so does his mother, the eerily persistent Olive Norris. She engages a slick defense lawyer, but she also calls in Belinda, a past part-time investigator to find the real killer.

Belinda has had several modest successes in the crime arena, and her possibly psychic chef-brother thinks Kirby is innocent and worse yet, the real killer is still loose and she should take the job. But once Belinda begins, she enters a turning labyrinth that not even she could foresee. Suddenly there's another gruesome murder, and some sudden surprises, and Belinda knows that she must solve this one fast—before she, or someone dear to her, becomes the next victim.

My review:

I liked this book! It was well paced and good mystery story. I enjoyed the characters, especially the supportive characters. The author has put a lot of emphasis on even the smallest and less important characters in the book, so there were lots of sweet back stories in Uncle Si’s Secret.

Regarding the plot:

Belinda Jones is owner of the Cedar Valley Residence. Belinda is drawn into the murder story of Lana Norris, because besides working in the Cedar Valley Residence, she has also done some modest crime investigations and mother-in-law of Lana Norris is asking Belinda to investigate and prove that Kirby Norris is not guilty of the murder. Kirby Norris is husband of the murdered woman and son of Olive Norris. Olive is the one who contacts Belinda for help. Kirby is already in jail waiting for the court.

As the murder investigation goes on, the lives of many characters are rolling out for reader. You find out secrets of Lana, Kirby, and Olive. Suddenly another murder is taking place and Belinda realizes that she is getting out of time to solve the case.

Next to the murder investigation, the author has done a wonderful work with describing the life in Cedar Valley Residence. There are many sweet stories about the residents, which I really enjoyed reading. It’s a good balance to the murder investigation.

Regarding the characters:

I love reading books where even the smallest characters have a story to tell. The main character Belinda was very loveable and nice. Besides her there were a lot of other characters I enjoyed: Belinda’s Brother Bernard, Belinda’s Uncle John, residents of Cedar Valley – Mrs. Shirley, Kaitlin etc. The list would be long.

One common thing for all characters were that they were believable, interesting and they had their place in the book!


It was a good mystery story which was supported strongly by the life of residents of Cedar Valley Residence! I liked it!

5 Flowers!

4 stars.

Happy reading!


  1. Thank you, Inga! And so glad you enjoyed Uncle Si's Secret, my very first novel! Love "being" in Estonia, if only electronically...


  2. What a wonderful review and what a treat to find fans from across the Atlantic. And a well deserved review as well.

  3. Super blog. Great visuals and great reading! Kudos to M. M. Gornell, author of Uncle Si's Secret.

    Thanks, Inga!

  4. Thanks, Cindy and Anne, for taking the time to stop off in Estonia! It is wonderful being a "globetrotter"!


  5. Madeline, a review this good makes all the hard work worthwhile. Enjoy and celebrate.

  6. Thanks, Earl, and you're soooo right! A good review goes a long way...