Ghosts of Painting Past By Sybil Johnson: Review/Giveaway

Dec 23, 2019 | 2019 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze, Sandra Murphy

by Sandra Murphy

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Ghosts of Painting Past, a link to purchase it from Amazon, and an indie bookstore where a portion of the sale goes to help support KRL.

Rory Anderson is a computer programmer but has a talent for painting—as in Christmas ornaments and the like. She and her friend Liz are set to sell their wares at a craft sale. Kicking off the holiday season are concerts, a pier lighting ceremony, and the annual sand-snowman contest. That is, snowmen built from sand. After all, this is Vista Beach, California, where actual snow is unlikely.

The house across the street from Rory’s is being demolished to build a bigger, blander home. Rory is so used to hearing the noise, it’s sudden stop calls for a peek outside. Closer inspection shows what looks like a human skull was found beneath the former shed. It’s a decades old crime, the hardest to solve. mystery

In spite of being buried for so long, the clothing is recognizable, and there are papers in the victim’s pocket. What would ordinarily be a puzzle, now is more urgent. Rory’s father is implicated in the crime. A lawyer, her dad thinks he can handle himself. Rory’s not so sure.

When a second body is found and further throws suspicion on her dad, Rory and Liz must pick up the pace to find the killer, before someone else dies and before her dad is arrested.

This is book five in the series, but the first one I’ve read. Rory and Liz are likable characters, great friends, and have a propensity for getting into trouble. Reading about Christmas in California is a nice change of pace from books set in snow country. While readers will guess the identity of the first victim, the killer will remain elusive until the end. For a relaxing break from shopping and baking, take a visit to Vista Beach and help solve a murder—or two.

Check out other Henery Press mysteries on their website.

To enter to win a copy of Ghosts of Painting Past, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “painting,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen January 4, 2020 U.S. residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. You can read our privacy statement here if you like. We delete all emails after the contest is over.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. The last 2 episodes are Christmas mysteries!

Use this link to purchase the book & a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:

You can also use this link to purchase the book on Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:

Opens to author website

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch in St. Louis Missouri. She writes about eco-friendly topics, pets and wildlife for magazines and reviews mysteries and thrillers for KRL. A collection of her short stories, published by Untreed Reads, From Hay to Eternity: Ten Tales of Crime and Deception can be found at all the usual outlets. Each one is a little weird and all have a twist you won’t see coming.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases using those links. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Cold Case Cozy! Count me in!

  2. I would love to win this book! Thanks for the chance! lindaherold999(at)gmail(dot)com

  3. Thanks for the review. Added to my TBR. kckendler at gmail dot com

  4. I like cold case mysteries
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

  5. Christmas themed books are
    another reason to enjoy the
    holiday season. Sounds like fun.
    thanks for the offer.

  6. Thanks for this captivating and intriguing book.

  7. Sounds like a good read.

  8. This sounds like a fun series that we’d both enjoy. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of Ghosts of Painting Past. crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com

  9. New author to me. Sounds like a great book.

  10. Fantastic cover

    positive DOT ideas DOT 4you AT gmail DOT com

  11. Thanks for this review and giveaway!!!! nani_geplcs(at)yahoo(dot)com

  12. Would be wonderful to read this book! Thanks for the chance!

    Renee Collins
    421 North Main Street
    Red Lion, Pennsylvania 17356

  13. Looks great! Thanks for the chance! JL_Minter(at)hotmail(dot)com

  14. This book sounds interesting and fun to read. Cold cases are intriguing. Thank you for the chance the cover is so cute. I want to read it.

  15. I would love to read this book. Thanks for the offer.

  16. I really enjoy seasonal themed mysteries. I’d love to read this book .

  17. I’m new to this author but I love cold case Cozies and this one sounds like a really good one! Thank you!!

  18. We have a winner!


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