Dead as a Doornail   

Kenni Lowry Mystery Series, Book #5

By Tonya Kappes   

ASIN: 1635113342

Author’s Website: tonyakappes(.)com


Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra


Beauty is skin deep, but ugly goes clear to the bone. And doesn’t our Sheriff Kenni Lowry know that? Well, she knows a lot of things.

Lucy Lowell takes great pride in writing negative reviews in the local newspaper for anything that does not go her way. When Lucy is found dead, it appears to be from natural causes.

But Sheriff Kenni Lowry knows there is more to it because the ghost of her grandfather, the ex-sheriff, is standing over the body. His presence can only mean one thing: Murder!

Since Kenni’s relationship with Deputy Finn Vincent has heated up, Kenni is having trouble conducting the investigation without Finn questioning her every move.

Can Kenni unravel the mystery on her own or will she have to tell Finn the real reason she knows it was murder—the ghost of her poppa? It’s blowin’ up a storm and only Kenni knows how it’ll end. (Goodreads)


Dead as a Doornail is the fifth book in the Kenni Lowry Mystery Series. I am beginning the series at this juncture and I must say, I had no problems following the characters. While I may be missing some back story, it did not detract from my enjoyment of the book in the slightest.

Kenni Lowry is Cottonwood’s sheriff who gets assistance from her Poppa (her grandfather). What is unusual is that Poppa is a ghost that only she and Duke (Kenni’s hound dog) can see whenever a murder has occurred.

It wasn’t until there was yet another murder in Cottonwood and then another that Poppa showed up again. Then I realized that Poppa’s ghost only showed up when there’d been a murder in Cottonwood and he was there as my deputy ghost.”

The tale begins with Kenni partaking in a “spa day” (a gift from her new beau – Deputy Finn Vincent) where she has a front and centre view of Lucy Lowell demanding an immediate appointment for a manicure and then adding in a pedicure and hair wash & dry. All of the salon staff made it perfectly clear to Lucy that they were fully booked and just couldn’t fit her in. As she departs the salon, Lucy threatens Tina (the salon owner):

Well, I never. You’ll regret this, Tina Bowers.” Lucy Ellen twirled her finger around the shop. “Tiny Tina’s will no longer be in business once it gets out in all the gossip circles how you treated me here today.” Lucy Ellen brought her hands up to her chest. “I’m sending in a bad review to the Chronicle as soon as I get home.”

As a result of Lucy’s articles dissing local establishments, she is not the most favorite person in town. Not too long after the Kenni witnesses the unpleasantness between Lucy and shop owner Tina, she is called in to work over the discovery of a dead body. With the arrival of Poppa, Kenni can only surmise that this is a murder and not an apparent heart attack. As one can predict, the murder victim is none other than the unpleasant Lucy!  With so many disliking her…who is likely to be the killer?

With Kenni getting essentially front row seats to Lucy’s little display at the salon, it is not any wonder that the first and foremost suspect is none other than Tina. Now for Kenni to find the real killer (for she just cannot believe her friend would kill anyone).

As with any “good” cozy mystery, at least my definition of good, I am unable to solve the ‘whodunit’ until the very end. I am happy to report that this was indeed the case. With the myriad of side stories and many extra characters within the story, it led to a “cornucopia” of storytelling, with entertaining tangents.

I found the sprinkling of help from Poppa poignant. Kenni must have really loved her Poppa and vice a versa. He just cannot stop helping his granddaughter while she follows in his footsteps.Gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling, even if it is over a murder.

The development of the many characters within the story: Tina, Polly (bride to be) and Finn, just to name a few, added to my enjoyment. I suspect these are regulars and I will get a better sense of them once I backtrack in the series and start from scratch. I enjoyed my first foray into the many characters of Cottonwood.

I am thoroughly enjoying my exploration into the writings of Tonya Kappes with this “new to me” series. While I am totally enamored with her ‘A Killer Coffee Mystery’ series, I have a strong suspicion that this series will also become a new favorite of mine. Well – I am off to obtain the first four books in this series!

*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*