5 star rating
Ill-Gotten Panes
A Stained Glass Mystery, Book #1
By Jennifer McAndrews
ISBN# 9780425267950
Author’s Website:

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Jeanie



Stained-glass aficionado Georgia Kelly packed up her city life for the quiet of small town Wenwood, New York. But the sleepy village’s peace is about to get shattered—by murder…

After a banking scandal loses Georgia her job and fiancé, she decides that a change of scenery will help piece her life back together. But escaping to her grandfather’s house in the old-fashioned, brick-making Hudson River hamlet of Wenwood, New York, turns out to be less relaxing than she expects. Not only is the close-knit community on edge about their beloved brickworks being turned into a marina to draw in tourists, one of those most opposed to the project winds up dead—cracked over the head with a famous Wenwood brick.

Georgia wouldn’t be broken up over the news except for the fact that the main suspect is the deceased’s biggest adversary—her grandfather. Now, to remove the stain from her grandy’s record, Georgia will have to figure out who in town was willing to kill to keep the renovation project alive, before someone else is permanently cut out of the picture… (Goodreads)


Leaving her career and ex-fiance in New York City due to the scandal at a bank where she worked meant going to live at her grandfather’s home in small-town Wenwood, New York.  Wenwood wasn’t Georgia’s first choice of where to go; she loved the big city but needed an affordable place to live and re-group until she found a new place to call her work home.  Grandy had missed her terribly and was glad she was home, but didn’t want her to know the true condition of his dine-in movie theater where she had worked as a teen.

Grandy was so proud of Georgia that he told everyone she was coming, and people knew who she was before she knew, or remembered, them.  On a trip to the grocer’s, she met a new friend, Carrie, who managed the nearby antique store. Her visit with Carrie provided Georgia with a challenge for her hobby of working with stained glass – repair of a Tiffany-like lamp – as she learned stained glass work as stress-relief from her career.

A quick visit to the hardware store to look for an item provided her not only a few moments of hearing a loud quarrel between the store owner and another businessman, but focused some of the shop owner’s anger on her because of his bitter feelings against her grandfather.  Only a couple days afterwards, the police were at the door to take Grandy to the station.  Unfortunately, he was wanted for questioning in the murder of the hardware storekeeper and one of Grandy’s only enemies, Andy Edgers.

Carrie offered to take Georgia to the police station rather than explain the directions to her.  As they went to Carrie’s car, Georgia met and fell in love with a tiny kitten who was abandoned in a beer box, and she refused to be separated from the sweet fuzzy bundle.  At the station she learns incurs the wrath of the businessman she saw in the hardware store, Tony Himmel, who was in charge of construction on Wenwood’s new Marina.  The Marina was to be built where the beloved but long out-of-business brick manufacturer had fallen into disrepair.  Locals hoped to bring new, reviving customers through tourism into Wenwood.

As Georgia waits around the police station, she tries to think through what she heard about the murder and speculate on who the real murderer was, as she knew that her Grandy wasn’t that person.  Georgia makes interesting new friends through the course of the investigation, including one lady who had been an adversary since high school days.

This first novel in the outstanding new Stained-Glass Mystery series delivers a fast-paced cozy mystery with an eclectic cast of characters in a charming hometown setting.  Friendships forged are the undergirding of Wenwood, and those who are friends of Grandy’s are friends of Georgia’s before she ever sprang into town with her full head of Little Orphan Annie red curls.  It is interesting, to me, to learn about stained glass, and the details given about her skilled repair of the lamp were just enough to whet my curiosity.

The mystery is very well-crafted.  The central characters and the readers learn of updates on the murder at nearly the same time; neither could solve the murder or the reasons for subsequent plot twists until each clue is revealed – and to me, the solution was a complete surprise!

Each character is a fully-developed, three-dimensional person who will be remembered in the future novels.  Some are a bit more interesting than others, yet overall, this sounds like a fun hometown to be from or to move to!  I really enjoy both Georgia and Carrie – brave, loyal, and hard-working ladies but also fun-loving and open to new friendships.  Georgia is marketing herself to find a new job, for which I have tremendous empathy.  Her love and loyalty to Grandy is admirable, and her frustrated adoration of her tiny kitten is at times all too funny, unless one of my cats has provided a new scratch on me from an errant claw.

The setting is beautifully described without being tedious, right down to the details of the Wenwood bricks and brickworks.

I would highly recommend this novel to young adults and adults of all ages who enjoy cozy mysteries, and I hope this series enjoys  a long run!  It is a hit – as long as it isn’t a hit through the colorful stained glass!

*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review as part of their ongoing blog tour*