Author: Nancy Lynn Jarvis
Books: The Murder House of the Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries Series
Nancy Lynn Jarvis thinks you should try something new every few years. Writing her Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries series is her newest adventure and she’s been having so much fun doing it that she’s finally acknowledged she’ll never sell another house. She let her license lapse in May of 2013, after her twenty-fifth anniversary in real estate.
After earning a BA in behavioral science from San Jose State University, she worked in the advertising department of the San Jose Mercury News. A move to Santa Cruz meant a new job as a librarian and later a stint as the business manager for Shakespeare Santa Cruz at UCSC.
To keep her writing fresh after four mysteries, she took a time out to write Mags and the AARP Gang, a comedy about a group of renegade octogenarian bank robbers and edit Cozy Food: 128 Cozy Mystery Writers Share Their Favorite Recipes. But she missed her husband and wife team of Regan and Tom and their friend Dave, a former police officer forced to become a Santa Cruz Police Ombudsman after losing an eye in a shoot-out, so much that she came back to mystery writing.
When she’s not writing, Nancy is a volunteer driver for Grey Bears which provides a once-a-week bag of groceries for seniors and organized a fundraiser titled Mysteries for Myeloma using her books to benefit the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. She also frequently donates books for fundraisers if asked.
Every community has a house that people walk by hurriedly, nervously peeking at it out of the corners of their eyes. Bonny Doon is no exception. A bloody double homicide occurred in the Murder House almost twenty years ago and the killer has eluded capture ever since. Recently the house was inherited and the new owner wants to sell.
The problem is no one wants to buy a house with a reputation and reports that it’s home to ghosts. The seller thinks Realtor Regan McHenry would make a perfect listing agent ― after all, with her penchant for playing amateur sleuth, she’s no stranger to murder.
This is the perfect mystery to read if you don’t believe in ghosts — and an even better mystery to read if you do.
The old saying “never judge a book by its cover” is certainly applicable for Nancy Lynn Jarvis’s book The Murder House. As Realtor Regan McHenry takes on the task of creatively marketing the murder house where a double murder took place almost 2 decades ago, her initial cozy look and feel of the house would evaporate by a series of events and calamities.As young eccentric Stevie purchases the house his relatives become evident most notably his murder victim father Roger Commons. Just who was the murderer years ago and could this be linked to the murder victim found buried near the property? This Bonny Doon home would serve a severe lesson also to any innocent victim willing to barge in uninvited. Realtor Regan McHenry will find herself moved in a detective type role where relationship dynamics will be uncovered and each layer will consistently confuse even the best of murder mystery solvers. Just when the evidence seems convincing will Jarvis throw a twist and more facts your way to keep you consistently off balance.The murder mystery is “all in the family” inclusive and will get you wondering:
–Was it the demons that perpetrated vengeful killings…or was it troubled minds that took their free will choice to commit these horrible murders? You will discover Stevie’s “Revenge Quest” war game did have glitches in the system that haven’t been worked out…and now never will be. Whether it be repeated ghosts or neighbors strong imaginations-you will be left to decide when all is said or done.Put on your murder mystery hat and be ready to get a full body workout. It will , like it did Regan, perhaps keep you up late at night. This clever Author has used her 25 year tenure as a Realtor in the Santa Cruz area to shape her scenarios with another fine book to her credit. Jarvis seemed to have made the best “move” of all leaving her full time realtor job to pursue her writing endeavors.
It was a pleasing house, cozy rather than spacious, like something Thomas Kincaid might have imagined for one of his paintings. The board and batten siding was painted a creamy color as comforting as a glass of warm milk. The window sashes were done in humble cranberry and the front door was a deep forest green set off by a polished brass kick-plate and equally bright handle trim that glinted in the afternoon sun.
Redwood trees towered behind the house and at its sides, stately green and brown sentinels, but the house was south facing so they didn’t cast a pall of shadows over it like they would have on a less perfectly situated dwelling. Trees had probably grown in front of the house at some point, too, given the nature of forests; if any had though, they had been removed.
Broad brick steps interspersed with pocket-sized patios that jutted into the manicured proximate gardens cascaded from the elevated house to the rich green lawns and guest parking below.
Regan climbed out of her car and took in the house and its surroundings.
“You’re picture perfect, aren’t you?” She spoke to the house as if it were an animate being. “You’re supposed to be a derelict with a cruel past, but you look comfortable and charming. When did that happen? When did you, the most notorious house in Bonny Doon, take up such welcoming and benign airs?”
She ducked back into her car, grabbed her briefcase, and started up the steps. She had done her research for the meeting — she liked being prepared — but had already decided her visit was as much about getting a read on the house and its owner as it was about getting the listing. If her instincts told her there was anything untoward about either of them, she’d take a pass.
She remembered walking into a house in Aptos once where the hair on the back of her neck stood up the moment she crossed the threshold. She had turned on her heel and fled — she couldn’t even preview the house, let alone show it to buyers — because there was something palpably cold and menacing that she sensed immediately. She planned to leave this house just as quickly if she picked up a similarly bad vibe.
Regan rang the doorbell and took a step backward, facing the door while she waited for the owner to open it, unwilling to turn her back on the house to enjoy the gardens like she would have done at any other property.
A brutal double murder had taken place inside the house almost two decades earlier and the killer had never been caught. One of the victims was a real estate broker, Roger Commons, a man she had met when she was in her early twenties and brand new to the business, who got by more on his charisma and good looks than his negotiating skills. The other victim was one of the house’s owners, a female client of his.
The coroner had determined both had died at the same time or at least so close together in time that it was impossible to determine who died first. The female owner’s throat had been slit, the realtor had been bludgeoned to death; but from the location of the bodies, the blood spatter in the bedroom where the owner’s body was found, and the gore that corresponded with the broker’s body in the entry foyer, it was clear they had not died together. There were rumors the house was haunted.
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