The Festivals in the Kelly Jackson Mystery Series by Janet Finsilver

My series takes place in Redwood Cove, a small fictitious town based on Mendocino, California, on the Pacific coast in the northern part of the state. Because of Mendocino’s remote location and the twisty roads a visitor needs to travel to get there, the community offers a wide array of events and festivals to attract tourists.

I’ve woven one these into each of my books. In Murder at Redwood Cove my affair is called A Taste of Chocolate and Wine Festival, although A Taste of Chocolate, Wine, and Ale is the name of the actual happening. Huge tents are set up and numerous tables are filled with—you guessed it—chocolate, wine, and ale!

The last one I attended had many beautiful and delicious artisan candies and cookies. It wasn’t all sweets, however. There were also entrees and side dishes using chocolate in the recipes. The area is known for its wine, and there were many to choose from. For those who preferred ale, that was available as well.

In addition to the food and drink, local businesses donated items for a raffle. Different bands played throughout the day. People could sit or dance as they enjoyed the afternoon. At the most recent one, the money raised went to the Mendocino Art Center.

Whales migrate past the area so Mendocino hosts a Whale Festival in honor of the giant aquatic mammals. Whale Frolic in Murder at the Mansion is based on this event. The morning starts with chowder sampling. The doors of the Crown Hall built in 1901 are flung open and people flood in. One side of the room is lined with tables holding huge pots of steaming soup. Representatives from the local restaurants donating the chowder ladle samples for attendees. The opposite side of the room has many tables with local crafts and other items for sale.

That is only the beginning. In the afternoon local establishments offer wine and appetizers throughout the town. Free shuttle buses are available for transportation to the different sites. It’s a fun, full day!

Winesong takes place in the Mendocino Botanical Gardens and is a magical experience. I used it to create Wine and Flowers in Murder at the Fortuneteller’s Table. Walkways meander through redwood trees and grassy open areas. Tables filled with wine and food occupy each glen. Many different types of musicians play at various spots.

An auction takes place at the end of the food and wine event. People have an opportunity to view the different lots before bidding. The money raised benefits the Mendocino Coast District Hospital.

Recently, Mendocino had its annual Mushroom Festival, which I am using in my fourth book tentatively titled Murder at the the Mushroom Festival. I’ve been attending classes and learning about fungi. I’ll be posting some of my findings on my website.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this summary of the Redwood Cove festivals!


Poisons, prophecies—and a peculiar past . . .

When a local woman begins searching for a couple she hasn’t seen since the 1960s, Redwood Cove Bed and Breakfast manager Kelly Jackson and the crime-solving group, the “Silver Sentinels,” are quick to help out. They’re also quick to guess that they’re in over their heads after the woman is found dead beside the body of a Greek fortune teller—and a fellow Sentinel gets attacked. As Kelly juggles work and her responsibilities at a food and wine festival in town, she and her sleuthing posse must confront a killer obsessed with old secrets . . . and solve a murder mystery more than fifty years in the making . . .