Published for the first time in the UK, Sarah Graves mixes death with DIY in this delightful mystery series.
People hardly ever lock their doors in Eastport. So when Jake and her best friend, Ellie, arrive at Faye Anne Carmody's kitchen door, they knock and walk right in. But though Christmas is just two weeks away, what they find is far from festive: a dazed Faye Anne covered with blood, and her no-good husband - the town butcher, Merle - nowhere in sight. Nowhere, that is, until Jake discovers his body - tidily wrapped in his own butcher paper....
It doesn't take long for news of the murder to race through the small town, and just about everyone has a theory about the grisly crime that has robbed Eastport of its least-liked citizen. But while police chief Bob Arnold considers it an open-and-shut case, Jake and Ellie aren't convinced of Faye Anne's guilt.
Jake has enough going on in her life without trying to investigate a murder. After all, she's just married her longtime love, Wade, and the pair plan to spend the winter rehabilitating the paint-encrusted windows in Jake's old house.
But Jake has to admit that there are a lot of details that don't add up: for example, Faye Anne's complaint that she was being stalked, and blood-splattered evidence at the crime scene that just doesn't make sense. Then there is the diary that Faye Anne's secret, sometime boyfriend claims is hidden somewhere in her house. Could Faye Anne's own journal be the key to unlocking an even more fiendish murder plot, or is her double-crossing lover trying to frame her?
When yet another Eastport citizen turns up dead, Jake realizes the murderer's trail began long before the night Merle Carmody died. But what keeps eluding her and Ellie is the motive behind the mystery. The truth is so close, they can almost taste it - but can they stop the shrewd killer before he chisels another victim's name onto a tombstone?
Graves's characters are very human creations, warts and all, with Jake in particular making fine company. - Publishers Weekly
No cozy this, it's amusing, cynical, yet warm, populated with nice and nasty characters and some dirty secrets... All the ingredients fit the dish of delicious crime chowder... I am already drooling for [Jake's] return. - Booknews from The Poisoned Pen
Anyone who can mix slaughter and screwdrivers is a genius. Plus, anyone who has bought a home that needs even a new toilet seat is probably consumed with murderous thoughts. - Boston Herald
Like the old Victorian homes she describes... Graves' stories seem to grow better with the passing of time... Readers who enjoy solving mysteries and fixing up older homes will appreciate Jake's do-it-yourself expertise in both areas. - Booklist
A sleuth as tough as the nails she drives into the walls of her 1823 Federal home enhances a clever plot, which comes to an unexpected and explosive conclusion. Many will relish the vividly described Down East setting, but for anyone who's ever enjoyed making a home repair it's the accurate details of the restoration of Jake's old house that will appeal. - Publishers Weekly
Think Diane Mott Davidson with a tool belt instead of recipes! - Denver Post