Saturday, September 19, 2015

Fatal fixer-upper by Jennie Bentley

Avery Baker is happy with her life in New York, working as a textile designer alongside her French boyfriend Philippe's in the incredibly competitive world of interior design - producing custom furniture of quality and taste.  She should be happy, but there is always the little niggle in the back of her mind that her life is a little too perfect, and more specifically what Philippe sees in her.  When a letter arrives from her estranged Aunt Inga inviting her to visit her in Waterfield to discuss something important, Avery somewhat reluctantly heads up to Maine - only to find her aunt died less than a week ago.  It is a huge shock, but nowhere near as shocking to learn that her aunt has made Avery her heir, and Avery is now the proud (and somewhat confused) owner of Aunt Inga's home and all her possessions.

When she returns to New York to decide what to do about the house and property she discovers that maybe she was right to worry about Philippe after all and high tails it back to Waterfield to lick her wounds in private and see out the summer while renovating the house.  It is not going to be a straight forward renovation however, as Derek Ellis the local renovations handyman has some very clear ideas about what she should be doing (and not doing) with her house.  As if having to deal with a stubborn yet attractive handyman is not enough, Avery also has to deal with some very mysterious "going on's" in her house - including missing items and near death experiences.  There is a lot of interest in Aunt Inga's house, and if Avery is not careful she could end up in the same place as Aunt Inga - or will she just vanish like the missing history professor?

I really only discovered murder mysteries last year when one of our regular library customers suggested that I try one - and I discovered that I like/love them (depending on how well they are written).  I just adore the Miranda James "Charlie and Diesel" books, and loved the three books in the Elise Hyatt series about a furniture restorer who can't help but stumble across murder mysteries.  Fatal fixer-upper falls somewhere in between the two series in terms of pace and structure, and while it took a few chapters for me to be truly hooked, I read the book in an afternoon because I didn't want to put it down.  

The underlying murder mystery here has meat and substance, a read whodunnit that will keep you guessing as you try and untangle the suspects and clues.  The human relationships took a little getting used to, as did Avery's voice, which seemed a little condescending to begin with.  This was a great little puzzle and fun to read, I can't wait for the next book to arrive so I can see if Bentley is able to keep the pace and chemistry active through more than one story (and to see what is next for Avery and Derek).

If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla

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