Mortar and Murder by Jennie Bentley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In early April, Derek and Avery begin renovating their latest project, a 1783 center-chimney Colonial on the verge of collapse on a small island off the coast of Maine. All is well until they spot the body of a young woman floating in the water. At first they try to stay out of it and let the police do their job, but...that doesn't last long. Not when the girl has a slip of paper with cyrillic writing on it, including the name of their realtor, Irina. Soon they are stumbling over another body and snooping around empty houses, finding secret smugglers' rooms and more cyrillic names. Is Irina's subsequent disappearance a sign of innocence, or is she involved in the human-trafficking ring?
Jennie Bentley is getting better and better at writing cozy mysteries--this time I didn't figure out the bad guys until the very end! I had my suspicions about a few of the red herrings and scattered clues, but I was successfully surprised to discover who was behind the murders. Hooray!
I like the home design/renovation tips at the ends of these books and in this case, I also like the explanation of some of the historical practices such as sailcloth rugs, poor man's runners, and Colonial paneling. Chances are slim to none that I'll ever do such things myself, but I find them interesting nonetheless.
For readers' advisors: story and character doorways, a few more mild sexual innuendos and references than in previous books, but still no sex scenes and very little swearing.
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