Spackled and Spooked by Jennie Bentley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I'd have given this one 4 stars except that I again figured out who'd done it, why, and how, pretty much from the very beginning. Ditto with the other "big secret" in the story. I'm not usually that great at figuring out mystery novels, and I like it that way, so knowing all along was annoying. However, I still really enjoyed the characters and the story--watching them figure it out, that is.
This time, Avery Baker and her boyfriend Derek Ellis have purchased a vacant house to renovate and sell. It's been empty for about seventeen years, since Brian Murphy killed his wife and in-laws and then himself. Gossip says it's haunted, which Avery & Derek think is nonsense until they hear footsteps walking down the hallway with no one in sight. Then Derek discovers a human bone in the crawlspace, and suddenly there is a whole new murder for Chief Wayne to investigate, this one more recent. When the cadaver dog makes for the next door neighbor's house, the situation goes from bad to worse.
Engaging, believable characters make up for the lack of suspense, I think. It's a perfect cozy mystery: light and fun. A good beach read. Or couch read, in the event that your beach-going plans fall through. Bring on #3! (This was #2 in the Do-It-Yourself Mystery series.)
For readers' advisors: character and story doorways, no sex, and very little swearing.
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