The Book of Old Houses (Home Repair Is Homicide Mysteries)
by Sarah Graves
Review by Gayle Surrette
Bantam Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780553588033
Date: 25 November 2008 List Price $6.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Links: Interview: Sarah Graves / Show Official Info /
Dave DiMaio believes he knows exactly who killed Horace Robtham and he's out for revenge. But once he gets to Eastport, Maine and meets Jacobia "Jake" Tiptree and begins to ask questions, he's not so sure. As he searches for the killer on his own, Jake and her friend and investigating partner Ellie decide they also should be looking into what happened and why.
While the mystery is intriguing and has enough twists and turns to fill a book all on its own, there are some other problems. Jake, in a fit of bathroom fury, had demolished her one and only bathroom. She's also supposed to host an afternoon gathering for the ladies of Eastport to celebrate the contributions to the town of Merrie Fargeorge who had recently retired from teaching at the local school. That's without Bella, her cook, and her father having a spat that leaves tension running high whenever they're in the same room.
Graves manages to balance all these various threads and yet maintains enough tension on the main mystery to keep you turning the pages while filling you in on what's happening with the major characters that have become mainstays of the series. Eastport may be a small town but as Agatha Christie's Miss Marple proved so well that doesn't mean that crime doesn't occur, it just makes it harder to solve because you know, or think your know, all the players.
Beyond the mystery, you learn more about books, book-making, repairing houses, and get to visit a wonderful area and learn more of its history. Continuing series give a reader a chance to get to know the main characters and drop in for updates on their lives and share their adventures. The Home Repair is Homicide series delivers on all fronts.