Reviewer: Connie Payne
Title: Spackled and Spooked - 2nd in the Do-It-Yourself Mystery series
Author: Jennie Bentley
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Release Date: August 2009
Genre/Sub-genre: Cozy/Series Mystery
Year/Setting: Present day, Waterfield Maine
Overall Rating: 3.75
Sexual Content Rating: None
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: None/Mild
Violent Content Rating: Minimal/Moderate
Jennie's Website: jenniebentley.com
Avery Baker was a textile designer in New York. A cheating boyfriend and the inheritance of her Aunt’s old Victorian cottage played a huge part in her decision to stay in Waterfield Maine. Of course sexy home renovator Derek Ellis had something to do with that decision. They made a good team. At least they did when they restored and renovated Aunt Inga’s house. So it was an easy decision to become business partners. They would buy, renovate, and sell.
Good idea, or it would have been had the first house they bought not been "haunted." Footsteps and noises and eerie feelings won’t keep them off schedule, but finding human remains on the property will. The question is was there more to the murders that took place in the home twenty-years ago or has someone taken advantage of a long empty house and committed a deadly crime?
With the house being cordoned off as a crime scene for the time being, Avery has time to question the neighbors, and do some sleuthing. She uncovers several interesting tidbits and a few good leads that may or may not pan out. She has lots of theories with very few answers, but she presses on. Even when her life is in danger and practically passes before her eyes she’s determined to catch a ghost, or a killer, or both and put the mystery to rest. Living long enough to do so though is a concern.
I like Avery. She’s impetuous, yet has a good head on her shoulders. Most of the time. Her compassion and tenacity is very admirable. She’s fun and gives everything (renovating, friendship, sleuthing, Derek) her all.
The chemistry between Avery and Derek is easy going with enough sparks thrown in to make it interesting. There are no hiccups or stalled moments in the reading as the pace is fast yet even. The ensemble of supporting characters is quite helpful. With romance and wit, danger and subterfuge, there’s much to recommend the story.
That’s why you don’t mind that there’s not a lot of mystery to the mystery…Sure, there are definitely moments of surprise and anxiety for both Avery and the reader as well as some questions that go unanswered until the end, however, some readers won’t have to do a lot of supposing or backtracking to figure a number of things out. But that’s ok…
Spackled and Spooked engages thoughts and senses on a variety of levels. Perhaps that’s due to Ms. Bentley’s writing, which is smooth, clever, and witty. This series is a winner!
Question or comment regarding the review or the book? Click here and let Connie know.