Batten Down the Belfry
(House-Flipper Mystery #4)
by Diane Kelly
I requested this when I saw it on NetGalley; I read the first book, Dead As A Doorknocker, a few weeks ago, so it was nice to have that background when I started this one. Buck, Whitney and Sawdust are back, this time they’ve just bought an old, disused church and parsonage with plans to turn it into a playhouse and café entertainment value. But trouble begins before they can even swing a hammer when adjacent property owner Nolan claims he owns the property, a delivery man is found dead after delivering stained glass windows, and then Nolan himself is found dead. Are the deaths related? Whitney and Sawdust go to work to find a murderer.
I loved the first book and this one was even better, and I would say this can be read as a standalone or an entry into the series, as there were very few references to the earlier books. I love the little bits of humor and absurdity, from finding a horse standing in the middle of the church to Sawdust’s thoughts about kitty friend Cleo and the playhouse and cafe idea was amazing, definitely a place I’d love to check out!
The plot really shone in this one, I loved that the plot wasn’t one seen often in a cozy – I won’t expand on that, as it would definitely clue readers in to where to look, so there weren’t a lot of clues pointing at anyone in particular. A lot of it came down to observation, sleuthing and interviewing, but there was enough there for me to chew on as I read and I didn’t guess the culprit until the conclusion (where hero cat Sawdust saves the day yet again!) Delightful from start to finish, this is definitely a great cozy series for young and old.
Published: February 22, 2022 by St. Martin’s Press