The House of Seven Mables
Jane Jeffrey Mystery, No. 13
By Jill Churchill
Avon / William Morrow / HarperCollins - August 2002
ISBN: 0380977362 - Hardcover
Mystery / Cozy

Reviewed by Brenda Weeaks, MyShelf.Com
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Jane Jeffry in back for her thirteenth mystery in a series favorite among cozy mystery readers. It's a laid-back kind of series involving domestic sleuthing. Jane, a widow and mother, is dating Chicago detective Mel VanDyne. The latest series excerpt is a combination of mystery and domestic life with few, if any, spoilers about previous mysteries.

Bitsy Burnside is back in town and very well off. She's bought a dilapidated Victorian house to restore and has hired an all-female crew to do it. Shelly, Jane's neighbor and sleuthing partner talks Jane into joining her as Bitsy's decorators. It sounds promising, that is, if they can get past the badly written contract drawn up by Sandra, the contractor. Jane's not sure if the sentence fragments, bad grammar, and misspelling are because Sandra's credentials aren't real or because she's just plain stupid.

It turns out everyone has a problem with Sandra, that is, until someone finally puts her in her place - at the bottom of the basement steps, dead. Now it seems Jane and Shelly have a workplace full of suspects. The two spend a lot of time discussing the murder, to the point of making a chart. Since Sandra's death was a murder, VanDyne is on the case and shares facts with Jane. He also investigates the constant sabotage going on at the old house.

The suspect list is long, but domestic life is bliss with kids who are finally treating Jane with a little respect and a boyfriend who shows up for the occasional dinner and murder case. Solving the mystery of the house of seven mables isn't too hard for Jane and Shelly, but it does get a bit daring at times. The House of Seven Mabels is a cozy read that tests the mind, without taxing the soul. Churchill fans will enjoy it.


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