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A Bat in the Belfry
Home Repair Is Homicide Mysteries, Book 16
Sarah Graves

April 30, 2013 / ISBN 978-0345534996
Fiction / Cozy Mystery

Reviewed by Linda Morelli

Jacobia (Jake) Tiptree lives in Eastport, Maine, and is remarried and happily involved in the ongoing rehab of her old house. I love her interaction with her best friend Ellie White, who, along with Jake, form an informal sleuthing duo. When asked to check the steeple on the two-hundred-year-old All Faith Chapel, they discover that the steeple won't survive the approaching storm. Then, a 14 year-old girl is discovered in the steeple, her throat cut. Eastport police Chief Bob Arnold immediately locks down the town.

Lizzie Snow arrives in Eastport to find her missing niece. She settles into a motel and, during an evening stroll, sees a young man near the chapel. Lizzie speaks with law enforcement at the crime scene while avoiding her former lover, Dylan Hudson, now with the Eastport police. An ex-cop with a strong incentive to succeed, Lizzie learns that Dylan has information that can lead to finding her last surviving relative, but he wants to rekindle their relationship. The police arrest Chip Hahn, a guest of Jake's son, Sam, and their main suspect. But the weather isn't the only storm brewing: the dead girl's father wants to avenge her murder, and Sam willingly places his life in danger to save his friend.

It's clear from the first few pages that this isn't the first book in the series, but the author engaged me immediately with her charming characters, and with their realistic emotions and reactions. Sarah Graves' writing has a charming touch of humor, but it's her solid, fast-paced plot with its many twists and turns that kept me entranced to the very end … and yearning for more. I will definitely read her past releases. Most of all, I loved Lizzie's character who, in my mind, is worthy of her own series.

Reviewer Linda Morelli is the award winning author of three published romance novels.
Reviewed 2013