Thursday 17 February 2022

Book ~ "Batten Down the Belfry" (2022) Diane Kelly

From Goodreads ~ Here is the church, here is the steeple ...

Carpenter Whitney Whitaker and her cousin, Buck, have successfully flipped houses but this is the first time they’ve attempted to renovate a house of worship. Still the colorful stained glass in the country church has caught Whitney’s eye and she’d love to breathe new life into the abandoned building. What’s more, the place has perfect acoustics. Could the worship hall be reborn as an entertainment venue with its parsonage repurposed as a pre-show bistro?

Open the doors and see all the trouble ...

The owner of the horse farm next door has asserted a legal claim to the church property, rendering their title uncertain. If that’s not bad enough, while rehabbing the church, Whitney’s cat, Sawdust, discovers a bombshell in the bell tower - the body of the man who’d delivered their beautiful new replacement windows. What transpired in the spire? Who rang the man’s bell and why?

The steeple is keeping its secrets and, when a second body turns up, things become even less clear. Can Whitney help Detective Collin Flynn solve the crimes before someone else is sent to meet their maker?

Whitney and her cousin, Buck, buy fixer-uppers, repair them and then flip them for a profit and then move on to their next project.  They buy an old church and parsonage and instead of selling them, they envision the property as a playhouse and bistro.  Whitney's best friend (and Buck's girlfriend), Colette, is a chef and is excited to run the bistro.

After some windows are delivered, Whitney discovers the delivery man dead in the bell tower.  Whitney's boyfriend, Collin, is the police detective in charge of finding the killer.  Then a couple days later, Whitney and Buck see their neighbour next door, who they were having issues with, dead in his yard.  Are the deaths connected or just a coincidence?

I've read many books by this author and though the whodunnit is a bit convoluted, I thought this one was okay.  Though it's the fourth in the House-Flipper series, it works as a stand alone (I've read the first three).  It was a quick light read and is a "cozy mystery" so there is no swearing, violence or adult activity (there's no heat at all between Whitney and Collin).

I liked the writing style.  It is written in first person perspective from Whitney's point of view and third person perspective from Sawdust's point of view (which is funny since it's written from the perspective of Whitney's cat), although Sawdust wasn't in this book much.

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