Thursday 2 February 2023

Book ~ "Primer and Punishment" (2023) Diane Kelly

From Goodreads ~ Carpenter Whitney Whitaker and her cousin Buck are looking once again to rehab and resell a house, only this particular house is made of fiberglass, floats and has been dubbed the Skinny Dipper. The old houseboat sure could use some work but the unusual project has Whitney bubbling with excitement.

The charming and handsome Grant Hardisty lives on the cabin cruiser in the adjacent slip but the cousins soon learn he’s left a half dozen angry ex-wives in his wake and made enemies of all sorts of unsavory folks. The man is clearly caught in an increasingly dangerous current with no life preserver in sight.

Whitney and Buck are spraying primer on their houseboat when - KABOOM! - Grant’s boat blows sky high with the man himself inside. Detective Collin Flynn has no shortage of suspects but the waters become muddied when several of them confess to the crime. Is one of those who confessed truly guilty, or are they taking a dive for someone else? When anonymous threats are made against the cousins, Whitney must quickly determine who killed their neighbour at the lake or she and Buck might also be sunk.

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.  This time they buy something different ... a houseboat.  It should only take a couple weeks to renovate it so they move in.  In the meantime, Buck and Collette, Whitney's best friend and roommate, are getting married and the houseboat would be the perfect spot to have the bachelorette and bachelor parties.

Docked next door to the Skinny Dipper is Grant, who is currently not working because he recently had an accident and needs a cane to walk.  But that doesn't stop him from going fishing with buddies or looking for wife #6 (wife #5 is in the process of divorcing him so he needs to sucker someone else into supporting him).  His boat blows up one day, luckily out in the water so no other boats were damaged, and Grant is killed.  Was it an accident or murder?

I've read many books by this author and I thought this one was okay.  Though it's the fifth in the House-Flipper series, it works as a stand alone (I've read the first four).  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).  It is written in first person perspective from Whitney's point of view and third person perspective from Sawdust, Whitney's cat's point of view.

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