Happy Publication Day to my dear friend, Diane Kelly!
With her trademarked wit, Diane Kelly delivers another fantastic cozy mystery with Dead in The Doorway: A House-Flipper Mystery (book 2). The book releases today (3/31/2020) so be sure to order your copy now. Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s press for my advanced reader copy.
Whitney Whitaker and her cousin, Buck, purchase a fixer-upper from two brothers whose mother recently died of a stroke. In exchange for a cheaper price, the brothers left a lot of their mother Lillian’s personal effects in the home, including her many blue ribbons for her famous peach desserts. Unfortunately, Lillian’s recipe box does not contain any of her award-winning recipes.
The home sits in a cul de sac on Songbird Circle, where most of the neighbors have become life-long friends. On demo day, Whitney arrives early only to find the front door is blocked. She enters through the garage and is shocked to find not only the dead body of Nelda Dolan, a neighbor, blocking the door but also the former owner’s grandson, Dakota Walsh, coming down the stairs. It turns out no one really liked Nelda, including her own husband and daughter.
The plot has many possible suspects including Dakota and his father, Wayne; all of the neighbors in the cul de sac; a ride-share driver who seems to have a secret; an unknown burglar who breaks into one of the houses; and Nelda’s family. The big question is whether Nelda was killed for trying to take Lillian’s prized recipes from a secret hiding place that Whitney’s cat, Sawdust, was able to locate?
With a murder threatening the resale value of the house, Whitney is determined to resolve the case as quickly as possible. There is a sweet storyline where Whitney and Buck give a second chance to a young man who needs some direction in his life.
The novel has hints of two possible romances, first between Whitney and Detective Flynn and second, between Whitney’s roommate Collette and her cousin Buck. The story ends with Whitney and Buck looking at an old motel near downtown Nashville that is going up for a tax sale. I can’t wait for the third installment of the series to see what blossoms.