Tuesday 9 May 2023

Dead as a Door Knocker

Finished May 2
Dead as a Door Knocker by Diane Kelly

This is the first book in a cosy mystery series, A House-Flipper Mystery, set in Nashville with the main character Whitney Whitaker. Whitney is a young woman who works in property management and is working towards getting her real estate license. Because this is a part-time job, she also works as a carpenter for her uncle's company, Whitaker Woodworking. A couple of her cousins also work for her uncle, including Buck, who has a larger role to play in this book. 
Whitney lives in what used to be a pool house in her parents' backyard with her cat Sawdust. 
As the story opens she is evicting a trio of young men from a rental house that the small company, Home & Hearth Realty, she works for manages. They've left the house in poor shape, with lots of garbage, as well as damage to walls and floors. One of the young men, Jackson becomes threatening during the eviction, but the other boys calm him down. 
Once they're gone, Whitney begins dealing with the mess, gathering up the garbage, and figuring out what work needs to be done. When the owner of the house Rick Dunaway stops by, he is dismayed by the damage and asks if Whitney would be interested in buying the house as an investment and taking it off her hands. 
So Whitney, along with her cousin Buck buy the small home and begin fixing it up. However, when things begin going wrong, from a suspicious fire to a dead body in the flower bed, Whitney finds herself dealing with the police. Detective Collin Flynn is brand new to the job and intent on proving himself, but he seems open to Whitney's ideas of who might be behind the actions directed against her. 
Whitney is impulsive and often goes headlong into situations, such as accusing those she suspects by confronting them, and this never seems to go well for her. This was the one part of the story that didn't feel right to me, given the proliferation of guns and related violence in the U.S..
Whitney has a chef friend Collette who we see a lot of in this book as well. 
Interspersed with the story are several short sections written from Sawdust's point of view, At first these were just cute, but gradually they showed their relevance to the overall plot. 
A good start to the series, with several characters I'd expect to see more of as the series progresses. 

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