4.5/5 Sprawling Mansions
On The Back:
Contractor and part-time sleuth Shannon Hammer specializes in improving the quirks and flaws of the Victorian homes in Lighthouse Cove, California. The quirks and flaws of their residents are another story….
Valentine’s Day is approaching, and while Shannon is delighted to be friends with not one but two handsome men, not everyone in town is feeling the love. After her elderly neighbor Jesse Hennessey fails to make his daily appearance at the local diner, Shannon swings by his place to check on him. Not only does she find Jesse dead—of an apparent heart attack—but she also realizes that his home has been ransacked.
Someone suggests that a thief was searching for a priceless necklace Jesse claimed to have retrieved from a capsized sailing ship, but Shannon doesn’t believe it. Everyone knows Jesse had a penchant for constructing tall tales—like the one about him having a hot new girlfriend. But his death is soon ruled a homicide, and shady suspects begin popping out of the woodwork. When another victim turns up dead, Shannon is convinced she must find the killer before someone else gets nailed….
I put off reading this book for so long, and I honestly don’t know why. I had gotten the first chapter read and then set it down and never picked it back up about a year ago, so when I saw it at my local thrift store for a quarter I picked it up. I am so glad I did! This book was the perfect cozy; laid back, lots of clues and suspects, and a wonderful cast of characters.
The characters were an absolute pleasure to read about. Shannon was funny, normal, and realistic enough that I genuinely liked her, even if she was a bit too serious in her ‘detecting’ for my taste. Mac, Jane, and Eric were also wonderful supporting characters. I really hope Eric takes a bigger role in the next book and we learn more about his past, however. There’s a small love triangle brewing but Shannon’s mot in an actual relationship with either man, so it works.
The mystery was wonderfully plotted; I was 99% sure I knew who the killer was and then I was taken aback by who it actually was. The setting was also riveting; I love the fact that the entire town is a historic landmark.
Overall a superb mystery; I will be reading the next one. Highly recommend!