Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Deadly Grind (Vintage Kitchen Mystery #1), by Victoria Hamilton (author), Emily Woo Zeller (narrator)

Tantor Media, ISBN 9781452617169, October 2013 (original publication May 2012)

Jaymie Leighton, vintage kitchenware collector and cookbook writer, buys an original 1920s Hoosier brand kitchen cabinet/work center, over the objections of her sister and some rather spirited rival bidding. She takes her treasure home, and temporarily leaves it on the summer porch, until she can rearrange the kitchen to make best use of it.

Late that night, she and her sister are awakened by a shout, a crash, and Jaymie's dog, Hopalong, barking. On the porch they find a dead man, a stranger, apparently killed by a blow from a meat grinder pulled loose from the Hoosier.

The dead body on her porch is upsetting enough. Jaymie, though, lives in small town Queensville, Michigan, just across the border from London, Ontario, where her sister Rebecca lives and runs an antique china business. She knows everyone in town, and everyone knows her, and that means she almost certainly knows, or has at least met, the killer. Jaymie just can't do the sensible thing, and leave it for the police to investigate.

We get a lively look at life in Queensville, where Jaymie is active in the local historical society, has to cope with frequent encounters with her ex-boyfriend Joel and his new love, Heidi, and deals with the loving over-protectiveness of her sister and the friends they share, who are mostly Rebecca's age, i.e., fifteen years older than Jaymie. Closer to her own age is Anna, owner with her husband Clive of the bed & breakfast next door to Jaymie.

And then there are the two new guys in Jaymie's life. Daniel Collins is the wealthy new owner of the historic mansion where the Queensville Historical Society runs Tea With the Queen, a Victorian tea held every spring just before Memorial Day and the official start of the summer tourist season. He's cute, kind, and helpful in addition to being wealthy, and he's started showing an interest in Jaymie. Zachary Christian is the homicide detective investigating the death on her porch, a recent transplant from Chicago, and very, very attractive.

And then there's Hopalong, a.k.a. Hoppy, her three-legged little dog, whom she should listen to when he tries to tell her there's something wrong outside, and her cat, Denver, who is a much better judge of character than either she or Hoppy.

There were times when I wanted to smack Jaymie for not paying attention or doing really unwise things, but this is overall a fun, enjoyable, interesting book, and I look forward to more in the series.

Recommended for anyone who enjoys cozies.

I borrowed this book from the library.

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