Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Book Review - A Deadly Grind

A Deadly Grind (Vintage Kitchen Mystery #1)
Author:  Victoria Hamilton
Publisher:  Berkley
Publication Date:  May 1, 2012
3 Stars

Jaymie Leighton is thrilled that a Hoosier brand kitchen cabinet is up for auction at a local estate sale.  Even though kitchen space is at a premium in her home,  Jaymie feels that this is a must have piece for her vintage kitchen collection.  Her older sister, who also lives with her part time, is not happy that Jamie wants to bring more “junk” into what she deems is an already overcrowded home.  Going against her sister’s wish, Jaymie enters the bidding for the Hoosier cabinet.  During the bidding process, an argument breaks out, and some people become distracted by it.  Jaymie keeps her head in the game though and manages to land the winning bid.  She also snags some vintage cookbooks and some old sewing goods.  

Once home, Jaymie is perplexed how she will get the cabinet into her house.  Luckily at that moment, Brett, a guest of the next door B&B, overhears her problem and offers to help move it into the house.  He suggests just moving it into the summer porch and Jaymie agrees that that is a great spot for it until she can get it all cleaned up.  

During the night, something happens on that porch.  When Jaymie and her sister make it downstairs, they find a dead man in the summer porch.  The police are summoned, and they have a lot of questions for Jaymie and her sister, but they have very few answers.  They don’t know who the man was, why he was in their house, or how he ended up dead.  Jaymie thinks the answer must lie somewhere in her auction purchases, but she is not able to pinpoint anything.  Will she be able to figure things out before it is too late?  Or will tragedy strike again?

I loved the set up of the murder victim and the mystery in this story.  I thought it was unique and well played out.  We have an out of towner who seemingly breaks into the home of a local family.  There do not appear to be any clues as to who he is, why he broke into the house, who killed him, and there doesn’t appear to be anything taken.  I enjoyed all the twists and turns the story took and how the story came together and successfully wrapped up.

I also enjoyed the unique setting of this book.  It takes place in Queensville, Michigan, and it is right next door to Johnsonville, Ontario.  The two towns share a special bond and celebrate shared holidays from both countries.  

One problem I had with this story is Jaymie’s naivety.  For example Brett asks a lot of questions that would have caused me to be a little leery of him.  Now maybe they just seemed suspicious to me because I knew I was reading a mystery and something nefarious was bound to happen.  However, I think if a stranger showed up at  just the right time and asked the questions he did, I would have warning bells going off.  Jaymie’s behaviors in general, seem like those of a much younger person rather than that of the thirty-two year old she is.

I think this series has a lot of great potential.  I think Jaymie’s character just needs a little ironing out.  The other pieces of the pie are already there and are well developed.  There are quite a few books in this series already written, and I’m looking forward to working my way through them.

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