Readers who are also viewers of the myriad home improvement shows flooding television networks will find plenty to delight them in TOOL & DIE, the eighth book in the "Home Repair is Homicide" mystery series. Not only does Sarah Graves spin an entertaining story, she also includes home repair tips throughout the book.
Eastport is located on Moose Island, seven miles off the coast of Maine "and so far downeast that it's almost in Canada." Despite its rural location, life here is anything but dull. For Jacobia "Jake" Tiptree --- Wall Street executive turned small-town gal turned resident snoop --- there is no shortage of fixer-uppers, whether it's the rambling house she lives in or one of her fellow Eastport residents.
Jake and her best friend, Ellie, have yet to encounter a problem they can't solve. So when Jake wins a month of housekeeping services at a church fair, she's determined to get to the bottom of Bella Diamond's hygienic but unhealthy compulsion for cleanliness. It turns out that Bella has been hiding her anxiety at receiving life-threatening letters behind a broom and a mop. Her ex-husband, newly released from prison, is the likely suspect…until he turns up dead after being whacked in the head with a cast iron skillet. Snooping is rarely risk-free, and Jake and Ellie soon find themselves tangling with a cunning killer.
This well-crafted mystery is filled with twists, turns, clever dialogue, and a cast of characters so endearing you'll be ready to move into one of the spare bedrooms in Jake's house. If you're new to the series, TOOL & DIE is a fine place to start. As you're reading you'll know there are plenty more adventures with Jake and company to go back and savor.
If you want to know how to fix a hairline plaster crack, you'll find the answer in TOOL & DIE. And if it's a witty, enjoyable whodunit you're seeking to while away the afternoon with, you'll find that here too.
Reviewed by Shannon McKenna on May 4, 2011