Mini-Review: Dead in the Doorway (Book #2: House-Flipper Mystery Series) by Diane Kelly

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A HOUSE WITH GOOD BONES: Whitney Whitaker has scored the perfect piece of real estate: a ramshackle white Colonial at the top of a hill with views of downtown Nashville. What more could a self-taught home-improvement maven and occasional house-flipper ask for? Ideally, the property of Whitney’s dreams would not have come with a dead body blocking the entrance to the foyer. But Whitney, always quick to take heavy-duty matters into her own hands, also happens to be a skilled amateur sleuth. So that helps.

AND SKELETONS IN THE CLOSET: Who is this older woman—and how did her corpse end up at the bottom of the staircase of this locked, unoccupied house? That is what Whitney, along with the support of her wood-working cousin Buck, Detective Collin Flynn, and, of course, feline partner-in-crime Sawdust, intends to find out. Her friendly-neighbour investigation takes a sharp turn, however, when Whitney discovers that the house’s former owner was a gourmet baker whose secret recipe for peach pie was to die for—perhaps literally. Now it’s up to Whitney to learn the truth about what happened before she loses this killer real-estate deal . . . and the killer comes knocking at her door.

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Source: NetGalley and St. Martin’s Paperbacks          Rating: 3½/5 stars

The Bottom Line: I liked this second installment of the House-Flipper series, but if I’m being honest, and I am, it isn’t my favorite of the genre.  That honor goes to Judi Lynn’s Jazzy Zanders Mystery series 😊  what I liked about this book is the premise: a murder of a wretched woman, a missing winning peach pie recipe, and a neighborhood full of suspects who disliked the deceased and coveted the missing recipe.  Once again, Whitney gets pulled into the investigation when the murdered woman shows up in her newly purchased flip house.  While she and her cousin would like to get on with their work and flip the house, they can’t do that until the murder is solved which means Whitney is right in the thick of it.  My favorite part of this book wasn’t the investigation, but the gaggle of neighbors who embrace Whitney as one of their own even if her stay is temporary.  The more Whitney gets to know the neighbors, the more she likes them and the closer she gets to solving the crime.  I think where this book falls a bit flat for me is in the overall telling of the story.  There isn’t a great sense of urgency, nor is there a great sense of developing the characters and making them more well-rounded.  The story and the characters seem to plod along rather than naturally and smoothly progress.  Again, if I’m being completely honest, I may feel this way because I am both consciously and unconsciously comparing this series to my preferred Judi Lynn series.  With all that being said, this is still a decent book and if you like the cozy mystery genre, it’s certainly worth a try!

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