A Bat in the Belfry
A Home Repair Is Homicide Mystery
Random House Publishing Group
When it comes to home repair, Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree is a fervent wielder of power drills and paint brushes. And when catching criminals, she’s been known to really bring down the hammer. But when a shocking murder rocks the small town of Eastport, Maine, Jake may be the next victim for whom the bell tolls.
It is nearly midnight when the enormous bell in the belfry of All Faith Chapel—silent for decades—booms forth, startling awake the entire town of Eastport. Upon inspection of the steeple, the police uncover the body of local teenager Karen Hansen, who had climbed the belfry’s dark, rickety stairs for a midnight rendezvous. But instead of the promise of an exciting new life, Karen meets her death.
Meanwhile, as an epic nor’easter bears down on the idyllic island town, Jake Tiptree hurries to shore up her ramshackle old house against the big blow. An amateur detective, she has sworn off chasing criminals. But when the news of Karen’s murder spreads and much of the evidence points to Jake’s likable houseguest, she and her sleuthing partner, Ellie White, get to work.
They discover an unexpected ally in newcomer Lizzie Snow, a woman from “away” who seemed to have blown into town with the nor’easter, and who also seems to know a lot about the mind of a killer. Can Jake and Ellie trust her? As a killer roams free and the townsfolk struggle against the pounding, screaming storm, the resulting tempest of gossip and suspicion rivals anything the Atlantic could brew up—and threatens to keep Jake and Ellie from putting the final nail in this cold-blooded case.
Complete with Home Repair Is Homicide repair tips!
I should first point out that I am not familiar with any of the author’s previous works and had not read any of the previous novels in the Home Repair is Homicide Mystery books. I was not familiar with the main character – Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree. Despite this lack of history I enjoyed the humour , the “ home repair tips” at the beginning of the chapters which alluded to more than the literal meaning of the advice, the well developed and likable characters and the and the use of colloquial language in this novel. I chuckled along with the writer. I heard myself speak in some of Jake’s witticisms; some of the thoughts she shared only with reader were also my thoughts. I applauded Jake’s attitude to life, her just get on with it attitude, her sense of humour and her honesty (even if only spoken in thoughts directed to the reader). I liked being privy to this thoughts. I was, however, a little confused at times by the various and many perspectives the author used to tell her story – I often found myself turning back pages to make sure I fully understood whose voice I was now listening too. Maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention.
Despite this I found the plot intriguing, the action fast paced and the humour a wonderful refreshing change. I want to know more about Lizzie Snow and her search and her life after this novel. I wanted to know what happened next to Jake’s son; I wanted to discover Jake’s history and learn more of her and Ellie’s previous adventures. I can understand why Sarah Graves has developed a strong following; readers who know and love her main characters and the town she lives in. Her style is very inclusive. All in all an enjoyable read.