Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Plaster and Poison-Jennie Bentley

Plaster and Poison
Jennie Bentley
Berkley, Mar 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425233450

After inheriting her great Aunt Irene’s home in Waterfield, Maine, New York designer Avery Baker decides to settle in the small-town. Her decision has a lot to do with Derek Ellis, who she has come to care about while renovating her new home; he reciprocates her deep regard. Avery joins Derek in his business Waterfield Renovation & Restoration. They are between jobs so when her best friend Kate asks her to redesign her carriage house that adjoins her B&B so she and her fiancé Wayne can reside there, Avery agrees.

Kate is also worried about her daughter Shannon; Avery and Derek understand why as they have observed her with an older man on several occasions. One day at the carriage house, they find the body of the man seen with Shannon. He turns out to be her father who came to Maine to see his daughter after learning from the newspaper she was coming into a nice inheritance. The death casts suspicion on Shannon, Kate and Wayne who is the Chief of Police. Avery investigates in hopes her new friend’s wedding can take place without a hitch. Derek’s assistant Beatrice disappears without a word to anyone. She was last seen at her place of work which also happened to be the abode of Shannon’s late father. Avery assumes the vanishing and the homicide are linked, but has no idea how.

The third Do-It-Yourself mystery (see Spackled and Spooked, and Fatal Fixer-Upper) is a delightful small-town Maine amateur sleuth with crimes that seem unrelated on the surface, but scraping at the grime leads to some interesting results. Avery is a caring person who risks herf life trying to solve the whodunit with less information available to her than the cops possess. Although her reasoning for sleuthing is shaky, her inquiry is solid and entertaining as Plaster and Poison is a pull no punches mystery.

Harriet Klausner