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Title: Batten Down the Belfry
Author: Diane Kelly
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: March 1, 2022
Page Count: 297
My rating: 4 1/2 stars
About the book:
Batten Down the Belfry is the fourth in the delightful cozy mystery series from Diane Kelly set in Nashville, Tennessee—where the real estate market is to die for.
Here is the church, here is the steeple…
Carpenter Whitney Whitaker and her cousin Buck have successfully flipped houses, but this is the first time they’ve attempted to renovate a house of worship. Still, the colorful stained glass in the country church has caught Whitney’s eye, and she’d love to breathe new life into the abandoned building. What’s more, the place has perfect acoustics. Could the worship hall be reborn as an entertainment venue with its parsonage repurposed as a pre-show bistro?
Open the doors, and see all the trouble.
The owner of the horse farm next door has asserted a legal claim to the church property, rendering their title uncertain. If that’s not bad enough, while rehabbing the church, Whitney’s cat Sawdust discovers a bombshell in the bell tower—the body of the man who’d delivered their beautiful new replacement windows. What transpired in the spire? Who rang the man’s bell and why?
The steeple is keeping its secrets and, when a second body turns up, things become even less clear. Can Whitney help Detective Collin Flynn solve the crimes before someone else is sent to meet their maker?
Batten Down the Belfry by Diane Kelly is the fourth book in the cozy House-Flipper Mystery series. As with most cozy mysteries each of these books in the series could be read as a standalone if choosing to do so as the mystery within is fully solved during the book. There is of course some character development carried over book to book for those fans following in order from the beginning.
In the House-Flipper Mystery series Whitney Whitaker had been working as a property manager to pay the bills while she had been living in her parents pool house with her cat, Sawdust. Real estate and renovating were really Whitney’s passions so whenever she got the chance she was diving into the house flipping business with her cousin Buck.
This time around Whitney her cousin Buck have purchased and old church that has been sitting empty for years. When they arrive at the property though they find they aren’t quite welcomed by the new neighbor who thinks he owns their land. As Whitney and Buck wait for court date to settle the dispute they begin work regardless but unfortunately a delivery driver ends up murdered in the building while they are away leaving Whitney to figure out just what happened.
The House-Flipper Mystery series is another that I have followed from the beginning and have really enjoyed so far. This one goes right along with my love for all things HGTV, cute kitty cats and a quirky fun story to get me laughing. Cute Sawdust the kitty gets his own point of view often stealing the show which I love. Whitney also has a detective boyfriend helping solve the cases which I also enjoy. This fourth book in the series landed at four and a half starts for me so I’ll definitely be on the look out for book five.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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About the author:
A former tax advisor, Diane Kelly inadvertently worked with white-collar criminals more than once. Not surprisingly, Diane decided self-employment would be a good idea. Her fingers hit the keyboard and thus began her Death and Taxes romantic mystery series. A graduate of her hometown’s Citizen Police Academy, Diane Kelly also writes the hilarious K-9 cop Paw Enforcement series, the Busted female motorcycle cop series, and the House Flipper cozy mystery series. 2021 marked the debut of her new Southern Homebrew moonshine series and her Mountain Lodge Mysteries with The Moonshine Shack Murder and Getaway with Murder.
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