Genre: cozy mystery, with vintage recipe
TO THE MANOR DEAD
The Queensville Heritage Society is restoring the once-grand Dumpe Manor. While Dumpe relatives and society members use the occasion to dust off old grudges, Jaymie Leighton prefers to adorn the kitchen with authentic Depression Era furnishings. A collection of vintage wooden mallets found in the house is a perfect addition to her display, but one also offers a late-night intruder the perfect weapon to knock Jaymie unconscious before escaping.
Though the attack has everyone on edge, nothing is missing from the house. Perhaps it was merely a vagrant who thought the place was still abandoned. But when Dumpe Manor's resident historian is murdered with a mallet from the same collection, it's time for Jaymie to turn up the heat on the investigation before someone else becomes history.
Jaymie Leighton is a very busy young lady, always working one job or the other. She helps out at the Bed and Breakfast next door when needed, she helps at the Emporium, the local store, at a local antiques shop when the owner is on a buying trip, she manages her family’s vacation home at a small island off the coast, and she has a successful business providing vintage picnic baskets. Her biggest hobby is vintage kitchen tools and appliances, and collecting vintage cookbooks. She wants to publish her own cookbook one day, using vintage recipes, but updated for modern appliances and measurements. So in the evenings she is often busy making a recipe and trying to make it more modern and perhaps better.
Jaymie is also busy for the Queensville Heritage Society, as she really does love vintage things. Her current job is to restore the Dumpe Manor kitchen to its former glory. Use the original color scheme and find appliances and kitchen ware to fill the kitchen. She has to be ready for the grand opening soon, and Jaymie even wants to bake Christmas cookies during the tours. She is very happy with the box of old tools she found at auction recently, even though she doesn’t even know all of them. One evening she is busy researching her box of mallets, when she hears some noise inside the house. She is supposed to be alone, so who is there? Her little three-legged dog Hoppie is with her but even he can’t protect her when the intruder hits her over the head.
Luckily she is found by another Society member, before she freezes near the open front door. She doesn’t know who did it, and her police friend Bernie is taking it very seriously. Jaymie’s boyfriend Daniel, who is a software millionaire, is determined to pay for a good alarm system on the property, and won’t take no for an answer. He will have her protected. The society is all too happy to accept his donation. They are very busy getting the house renovated in time.
But not everyone is happy with their hard work. Psychiatrist Prentiss Dumpe claims to be the true heir to the Manor, and he will do what he can to sow discord between the members. Then there is the author, Theo Carson, the Society hired to write a pamphlet about the Manor and its history. He seems to want to find only the negative stuff, like involvement in the slave trade or Nazi sympathisers. And Carson sure likes playing the field, Jaymie didn’t know her friend Cynthia was involved with him until after he dumped her for Imogen, who is a lot younger. Then there are some who are convinced there is a treasure hidden somewhere in the house, and they are determined to find it.
So when Jaymie find the body of Theo Carson near the newly opened back door into the kitchen, clearly murdered with another one of her mallets, she is determined to find out the truth. Yes, she does like to snoop and she is good at it, and she will be careful. After all, the chief of police himself would like to kept informed about what she finds out.
I really enjoyed this new book in the series. The mystery is a good one, and the bad guy truly bad. Scary bad. But Jaymie does find out the truth. Her personal life is not going well though, her boyfriend Daniel wants to marry her, and she is supposed to give him her answer by Christmas, and that is in a few weeks. She is not ready yet, she doesn’t really know if she loves him or not. Daniel is also a restless man, who buys a house somewhere, and after a few months, goes somewhere else again. And Jaymie’s roots are deep. She loves her house and town dearly. He really doesn’t understand that at all. And then there is the handsome police detective. Just when she thought they were becoming friends, he moved out of town to become a detective in a big city. Jaymie is still not really ready for a new relationship, after the betrayal of her previous boyfriend, Joel. And now he seems to be back to his old tricks, as his new girlfriend Heidi confides in Jaymie.
I really like reading about vintage kitchen things, and I would love to see the glassware Jaymie has found sometimes for real. The description in the book makes it look really lovely. I am not a kitchen princess myself though. I can cook well, but I just don’t like the time it takes. I prefer to read about it. Jaymie and her friends and pets are great characters, and I will certainly buy the next book. There is a new love interest on the horizon for Jaymie, and I do like this one a lot more than the other two.
© 2014 Reviews by Aurian