The second book in the Victoria Square Mystery series, published February 7, 2012.
If Katie Bonner's late husband hadn't invested all their savings in the craft fair Artisans Alley – which Katie is not responsible for keeping in the black - the Webster mansion could have been hers to remodel. For years she dreamed of renovating the old place on Victoria Square into a bed-and-breakfast. Now that dream belongs to another young couple.
But that dream becomes a nightmare when a skeleton is discovered sealed in the walls of the mansion. The bones belong to Helen Winston, who went missing twenty-two years ago. Her aunt is Rose Nash, a jewelry vendor at Artisans Alley, who is determined to find her niece’s murderer and asks for Katie’s help to do it. The case may be cold, but the killer is very much alive - and ready to go to any lengths to keep past secrets buried...
This second book in the Victoria Square Mystery series takes place half a year later. Katie is running Artisans Alley quite successfully, but of course, the financial problems are not that easy and fast resolved. She has ended the lease on her apartment, and is still looking for a new and cheaper place to live. If only her stubborn boyfriend (pizza hero Marco) would let her rent the space above his shop! But the keeps telling her she should just move in with him, and he doesn’t want any more to do with renters. It is not easy finding the time to look for a place, especially one affordable and close by Victoria Square that allows her to bring her two cats.
When she sees that the Webster mansion has been sold, she is heartbroken. For years she dreamed of buying the place and opening an upscale Bed and Breakfast. The anger at her late husband is flooding her again. But there is no way she could ever afford it now, all her money is sunk in Artisans Alley. And of course her time. While Katie is visiting the new owners, they discover a dead body in the wall! The same surly detective Davenport from the previous book is in charge again, and he doesn’t seem to make much effort in solving this cold case. Which is really irking Katie and her friend Rose Nash. It was Rose’s only niece who went missing 22 years ago, and she wants closure, and the killer punished. Heathers parents died a few years ago, without ever knowing what happened to their daughter.
Then Gilda from the giftshop on the square asks Katie to be her matron of honor. After living together for many years, she and her beloved are finally getting married. And Gilda’s best friend just got in an accident and is unable to come. Katie doesn’t really get a chance to say no, and has no idea what she just agreed to. Apparently, the matron of honor has a lot of jobs and she is supposed to not only wear a very ugly purple dress, but to throw the bachelorette party and pay for it as well!
How is she going to find the time to do her job as manager, find a new apartment, find a killer, and deal with all the wedding stuff she did not even know existed in one week?
But Katie is tenacious and with Rose’s help she starts digging in Heather’s past. But was Heather really such a good and sweet girl?
Then there is the unpleasantness of Polly, who keeps accusing Edie of stealing her stuff, and a second body is being found …
I loved this second book as much as the first. You already know most of the characters, and that makes cozy mysteries such fun. It is like going on vacation to the same spot over and over. And again, I really had no clue whatsoever to the real murderer. Of course there were leads and possibilities, but this one was a total surprise. And it was exciting! But I must admit, I am very much not happy with the ending of the personal stuff in this book. So I am looking forward to the next book, I want to find out how it all is worked out.
Katie is a strong heroine, capable of almost anything, and she loves her cats. I really liked how she dealt with everything on her path, but I really really do hope she is not getting dependent on her boyfriend for personal stuff. Also, the boyfriend and the other friend keep warning her off not to get involved in the murder case, but what is a girl to do when the police is totally going the wrong way or not interested? I do wish they would support her more.
So, a great mystery, some suspense and lots of friendship. Old and new. I am looking forward to the next book in this nice cozy mystery series.