cover image UNHINGED: A Home Repair Is Homicide

UNHINGED: A Home Repair Is Homicide Mystery

Sarah Graves, . . Bantam, $21.95 (272pp) ISBN 978-0-553-80229-0

When the most notorious snoop in Eastport, Maine, disappears, amateur detective and ex-stockbroker Jacobia "Jake" Tiptree suspects foul play in this winning addition to Graves's Home Repair Is Homicide series (Wreck the Halls, etc.). Convinced that widely disliked Harriet Hollingsworth was murdered, Jake and her friend, Ellie White, team up to investigate. As accidents and the death toll mount in the small island town, crumbling foundations and rotting clapboards become secondary to discovering the identity of the perpetrator, who appears to have a diabolical blueprint for homicide that includes Jake's own family. Jake won't let physical injuries, starting with yet another fall off a ladder (evoked on the cozy yet menacing jacket), slow down her pursuit of the truth. Lending support are Wade, her husband; Sam, her teenaged son; and devoted friends who always seem to be there when they're most needed. A sleuth as tough as the nails she drives into the walls of her 1823 Federal home enhances a clever plot, which comes to an unexpected and explosive conclusion. Many will relish the vividly described Down East setting, but for anyone who's ever enjoyed making a home repair it's the accurate details of the restoration of Jake's old house that will appeal the most. (Jan. 7)