Thursday, February 17, 2022

ARC Review: Batten Down the Belfry by Diane Kelly

Batten Down the Belfry

Diane Kelly
Series: A House-Flipper Mystery (Book 4)
Publication: St. Martin's Paperbacks (February 22, 2022)

Description: 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?

My Thoughts: Whitney Whitaker and her cousin Buck's next house flipping project is converting an old church and parsonage into a new music venue and restaurant in Nashville. But the horse breeder next door believes that he owns the property and has been letting his horses roam there. He's not a very nice man given that he is a little too free with his cattle prod for Whitney's taste. That means that Whitney and Buck have to go to court, and Whitney is concerned about investing too much in the property until they are sure that they own it. 

When a delivery man bringing some custom stained-glass windows to the site is murdered, Whitney and her cop boyfriend are on the case. And when the horse breeder also dies, Whitney's suspicions grow even more. Her investigations have her looking at the delivery man's possible involvement in selling drugs, the horse breeder's head hand possibly illegally selling stud services, and the stained-glass artist's possible connection to money laundering.

This was a fun story with lots of interesting details about house flipping. I liked the characters and thought the plot was nicely twisty. The recipes at the end of the book also look good. 

Favorite Quote:
As usual, Presley had dressed to the nines. I was dressed to the twos, as in two-by-fours. But our clothing accurately depicted the roles we'd chosen for ourselves. She was the sophisticated, up-and-coming real estate mogul, while I was the hands-on designer and contractor. 
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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