Wednesday, May 09, 2012

A Deadly Grind by Victoria Hamilton

Victoria Hamilton's A Deadly Grind marks the debut of the Vintage Kitchen mystery series. What's more important, it marks the debut of an appealing amateur sleuth living in a town that is almost on par with Louise Penny's Three Pines for charm.

Jaymie Leighton is the keeper of the hearth, the one who loves the family home in Queensville, Michigan, the home she and her sister now own. While Rebecca lives and works in London, Ontario, Canada during the week, Jaymie manages her parents' rental property, takes odd jobs, and collects vintage cookware and old cookbooks. At thirty-two, she's the sentimental optimist in the family while Becca, fifteen years older, is the pragmatic businessperson. Just one more reason Becca tries to talk Jaymie out of bidding on the 1920s Hoosier-brand kitchen cabinet at an estate sale. Becca sees an enormous, unwieldy piece of furniture. Jaymie sees a beautiful piece that needs restoration, but she sees the history behind the cabinet. Neither of them foresee murder in their future.

Yes, Jaymie outbid someone for the cabinet. But, when they were awakened during the night by a shout and a crash, they found a dead man on the summer porch. When no one in their small town seemed to know the identity of the victim, everyone assumed he was a visitor to Queensville. But, for the first time in her life, Jaymie didn't feel safe. Her beloved little town had a murderer. And, she was determined to learn why someone was killed on her porch. "This was her home, and it had been violated by a murderer. She was not going to be a passive victim."

 Queensville, Michigan is an intriguing little town, with its connections to Canada. Hamilton makes excellent use of that connection in the Queen's Tea celebration and the Victoria Day weekend celebration. It's unique to that town. The author cleverly uses the two days of the tea to introduce characters, and develop some of the ones the reader has already met. And, she leaves the reader wanting to return to Queensville and learn more about the town.

Hamilton's Jaymie Leighton completely captivated me. She's thoroughly involved with her cookery collection, and she's actually putting it to practical use. The stories behind her collection are fascinating. They reveal the daily work life of women. And, somewhere in that vintage collection is a story that attracts a killer. Jaymie Leighton needs to find a killer to protect her collection, her home, and her life in A Deadly Grind. It's an engrossing mystery. I'll be awaiting the return of Jaymie Leighton in the next Vintage Kitchen mystery.

(Tomorrow on my blog, Victoria Hamilton allows Rebecca to take the stage to talk about her sister.)

Victoria Hamilton's website is

A Deadly Grind by Victoria Hamilton. Berkley Prime Crime. 2012. ISBN 9780425248010 (paperback), 293p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.


Rosemary said...

Lesa, this sounds great, I really hope it appears in our library. I love old cookery books - in fact I've just written an assignment about books of my childhood, and one of them was James Beard's Delights & Prejudices (I was a strange child...)


Lesa said...

Well, I wouldn't say a "strange" child, Rosemary, but definitely an unusual one. I hope you get a chance to read A Deadly Grind. With that background, I'm sure you'd enjoy it!

Jane R said...

This book keeps popping up on my radar and I've finally added it to my book list. I don't know what took me so long. I like to collect vintage kitchen items (they remind me of how much easier it is create a meal than it was for my mother or grandmother) and I love my collection of cookbooks - both old and new. I know this book will be a keeper. Thanks for the review!