Victoria Hamilton won me over with her first Vintage Kitchen mystery, A Deadly Grind. She's done nothing to change my opinion with the second book, Bowled Over. Jaymie Hamilton is an inquisitive, compassionate sleuth whose passion for vintage kitchen collectibles continues to land her in hot water. This time, she fears she might be number one on a suspect list.
Years earlier, Jaymie was best friends with Kathy Cooper. For some unexplained reason, Kathy blamed Jaymie for years for causing the end of their friendship, but a bewildered Jaymie never understood what happened. It all comes to a head during the week of the Fourth of July celebration in the charming town of Queensville, Michigan. When Kathy yelled at a woman in a wheelchair, and Jaymie jumped in to defend her, Kathy turned on her. And, it only escalated at the holiday picnic. Kathy seemed to argue with everyone that day, but it was Jaymie's Depression glass bowl that was broken over Kathy's skull.
If the handsome Detective Zachary Christian sees Jaymie as a suspect, he couldn't make her feel any worse than she already does. She takes Kathy's death personally. It was her bowl used as a weapon. And, why didn't she try earlier to find out what ruined their friendship? Maybe Kathy wouldn't have turned out to be such an angry person if she'd had a lifelong friend. Jaymie is determined to find out who killed her old friend turned enemy.
Jaymie's personal interest in this case is understandable. However, time and again it struck me funny that Jaymie's attempts to make up to Kathy reminded me of Jaymie's dog, Hoppy. The neighbor's poodle, "Dipsy, was the bane of Hoppy's existence, but he just couldn't leave her alone. She snapped at him, growled, barked through the fence, and then ignored him when they were in company together." Jaymie, like Hoppy, just couldn't leave her enemy alone, alive or dead. But, as Jaymie persists in looking for a killer, it's even easier to feel for her as a character.
If you're looking for a compassionate, interesting character with an unusual livelihood, and a charming town that just happens to have an occasional murder, you won't go wrong with Victoria Hamilton's mysteries. Bowled Over is another treat for those of us who enjoy cozy mysteries with a strong community cast.
Victoria Hamilton's website is www.victoriahamiltonmysteries.com
Bowled Over by Victoria Hamilton. Berkley Prime Crime. 2013. ISBN 9780425251928 (paperback), 294p.
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