|Katie Bonner is trying to get over her husband Chad’s death, their estrangement that occurred just prior to his death, and the events leading up to that estrangement: Chad invested their life savings in an artists’ co-op, Artisans Alley, rather than buying the old Victorian the two were eyeing for a bed and breakfast.
The last thing she needs is to actually be running the co-op which she finds herself doing when Chad’s business partner, now hers, is found dead, blunt force trauma to the head, in Artisans Alley. Not only is Katie now the majority owner of the business, she is also the executor of Ezra’s estate.
Ezra’s unpleasant nephew is Katie’s co-heir and is in an awful big hurry to sell the building to a motel chain looking to put up a motel in upstate New York. Katie has spent enough time in marketing to know that there is no way they would be able to see the co-op as is, and doesn’t want to see the motel as the centerpiece of the quaint shopping area known as Victorian Square. So she decides to try and turn business around before making any final decisions about the property.
As Katie begins to sort out Ezra’s life, she finds many people who held grudges against him and who might have wanted him dead. When one of the artisans is also found dead, Katie begins to wonder how the two are connected and if perhaps Chad’s car accident wasn’t an accident at all. Not sure where to turn, Katie finds herself seeking counsel and solace from Ezra’s attorney Seth and local pizza maker Andy, both of whom are harboring secrets that involve Ezra, but are they worth killing for?
A Crafty Killing introduces a new amateur sleuth who is smart, no-nonsense, yet more sensitive than she likes to think. There are plenty of quirky characters in both Artisans Alley and Victorian Square and Katie has her work cut out sorting them out, winning them over, and pointing the finger at one of them as a murderer. Victorian Square is a charming downtown area in upstate New York that readers will be anxious to visit in spite of the murders.
There are plenty of motives for Ezra’s death and plenty of suspects. Even the detective in charge of the case is keeping a secret that may get in the way of a thorough investigation. Lorraine Bartlett neatly finesses out each secret Katie encounters without giving away the ending too soon. A fun, new mystery with a cast of charming characters, readers will look forward to more with Katie and the artisans from Artisan Alley.
--Jennifer Monahan Winberry