Book Review: A DEADLY GRIND by Victoria Hamilton

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Series: A Vintage Kitchen Mystery, #1
Publisher: Berkley
Released: May 1, 2012
Source: Review copy from publisher

A Hoosier to die for?

When vintage cookware and cookbook collector Jaymie Leighton spies an original 1920s Hoosier brand kitchen cabinet at an estate auction, it’s love at first sight. Despite the protests of her sister that the 19th-century yellow-brick house they share in Michigan is already too cluttered with Jaymie’s “junk,” she successfully outbids the other buyers and triumphantly takes home her Hoosier.

But that night on the summer porch where they’ve left the Hoosier to be cleaned up, a man is murdered, struck on the head with the steel meat grinder that is part of the cabinet. Who is this stranger—and what was he doing on their porch? Does his death have anything to do with the Hoosier?

As the police struggle to determine the man’s identity, Jaymie can’t help doing a little digging on her own, accompanied by her three-legged Yorkie Poo, Hopalong. But in her bid to uncover the truth about the hidden secrets of the Hoosier, Jaymie may be the one who ends up going, going…gone.

———

It’s hard for me to resist the “First in a New Series” logo on a cozy mystery, and Victoria Hamilton’s A Vintage Kitchen Mystery series is off to a solid start. The protagonist Jaymie Leighton is a young, single woman with old-fashioned taste, and I enjoyed her character. She’s a vintage kitchenware and cookbook enthusiast with dreams of publishing her own cookbook someday. Jaymie ends up the winning bidder of a fabulous Hoosier cabinet at an estate auction. These free standing cupboards were popular in the early 20th century when most kitchens did not have built-in cabinetry. And even though Jaymie’s kitchen is packed with antique gadgets and such, she had to have the Hoosier too. Someone (or several someones) won’t accept that Jaymie is its new owner, because that same night a man is murdered on her porch where the cabinet is being stored. It appeared that before he died, he was searching the Hoosier for something. What he was looking for is a mystery, but Jaymie is determined to find the answer.

I thought that the mystery in this book was well-constructed and not easy to solve. There were several plot twists to keep me on my toes. I particularly loved the thing that made Jaymie’s Hoosier such a coveted item and the story behind it – very unique! There was one thing that niggled at me about the story. Jaymie was bad about withholding evidence or information from the police (more than once), thinking something must not be important when it obviously was. Other than that, I thought the police’s investigation and Jaymie’s own amateur one were handled realistically.

A DEADLY GRIND was a fun cozy mystery. Jaymie Leighton was a down-to-earth, likable character, someone who appreciated the way life used to be. I love the quaint setting of Queensville, Michigan, a small town just across the water from Johnsonville, Ontario. There was mention of a place called Heartbreak Island close to Queensville where Jaymie owns a rental cottage. I’m curious to see if one of the future books in the series ends up there, because with a name like Heartbreak Island, I have a feeling it has its own story to tell.

Rating: 3½ Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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