Mallets Aforethought by Sarah Graves
(Home Repair Is Homicide Mysteries)

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Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree left her high-powered career for a dilapidated fixer-upper and the dream of a quiet existence in the quaint town of Eastport, Maine. But she found that no matter how carefully you remodel your life, murder can take up residence anywhere.

It’s Eastport’s most notorious landmark: the old Harlequin House. Named for the disgraced physician Chester Harlequin, it was used as a hideout for gunshot gangsters and their molls during Prohibition’s heyday. Now fixer-upper enthusiast Jake Tiptree and Harlequin’s only living descendant, Ellie White, are refurbishing the mansard-roofed mansion to host the local Historical Society’s upcoming gala. But when stripping down old wallpaper reveals a secret door to a room containing not one but two corpses, Jake and Ellie once again find home repair leading to homicide.

One of the bodies is a skeleton dressed in 1920s flapper chic. But the other is that of
real-estate mogul Hector Gosling, and in his pocket is a paper bearing the single word “Guilty.” The less-than-scrupulous tycoon has been poisoned, and when it’s learned that the offending substance is the poison that Ellie’s husband George has been using to kill red ants, he is immediately taken into custody. Then it develops that George had recently accused Gosling of a scheme to scam George’s vulnerable old aunt out of her life savings—and George out of his inheritance.

With George held for murder, Jake and a pregnant Ellie swing into action. In between Ellie’s Lamaze sessions, baby showers, and CPR classes taught by Jake’s ex-husband
Victor, the two amateur sleuths must sift their way through a trail of seemingly contradictory clues. Then another corpse surfaces and suddenly Jake and Ellie realize they must find this killer fast. A clever culprit is not only building an airtight case against Ellie’s husband. He—or she—is planning to nail everyone who stands in the way.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Sarah Graves

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Sarah Graves lives with her husband in an 1823 Federal-style house in Eastport, Maine, where her mystery novels are set. When she is not scraping, painting, glazing, sanding, hammering, or otherwise repairing (or failing to repair!) the old house, she is working on her next Home Repair Is Homicide novel.
Published March 2, 2004 by Bantam. 304 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Amateur detective and home-repair expert Jacobia "Jake" Tiptree pitches in on a volunteer house restoration project to discover something worse than dry rot: two corpses, one old, one brand-new.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Mallets Aforethought (Home Re...

Publishers Weekly

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While Jacobia "Jake" Tiptree met with accidents galore in last year's outing, Unhinged , she faces more realistic challenges as wife, mother and amate

Dec 22 2003 | Read Full Review of Mallets Aforethought (Home Re...

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