Saturday, April 11, 2015

SECRET OF THE PAINTED LADY by Christina A Burke and Elizabeth Ashby

Publisher:    Gemma Halliday Publishing  
Published:   March 20, 2015
ISBN:     978-1508651734
Genre:   Cozy Mystery
Format:  Ebook
Obtained via:  Publisher  
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina


Alex Jordan is living her own personal dream as the owner of Finials and Facades Renovation and Restoration Services.  Not the most common endeavour for a young woman, but Alex is loving her career as a contractor flipping houses.  But not just any houses.  Her penchant is for Victorians, otherwise known as Painted Ladies.  All is going pretty well until she purchases the stately Marlton House. Just as she wins the auction on the property, local snob and real estate mogul Jack Condor rushes in claiming he has rights to the property.  Alex stands firm and keeps her winning bid but before she can start on her renovations there is a bit of a disruption.  Well not really a disruption as much as a really bad find—a dead body in the bathtub.  If it had been natural causes it wouldn’t have been such a mess – in more ways than one.  Oh no, he was shot.  With no evidence, rhyme of reason for his death the house is put off limits while the police investigate.  Not such great news for Alex’s timetable.

Just when she thinks things cannot get any worse, out for a walk the next day, she stumbles on yet another body.  Fortunately this time it isn’t a dead body but a rather hot looking blond haired, blue eyed male with no memory of how he ended up in Danger Cove.  Out of the goodness of her heart—and never ending desire to match make Alex with a viable young man, Alex’s grandmother Janiece invites the man they’re calling John (as in Doe) to stay with them.  But all with John is not quite what it seems…is he a victim or a killer himself?

Meanwhile Alex’s friend, George, has let her know he’s like to be a little more than just friends.  While he has faithfully provided flowers from his shop on a weekly basis to Janiece, he is much more than he seems.  The question is, much more of what?  What is he hiding behind his immaculate style of dress and penchant for being there whenever Alex turns around? 

THE SECRET OF THE PAINTED LADY is the first book in the new Danger Cove series.  What is so fun about this series is that each of the books is being written by a different pairing of authors.  THE SECRET OF THE PAINTED LADY is co-authored by Christina A Burke and Elizabeth Ashby.  These ladies do a wonderful job of giving readers a seamless transition from one author to the other.  You really cannot tell where one started and the other ended. 

The town of Danger Cove is depicted as one of those wonderful Pacific Northwest treasures where there are quaint shops and a bit reserved yet still friendly people.  Readers are introduced to a few of the local businesses in book 1 and I have to say the eateries had me wanting to take a trip there myself.

Victorians, or painted ladies, often have their own little secrets and SECRET OF THE PAINTED LADY certainly unveils a few. Setting a book in a Victorian not only puts the story in a nice venue, it opens up the door for some great mystery possibilities.

The characters are a fun lot – I have to admit Smitty the parrot, was one of my favorites.  At first George came across as an older gentleman and a few times I wondered if he was gay – I had a bit of a time picturing him while at the same time John was very easy to imagine.

In looking at the website it looks like future heroes and heroines take center stage, but  hope to see more of Alex as the series continues.  She’s just a great character to read that I’d like to see where she does from here.

This is definitely a fun series you do not want to miss.

If you are looking for an action packed thrill ride with a great mystery, WOMAN WITH A MYSTERY is definitely one to put on the top of your TBR.

This is an objective review and an endorsement of this book.

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