A Bat in the Belfry: A Home Repair Is Homicide Mystery
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When it comes to home repair, Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree is a fervent wielder of power drills and paint brushes. And when catching criminals, she’s been known to really bring down the hammer. But when a shocking murder rocks the small town of Eastport, Maine, Jake may be the next victim for whom the bell tolls.
It is nearly midnight when the enormous bell in the belfry of All Faith Chapel—silent for decades—booms forth, startling awake the entire town of Eastport. Upon inspection of the steeple, the police uncover the body of local teenager Karen Hansen, who had climbed the belfry’s dark, rickety stairs for a midnight rendezvous. But instead of the promise of an exciting new life, Karen meets her death.
Meanwhile, as an epic nor’easter bears down on the idyllic island town, Jake Tiptree hurries to shore up her ramshackle old house against the big blow. An amateur detective, she has sworn off chasing criminals. But when the news of Karen’s murder spreads and much of the evidence points to Jake’s likable houseguest, she and her sleuthing partner, Ellie White, get to work.
They discover an unexpected ally in newcomer Lizzie Snow, a woman from “away” who seemed to have blown into town with the nor’easter, and who also seems to know a lot about the mind of a killer. Can Jake and Ellie trust her? As a killer roams free and the townsfolk struggle against the pounding, screaming storm, the resulting tempest of gossip and suspicion rivals anything the Atlantic could brew up—and threatens to keep Jake and Ellie from putting the final nail in this cold-blooded case.
Complete with Home Repair Is Homicide repair tips!
Praise for A Bat in the Belfry
“Stylishly suspenseful.”—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Nobody else can take a home repair project and turn it into a first-class mystery the way Graves can. It’s a top-of-the-line story.”—RT Book Reviews
“Graves does the Down East region justice, nailing not only the scents, sounds, sights, and people, but the culture. . . . It doesn’t hurt that she’s a damn good storyteller, to boot. [Her] prose is sharp, smart, and witty.”—Crimespree Magazine
Praise for Sarah Graves and the Home Repair Is Homicide series
“Graves’s trademarks are edgy, traditional mysteries peppered liberally with humor, and sprinkled with layered, well-written characters.”—Julia Spencer-Fleming, New York Times bestselling author of One Was a Soldier
“Just hearing her list the ways you can kill yourself fixing up an old house . . . is a hoot.”—The New York Times Book Review
“What distinguishes the novel are its likable, no-nonsense protagonist-narrator, her references to home repair that the author cleverly fits tongue-and-groove into the story and, especially, the detailed descriptions of the town.”—Los Angeles Times
“Graves makes rehabbing shutters and other chores suspenseful.”—The Boston Globe
From the Hardcover edition.
marking what once had been a driveway, curving into the vacant lot. Bub’s face contorted menacingly, teeth bared, small ice-blue eyes glaring. His breath smelled like pizza. Pinning David, he drew his fist back, ready to punch and punch for the sheer animal joy of it, and then out of nowhere Bogie was on him. Bub staggered backwards, flailing ineffectually, while Bogie clung to the basketball player’s back with his short legs wrapped around the bigger boy’s torso. The amount of blood suddenly
bonging out the news of World War II’s end in Europe. The tidings, so welcome at first, grew calamitous when the bell didn’t stop but instead clanged on deafeningly for hours, terrifying the horses and causing local farmers’ pregnant pigs to abort. People swore later they’d heard it in Bangor, and that it scared schools of codfish right out of the icy salt water of Passamaquoddy Bay, local people gathering up the still-flopping silvery victims in baskets. Once the din stopped, the church’s
his job, not theirs, to make sure he avoided whatever he needed to. “Come on, Mags, I’ve explained and explained it to you—” Outside, wind still rattled the gutters. But the rain had at least stopped, this brief relative calm a welcome breather before the second half of the gale roared in. “—but it isn’t okay to taunt someone with it,” Maggie went on, not listening. “And don’t tell me she doesn’t taunt you. I’ve seen her practically pouring it down your throat.” He sighed; Maggie was right.
A full day had passed since Bob Arnold had handed Chip over to the Maine State Police investigators, and for all that time, other than brief bathroom trips with a cop watching, he’d been in this small room. Concrete-block walls, acoustical-tiled ceiling, fluorescent lights whose faint buzzing seemed to be coming from somewhere inside his head … The hard straight chair he sat on was a torture device, the table where he rested his head on his arms only a little less so. At regular intervals, they
for the house up behind the line of evergreens while she slogged into the field where the little red sports car lay on its side, wheels still spinning. Nothing else moved there but the steamy spew of whatever was rising, smokelike, from the hood area of the crashed vehicle. A lot like smoke … The rain on the road’s pavement sounded like bullets. Lizzie forced her way through a thicket of some kind of thornbush, then into a ditch full of cold muck. Hauling herself out, she slipped and fell,