Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Batten Down the Belfry by Diane Kelly

 Batten Down the Belfry

About the Book

Batten Down the Belfry is the fourth in the delightful cozy mystery series from Diane Kelly set in Nashville, Tennessee—where the real estate market is to die for.

Here is the church, here is the steeple…

Carpenter Whitney Whitaker and her cousin Buck have successfully flipped houses, but this is the first time they’ve attempted to renovate a house of worship. Still, the colorful stained glass in the country church has caught Whitney’s eye, and she’d love to breathe new life into the abandoned building. What’s more, the place has perfect acoustics. Could the worship hall be reborn as an entertainment venue with its parsonage repurposed as a pre-show bistro?

Open the doors and see all the trouble.

The owner of the horse farm next door has asserted a legal claim to the church property, rendering their title uncertain. If that’s not bad enough, while rehabbing the church, Whitney’s cat Sawdust discovers a bombshell in the bell tower—the body of the man who’d delivered their beautiful new replacement windows. What transpired in the spire? Who rang the man’s bell and why?

The steeple is keeping its secrets and, when a second body turns up, things become even less clear. Can Whitney help Detective Collin Flynn solve the crimes before someone else is sent to meet their maker?

About the Author

A former tax advisor, Diane Kelly inadvertently worked with white-collar criminals more than once. Not surprisingly, Diane decided self-employment would be a good idea. Her fingers hit the keyboard and thus began her Death and Taxes romantic mystery series. A graduate of her hometown's Citizen Police Academy, Diane Kelly also writes the hilarious K-9 cop Paw Enforcement series, the Busted female motorcycle cop series, and the House Flipper cozy mystery series. 2021 marked the debut of her new Southern Homebrew moonshine series and her Mountain Lodge Mysteries with The Moonshine Shack Murder and Getaway with Murder.

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My Thoughts

Batten Down the Belfry by Diane Kelly has Whitney Whitaker and her cousin, Buck purchasing an old church and parsonage.  After finalizing the purchase, Whitney and Buck go out to admire their acquisition and decide how they are going to transform it.  Shortly after they arrive, their neighbor, Nolan Sibley shows up with a cattle prod in his hand.  He claims to own the property through adverse possession and wants them to skedaddle.  The only way to settle this land dispute is through the courts.  While waiting for their hearing, Whitney and Buck begin the remodel.  They are going to turn the old church into performance venue.  The old parsonage will become a café where Colette, Whitney’s roommate and Buck’s girlfriend, will serve her epicurean delights.  There project goes south when a man is found at the bottom of the stairs leading to the belfry.  He is pronounced DOA on the way to the hospital.  Before long, a second body turns up nearby.  Are the two deaths tied together?  Whitney sets out to get answers with help from her sidekick Sawdust.

Batten Down the Belfry is the fourth A House-Flipper Mystery.  It can be read as a standalone, but I highly recommend reading all the books in this engaging series.  I thought Batten Down the Belfry was well-written with developed, relatable characters.  I like Whitney Whitaker who is down to earth.  She is friendly and works hard flipping buildings.  Buck Whitaker, Whitney’s cousin and business partner, is a nice guy who is dating Whitney’s roommate and friend, Collette.  Sawdust, Whitney’s cat, steals the show with the chapters from his point of view.  He is a cutie.  Sawdust’s chapters will have you laughing and going “ahhhhh.”  I enjoy the author’s descriptions of Nashville and how she incorporates history of the city (an example is details about the Belle Meade Plantation).  The mystery was well thought it.  I like how everything tied together into one fun whodunit.  The mystery has unusual elements which I enjoyed.  There are twists and unexpected revelations that I found delightful (I just love a challenging whodunit).  There is a great reveal, and all the details are provided at the end, so I did not have any lingering questions.  I just love how one character met his maker.  It was very fitting.  Whitney and Buck transformed a church into a performance venue.  I liked reading about the various details and the work they did to accomplish the task.  They also turn the parsonage into a café with Collette as the chef.  I like the name Collette came up with for the café.  I cannot wait to read the next A House Flipper MysteryBatten Down the Belfry is an entertaining cozy with a land clash, a thoroughbred tyrant, a clever kitty, a bonging bell, a converted church, a disordered delivery, a messy murder, and a curious carpenter.

Due to a fire, Batten Down the Belfry will not be available until March 1 (I found out on Sunday, February 20).  Batten Down the Belfry is available for pre-order from Amazon*.  You can read an excerpt of Batten Down the Belfry by clicking here.  The other three A House-Flipper Mysteries are Dead as a Door Knocker, Dead in the Doorway, and Murder with a View.  You can find Diane Kelly's other novels here.  Diane has Proof is in the Poison publishing June 7.  It is the second A Southern Homebrew Mystery.  On October 25, A Trip with Trouble will be released.  It is the second A Mountain Lodge Mystery.  Thank you for stopping by today.  I hope I have helped you to find a new book, author, and/or series.  I am featuring An Amish Bride by Rosalind Lauer tomorrow.  It is the second novel in the Joyful River series.  


The Avid Reader 

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

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