Hometown Hardware Mystery: Book 1
Publication Date: January 16, 2024
Recent sexagenarian widow Dawna Carpenter thought running her own hardware store after the death of her husband was hard enough. With her adult daughter, April, moving back into town, and Darlene, the annoying boutique owner next door to her shop poking around, Dawna has her hands full. But when she finds a dead man in the bathroom of her store, with a framing hammer by his side, she’s in way over her head.
The victim, Warren Highcastle, was a land developer who was looking to purchase the old theater in town to build a new hotel. Dawna and April, worried about the implications of the crime scene at the hardware store, put themselves on the case. They soon learn that Warren had made quite a few enemies in his short amount of time in town. As the suspect list starts growing, so too do the threats against Dawna and April. Can Dawna and April nail the killer before they strike again?
I’ve been enjoying books with an older main character lately. So, when I came across Hammers and Homicide by Paula Charles and saw it was the first book in the new Hometown Hardware Mystery series, I knew I needed to try this book.
Dawna is a widow running the hardware store left to her by her husband. When a murder happens at the store, she starts digging around with the help of her daughter, April. The story’s premise is pretty basic but also a solid foundation.
I wanted to know more about the land developer and why he was murdered. I liked how the clues were sprinkled throughout the story and how it advanced. However, the one thing I didn’t like, and the reason it didn’t rate higher, was how the murder was solved. For me, the whole purpose of a cozy mystery is for this amateur detective to put together all these clues and beat the police to the answer. I would have preferred had Dawna solved the murder on her own instead of the murderer revealing themselves to her.
I liked Dawna and April. Dawna is old school, while her daughter is more tech-savvy. I’ll admit that I found it implausible when Dawna was shocked at what could be found via Google or that her cell phone had a flashlight. Honestly, at 60ish, she’s not that old and would have been exposed to this technology for years. But their rapport with each other and the small community where they live in the Pacific Northwest was fun. I can’t wait to watch them grow as this series continues.
Hammers and Homicide was a good first book in a new series. I enjoyed the book and found myself drawn into the story. I couldn’t put the book down because I wanted to know the mystery’s who, what, and why, and I wasn’t disappointed. I look forward to continuing the series and recommend it to fans of small-town cozies.
When Paula Charles isn’t writing under the towering trees of the Pacific Northwest, she can be found in the garden with her hands in the dirt or sitting on her front porch with a good book and a glass of iced tea. She has a love for small towns, ghost stories, and pie. Paula lives on a small farm in Southwestern Washington with her patient husband and a handful of furry and feathered critters. Paula also writes cozy mysteries under the pen name of Janna Rollins.
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