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Nickeled-and-Dimed to Death by Denise…
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Nickeled-and-Dimed to Death

by Denise Swanson

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This is the second mystey about Dev (Devereaux) Sinclair. Dev bought her hometown's old dime store when she left the rat race in Kansas City, Missouri, to be with her grandmother, Birdie Sinclair, in Shadow Bend.

Dev used to be part of Shadow Bend's upper crust. The Sinclairs were one of the town's five founding families (of the other four, only the Underwoods are named). Her father, Kern Sinclair, was vice-president of the local bank before he was arrested for embezzelment and a DUI that ended in manslaughter. Her mother walked out on her, so Birdie is the only family Dev counts.

29-year-old Dev has two men interested in her: Dr. Noah Underwood (who dumped her in high school after the scandal), and Jake Del Vecchio (a Deputy U. S. Marshall who has to break his big date with Dev in the first chapter). Dev is attracted to both of them. Will Jake's ex-wife win him back? Will Noah's mother, Nadine, succeed in coming between Noah and Dev again?

Dev also has two best friends. Boone St. Onge, a divorce lawyer, wants her to end up with Jake, as does Birdie (whose high school sweetheart is Jake's great-uncle). Boone and Birdie are very anti-Noah. On the other hand, Dev's other best friend, Poppy Kincaid (owner of popular local bar Gossip Central), is a Noah fan.

Poppy is still on the outs with her father, Police Chief Eldridge Kincaid. According to chapter six, something Dev doesn't know about happened last Christmas to push their shaky relationship into open hostility. Poppy already believes her dad is '...the love child of Lizzie Borden and Vlad the Impaler...' (a good trick considering the centuries between their births, unless Dracula really became a vampire). It doesn't help when Boone is brought in for questioning about the murder of one of his clients.

That same client sold Dev some valuable antique chocolate molds for $800.00. Those molds are likely to spell big trouble for someone. Dev hopes to avoid being that someone.

Boone's parents still live in the same house, but they haven't spoken to each other in years. Good thing they both love their son.

There are so many problem parents in this book (including the ex-wife of another of Boone's clients) that a supporting character named Ziti Todd should consider herself lucky. The worst thing to be said about her mother, Winnie (unless one is old-fashioned enough to look down on unwed moms), is that her fashion sense hasn't changed since she was a flower child in the 1960s.

Dev solved the murder in the first book, which makes her the logical person for Boone to turn to now that he's a suspect. Boone even has his sexy lawyer (Poppy like!) cooperate with Dev and Poppy.

Dev and Poppy, with Noah's assistance, find some good gossip about other potential suspects. Will any of them turn to out to be the killer?

I enjoyed the humor along with the mystery. The clubs that meet at the dime store have punny names. In chapter one, Birdie and Dev have very different thoughts about what surprise Jake has in store for our heroine (Dev's involves telling us what kind of tattoo she has on her hip). Chapter 11 has Dev make an amusing mistake about chastity that probably wouldn't have happened if most persons didn't confuse celibacy with it.

It's in chapter 23 that Dev compares Poppy to a Barbie and herself to a Jill doll. I hadn't heard about Jill dolls, which came out two years before Barbie. You may read about the doll here: http://voguejill.com/

Cat lovers, not only do we get Birdie's Siamese, Banshee (whose feud with Dev started when he ate her pet gerbil -- see ch.1), there's a Russian Blue named Tsar.

Dog lovers will have to content themselves with a couple of cameos of Noah Underwood's Chihuahua, Lucky. One character has a poodle named 'Sweetie,' but that dog is only talked about. (Check the end of chapter four for why Noah wonders if Lucky realizes he's a dog, not a cat.) ( )
  JalenV | May 26, 2015 |
Give me more from Swanson! ( )
  cougargirl1967 | Jan 7, 2015 |
I thought this was well written and a 'fun' mystery. Lots of great characters. I met Denise Swanson last year at a reader's luncheon and purchsed this book. I didn't realize it was book 2! Now off to read book one in the series. ( )
  jkgrage | Nov 24, 2014 |
Seems to be a good series so far. Clues are not so hard that one cannot figure it out, but not too easy at all either. Characters are interesting. ( )
  IceQueenTN | Oct 13, 2014 |
Nickeled and Dimed to Death is the second book in the A Devereaux's Dime Store Mystery series.

Elise Whitmore comes in the Five and Dime with some antique chocolate molds that Dev knows would be a great addition for her Easter gift baskets. She finds the money needed to purchase them, soon she hears that may actually belong to Elise's soon to be ex. Then a couple days later panic does set in as Dev learns that Elise has been found dead. She fears that someone may find out that she might have possible stolen items.

Those fears come front and center when she learns that Elise has been found shot in the head. Soon she learns that her long time friend Boone has been taken in for questioning for the murder. Dev contacts her other childhood friend, Poppy owner of Gossip Central, a local watering hole and a great source of information.

Add to this Dev has also been stood up by Jake, a U. S. Marshall and someone she was hoping to get to know better. Then with everything so much in turmoil, her ex boyfriend Noah, the one that dumped her when her father got sent to jail, calls and asks her to go to benefit dance. He offers to introduce her to a friend of his that is interested in purchasing a number of her gift baskets. Well, it is business, so what's the harm? Well......

Elise's husband has been having an affair, so maybe his mistress is the one. But then the husband, but maybe he want her out of the picture completely and Elise has been selling off his many collectibles. Or maybe someone else has a grudge against Elise.

Looking forward to the next to see what Dev's next adventure will be and how she is doing in the romance department.

( )
  yoder | Sep 20, 2013 |
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Easter was my favorite holiday. I always said that you could learn a lot from the Easter Bunny. He was a smart dude who didn't put all his eggs in one basket and knew that the best things in life are sweet and gooey. (chapter 19)
Shadow Bend had a deeply divided population. The locals, mostly farmers, ranchers, and factory workers, had lived in or around the town all their lives. The transplants were mostly people who had relocated to the area either to raise their families in a wholesome atmosphere or to build McMansions on the cheap land that was availalbe.

Almost all of the newcomers were willing to face a long, arduous commute into the city to fulfill their dreams. Problems arose when the move-ins felt the town should adjust to them rather than vice versa. Honking your horn at a slow-moving tractor or attempting to take over the PTA in order to stop the school children from saying the Pledge of Allegiance were just a couple of ways in which the Johnny-come-latelies had alienated themselves from the natives.

[skipping a fun paragraph about a clueless newcomer and a DEER CROSSING sign]

Because I had worked in Kansas City for many years but always lived in Shadow Bend, my goal was to make my store a spot where both sets of people could feel comfortable. Unlike the upscale health club that catered mostly to the newcomers or the bakery where the townies hung out, I was determined to offer a place where the two factions could find some common ground and perhaps build some bridges. (chapter 15)
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"Dev's five-and-dime may be doing well, but her love life is in turmoil. She's torn between Deputy U.S. Marshal Jake Del Vecchio, who is on an undercover assignment, and her ex-beau Noah Underwood, the local doctor from a high-society family. So she welcomes the distraction when Elise Whitmore offers her a great deal on antique chocolate molds that would be perfect for her Easter gift baskets. But do the molds actually belong to Elise's soon-to-be ex-husband? In buying them, has Dev committed a felony? When Elise is found shot to death, the mystery deepens-and Dev's good friend Boone, who discovered the body, is taken into custody. With the help of her best buds, Dev must clear Boone's name and find the real killer. Good thing that when it comes to amateur sleuths, they broke the mold with Dev Sinclair."--Page [4] of cover.… (more)

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