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Tool & Die by Sarah Graves
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Tool & Die, the eighth Home Repair is Homicide Mystery, introduces housekeeper Bella Diamond, whose services Jacobia Tiptree won for a month. It's not that Bella doesn't clean very well -- she's just excessive about it, as in not waiting until all the food is eaten or drunk before whisking away the plates, utensils, etc. to be cleaned. Jacobia' family are fed up. Jacobia isn't happy about it, either.

It seems Bella becomes a clean freak when she's feeling stressed. The fact that her abusive ex-husband, Jim Diamond, has been released from jail and is living in nearby Lubec.is stressful. So are the anonymous threatening letters that Bella has been receiving.

Jacobia's son, Sam, is also on her mind. He's broken up with his girlfriend, Maggie, yet again. His current girlfriend is Bella's daughter, Kris. Sam has been sober and Kris wants him to drink beer, etc. when she does. Unsurprisingly, Jacobia prefers Maggie. Even Victor, Sam's super jerk father and Jacobia's ex, can't stand Kris. He thinks she's a gold digger.

Jim Diamond is found dead. Bella is the main suspect. Seems Jim went to jail over a check forging scheme and the money he embezzled from his late employer has never been recovered. The young bank teller and the employer's widow were cleared at the time. Should they have been?

Ellie and her George's baby, Leonora, is present for some of the amateur sleuthing scenes. Fortunately, the climax isn't one of them. That big buzz saw on the cover isn't just for show.

One puzzle that doesn't get explained is Jacobia stating that she bought her current shutters secondhand. Did the ones she got dumpster diving in book two, Triple Witch, all fall apart over the years?

Cat fans: Jacobia's cross-eyed Siamese, Cat Dancing, has the top of the refrigerator covered.

Dog fans: Jacobia's black lab, Monday, and Doberman, Prill, are present, as is the widow's elderly dog.

Moose fans: one makes a few guest appearances.

I enjoyed the narration and the mystery was fun. ( )
  JalenV | Mar 28, 2019 |
The eighth in the Home Repair is Homicide and Jake is having some housekeeper problems. During one of the Faire like things she wins housekeeping services from a local company and she gets a housekeeper who's a little on the crazy side. Bella.

And when Bella's ex-husband winds up dead Jake and Ellie are spurred into finding out who did it because Bella is being accused of the crime.

Add to that plot the subplot that Bella's daughter Kris is dating Sam, which makes the situation quite a bit more complicated.

Oh, and a moose gets thrown into the plots too, which makes some parts of the book very exciting.

I liked that the mystery was a bit more mysterious than in the last few books. I didn't figure out who was the guilty party until Jake and Ellie did. But it wasn't an out of thin air sort of ending either.

There was also less Victor in this one which was nice, he was starting to take over some of the previous books and it was good to get back to the Jake and Ellie stuff. And regarding that I really, really, love the Ellie/Jake relationship. It's so different from almost every other female/female friendship I've ever read. I also really liked how Graves dealt with the fact that Ellie is now the Mom of a baby. And how does that impact her snooping. Does it, doesn't it, etc. An interesting real life question that sometimes gets left by the wayside in these non-police, non-PI mysteries.

Overall it was a solid three star book with an interesting plot and some hilarious moose parts. ( )
  DanieXJ | Jun 19, 2016 |
I really enjoyed this one, it even made me laugh out loud! ( )
  JanetArmentani | Jul 25, 2013 |
I listened to this one in the car. It took me a little while to get into the story, but eventually I did. It's my first of this series. Wonder if I would've gotten into the story sooner if I'd read earlier books in the series first. ( )
  dukefan86 | May 29, 2013 |
It has been a while since I read one of the Home Repair Is Homicide mysteries and I had forgotten just how good a writer Sarah Graves is!

Jacobia (Jake) is a mother, a former Wall Street financial whiz, a mother with a 20 year-old who is facing problems of his own, married to a wonderful man and divorced from a creep.

When Jake moved to Maine to get away from the pressures of business and the ugly divorce from her ex, she bought an 1800's home that needs lots of repairs. Repairs that she is doing mostly by herself.

In this book she somehow "won" a housekeeper for three months. Bella is a cleaning fanatic, to the point that Wade (Jake's husband) is threatening to move back into his old home to get away from her. When Bella's estranged husband ends up dead, Jake and best friend Ellie decided to save her and get her off the hook for the murder.

You get plenty of good story, great characters and some helpful household hints in these mysteries.

I've put them back into my reading rotation so I can get caught up on Jake and her world. ( )
  bookswoman | Mar 31, 2013 |
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It was a bright June afternoon in downeast Maine, and my friend Ellie White and I were on our way to visit a large angry man with a criminal history.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553585789, Mass Market Paperback)

Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree traded her power-broker life for a run-down dream house in peaceful Eastport, Maine. But the do-it-yourself enthusiast is learning that no matter how carefully you build your home, murder has a way of slipping in through the cracks….

It’s a bright June afternoon and old-house-fixer-upper Jake Tiptree is driving through downeast Maine on an unusual errand. She’s getting ready to interview a large, angry man with a criminal history. Jim Diamond may or may not be harassing his ex-wife with life-threatening letters, but Jake promised her new housekeeper, Bella Diamond, she’d look into the matter. An ex-con and a deadbeat, Jim Diamond doesn’t have a history of violence…that is, not until Jake arrives at his apartment and discovers that a killer has been there first.

Suddenly Jake and her best friend, Ellie White, find themselves at the center of a murder with too many suspects and too few clues. And as if that’s not enough, Jake is now saddled with the manic Bella, whose certainty that she’ll be the next victim is fueling a supercompulsive neatness–one that threatens to clean Jake and her long-suffering husband, Wade, out of house and home.

Add to that a moose in her kitchen, a rebellious son with a habit of dumping Miss Right for Miss Wrong, and a troublesome ex of her own, and Jake is already at wit’s end. Then she gets word that a horde of her dad’s long-lost relatives mean to descend on Eastport, intending to be put up at her far-from-fixed-up fixer-upper.

When the killer does strike again, it’s not where Jake expects…and the victim couldn’t be more of a surprise. For this is a case bigger than the usual angry—ex-spouse variety, and now that Jake and Ellie have gotten themselves involved, they’ve each won a special place in a ruthless murderer’s master plan of greed, deception, and death. And the prize? A pair of eternally private rooms–six feet under!

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:02 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"It's a bright June afternoon and old-house-fixer-upper Jake Tiptree is driving through downeast Maine on an unusual errand. She's getting ready to interview a large, angry man with a criminal history. Jim Diamond may or may not be harassing his ex-wife with life-threatening letters, but Jake promised her new housekeeper, Bella Diamond, she'd look into the matter. An ex-con and a deadbeat, Jim Diamond doesn't have a history of violence...that is, not until Jake arrives at his apartment and discovers that a killer has been there first." "Suddenly Jake and her best friend, Ellie White, find themselves at the center of a murder with too many suspects and too few clues. And as if that's not enough, Jake is now saddled with the manic Bella, whose certainty that she'll be the next victim is fueling a supercompulsive neatness - one that threatens to clean Jake and her long-suffering husband, Wade, out of house and home.""Add to that a moose in her kitchen, a rebellious son with a habit of dumping Miss Right for Miss Wrong, and a troublesome ex of her own, and Jake is already at wit's end. Then she gets word that a horde of her dad's long-lost relatives mean to descend on Eastport, intending to be put up at her far-from-fixed-up fixer-upper." "When the killer does strike again, it's not where Jake expects...and the victim couldn't be more of a surprise. For this is a case bigger than the usual angry-ex-spouse variety, and now that Jake and Ellie have gotten themselves involved, they've each won a special place in a ruthless murderer's master plan of greed, deception, and death. And the prize? A pair of eternally private rooms - six feet under!"--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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