Friday, March 8, 2013

One Hot Murder

One Hot Murder by Lorraine Bartlett was published in February, 2013.  It is part of her Victoria Square Mystery series which are cozy. The cover has a picture of a cat on it and Katie mentions her two cats Della and Mason on page 2.  Even though the cats are not a big part of the book, just having them on the cover qualifies this book for What An Animal Reading Challenge.  I am using it as O for A-Z Reading Challenge.

There is a heat wave in July and Katie Bonner is living in a small apartment over a pizza shop owned by her boyfriend.  It is not air conditioned which does not bother her cats but is bothering her.  The apartment does overlook Victoria Square where Artisan's Alley, her business, is also located.  She has been wanting to buy the Webster mansion and turn it into a bed & breakfast but does not have the funds to do so.  She is looking out the window of her apartment when she sees the south side of the Square glowing.  She realizes there is a fire, grabs her cell and calls 911 as she is running toward the end of the Square.  Wood U was on fire.  The store sold wooden gifts and small furniture.
The owner of Wood U was Dennis Wheeler and his wife, Abby, worked in the store during the school year while he taught industrial arts at McKinlay Mill High School. One of the other shop owners calls the Wheeler home to see if they are there.  Abby answered and will come to the Square.    Katie checks and finds Mr. Wheeler's car is still in the lot.   The fire chief calls for the meat wagon.  The deputy asks if it was smoke inhalation?  The chief says there was a whole in the middle of the victim's face.  Katie overhears and is told not to say anything.

Detective Ray Davenport is about ready to retire.  This murder is probably going to be his last case.  He wanted to try to solve it before he officially retire.  It turns out that Dennis had bulled a number of his students including one of Andy's charges at his Pizza Shop.  Even one of the new owners of the Webster Mansion had been one of Mr. Wheeler's victims. When the local brown delivery man is replaced, Katie winds up having Davenport find out more about him.  Could the delivery man be the dead man found in the shop and Dennis hiding?  Katie does some sleuthing to try to find if her theory is correct.

It is hard to say anything more because if I do, you would not want to read this wonderful book.  I have yet to be disappointed by any of Lorraine's series.  I gave this book Goodreads highest rating available.  I felt like I could actually visualize some of the scenes mentioned.

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