Dead, Bath and Beyond
Victoria Square #4
By Lorraine Bartlett & Laurie Cass
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
The New York Times bestselling series is back, as Katie Bonner—owner of Artisans Alley in the quaint shopping district of Victoria Square—attempts to solve a murder at a nearby B & B.
Katie Bonner feels like nothing can spoil her perfect day off, sailing Lake Ontario with her good friend, lawyer Seth Lander. Then she runs into her ex-boss Jake on the dock. It was never smooth sailing with Jake, and Katie is only too happy to get away from him as he makes a scene.
Unfortunately, the next day her unpleasant former employer is found drowned in a bathtub at a bed and breakfast in Victoria Square. Who would pull the plug on Jake? When an autopsy reveals lake water—not bath water—in his lungs, Katie quickly finds herself in over her head. She’ll need to race to find the killer before her business and her freedom both go down the drain…(from Goodreads)
‘Dead, Bath and Beyond’ is a great read! A bizarre twist brings Katie’s former boss, Josh, into her life again, particularly in the gorgeous home she and her late husband had hoped to purchase and turn into a B & B. The authors captivated this reader in the latest Victoria Square mystery, fourth in an incredibly well-written series.
Katie is owner and manager of Artisans Alley, a renovated apple warehouse home to many vendor booths rented by local artisans and craftspeople. She inherited her husband’s part ownership when he died, and the balance when the other partner was murdered. She was working at Josh’s insurance agency, Josh being a misogynist with a huge ego. Katie quit to bring Artisans from near bankruptcy to a profitable business. Artisans Alley neighbors Victoria Square, an eclectic set of shops for which each other’s success is dependent on the other.
After a delightful outing on the lake with her friend and attorney Seth, Katie ran into Josh at the marina, where he goaded her into yet another heated discussion of her prior employment. Several bystanders hear her deliver an invective that could be taken as a threat. The next morning, sirens and police activity at the B & B where two of her close friends lived led Katie to see if Don and Nick were okay. She learned they had a guest, not a customer as the lovingly renovated home was not yet ready to open. The guest died upstairs. Don and Nick knew Katie knew this guest so she was shocked to ID the body of her former boss, Josh.
The autopsy showed that Josh had drowned. He didn’t drown in the bathtub, as the water in his lungs was from the nearby lake. Whatever happened, accident or murder, someone had to haul his body to the B & B and set him to look like a death in the bathtub. Katie’s questions led her to find that there was something rotten in Josh’s former insurance office, and it began to smell like another reason she was happy to no longer work for him..
The characters are great; the primary ones are well-rounded and others are defined as befits their role. I love both Katie and Rose. When reading that Rose reminded her of the aunt who raised her after her parents died, it melted my heart and showed the great capacity the author has for nurturing family relationships among co-workers and friendships throughout this series. Katie and Andy, the man who owns and manages the pizzeria on the Square, make a delightful couple and balance each other out. Ray Davenport, former detective for McKinlay Mill, is so much more personable now that he is retired from the PD and bought out a woodworking shop on the Square. I like who he is when he is not in ‘cop mode’.
The plot and writing style of the two authors is awesome! I can’t say enough positives about this series. There are intriguing twists and turns that change the perception of the murder, and demonstrates Katie’s intuitive and logic skills. Her pets with their very own cat-sonalities make her apartment over the pizzeria a warm. whimsical happy-place. The layers of mystery surrounding Josh are challenging, something that only someone such as Katie, with her insurance experience, could work their way through. But was his murder a result of his business or his family troubles? Suspense gives way to teeth-clenching fear before the stunning resolution occurs. ‘Dead, Bath and Beyond’ is a not-to-be missed cozy mystery; I highly recommend it.