The Art of Murder
A Dead-End Job Mystery, Book #15
By Elaine Viets
Author website: http://www.elaineviets.com/pages/bio.asp
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kayt
From the national bestselling author of Checked Out, Helen Hawthorne must pose as a painter at Fort Lauderdale’s famous Bonnet House Museum to catch an artful killer . . .
The art world is a happening place—but a brush with death shouldn’t be in the picture. Unfortunately, that’s just what happens to Helen Hawthorne and her friend Margery. While touring gorgeous Bonnet House, a mansion-turned-museum, they observe a painting class and note an up-and-coming artist. When they later see her deadly end, Helen is hired to canvas the crime scene—undercover, of course.
Sketchy suspects lurk in the victim’s bohemian past. Was the promising painter killed by her jealous husband? Her best friend? A rival using her artful wiles? With her husband Phil busy setting a trap for a gold thief, it’s up to Helen to paint this killer into a corner . . .
The Art of Murder is the 15th installment in author Elaine Viets’ “A Dead-End Job Mystery” series. It is the first one I have read and I really enjoyed it. I really like protagonist PI Helen Hawthorne and her husband Phil. Even when they still live in two separate apartments they are a wonderful and happy couple. In this book, Helen and her friend Margery are touring the gorgeous mansion turned museum Bonnet House. There is an art class (painting) going on and they notice a wonderful artist that happens to be an up-and-coming star. Unfortunately, as the class lets out and they walk out with the participants this artist ends up dead. Helen is asked to join the class and also to investigate the death.
The artist’s brash ex-husband was in the class as well; could he have still held a grudge? Her husband’s career seemed to be waning, was he jealous of her success? What about her best friend, another artist, her former lover? Helen has to immerse herself in the art world to find the killer or if she was even murdered. While she is searching for answers, her husband Phil is hired to find out who has been robbing homes in high end housing developments and stealing their gold. When an older man is killed in the process things get hairy and Phil has to go undercover. While both are searching for answers, the story keeps the reader enthralled and entertained.
The characters are well developed and enjoyable. The setting in Fort Lauderdale is pleasant and the author’s descriptive writing style brings the sights, sounds and smells to life. The interaction between the characters and dialog are delightful. The mystery (mysteries) are well plotted and with tons of twists, turns and hiccups. I was kept guessing until the end. I love the loyalty of Helen and also Phil to their friends. The lovely get-togethers at their condo were hilarious and heartwarming. I love that their friends are so diverse and still all enjoyed being with each other.
The Art of Murder is a wonderful and well written whodunit that drew me in and kept me guessing. This is the first book I have read in the series, but it read easily as a standalone. I am surely going to read more though. Helen and her husband Phil are wonderful main characters that are surrounded by delightful friends and interesting characters. Set in a larger city, but still with small town parts, the story was cozy and entertaining. Author Elaine Viets has a descriptive and enticing writing style. I have found a new cozy writer that will be on my TBR list for sure. Thankfully I have 14 other books to read so I can get caught up. I truly enjoyed this installment and would recommend it to any cozy reader and anyone that enjoys a fast paced mystery with strong and enjoyable characters.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review as part of their ongoing blog tour*