This Old Homicide
A Fixer-Upper Mystery #2
By Kate Carlisle
Author’s Website: www.katecarlisle.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
Contractor and part-time sleuth Shannon Hammer specializes in improving the quirks and flaws
of the Victorian homes in Lighthouse Cove, California. The quirks and flaws of their residents
are another story….
Valentine’s Day is approaching, and while Shannon is delighted to be friends with not one but
two handsome men, not everyone in town is feeling the love. After her elderly neighbor Jesse
Hennessey fails to make his daily appearance at the local diner, Shannon swings by his place
to check on him. Not only does she find Jesse dead—of an apparent heart attack—but she also
realizes that his home has been ransacked.
Someone suggests that a thief was searching for a priceless necklace Jesse claimed to have
retrieved from a capsized sailing ship, but Shannon doesn’t believe it. Everyone knows Jesse
had a penchant for constructing tall tales—like the one about him having a hot new girlfriend.
But his death is soon ruled a homicide, and shady suspects begin popping out of the woodwork.
When another victim turns up dead, Shannon is convinced she must find the killer before
someone else gets nailed…
It has been SO fun to read Kate Carlisle’s This Old Homicide, which is even better than
the first book in the Fixer-Upper Mystery series, A High-End Finish. Shannon Hammer is
the owner of Hammer Construction, the company that her father had begun and where she
worked for years before he decided to spend time enjoying life. She can plan a Victorian home
renovation or a new Victorian with style and excellence, and if necessary, could do most of the
work from beginning to end. Shannon even has a flair for solving mysteries, but prefers to stick
to construction. Until mystery hits too close to home.
Jesse Hennessey, long-time neighbor and the uncle of her best friend Jane, hadn’t been seen
by anyone for a few days, so Shannon stopped by after work to see if he was okay. Shannon’s
father and uncle said that Jesse had a girlfriend, but it must have been a well-kept secret since
none of the neighbors or his niece were aware of anyone. Jesse didn’t answer the door no
matter how loudly she knocked; so she picked up the house key she had for emergencies and went in to find a huge, non-typical mess. It was a disaster, as if he had misplaced something of
value and literally began to tear the house apart. Finally finding Jesse asleep on his sofa, she
tried to awaken him – but discovered he was dead.
Thus begins grieving, rumors, and planning that only a death under questionable circumstances
could inflict on friends and loved ones. It was determined that the house had been ransacked,
especially when someone continued to search Jesse’s house at night. More than once Shannon
went over to see who might be there, backed up by her gorgeous renter, Mac, but they were
unable to catch the snoopers in the act. It was rumored that Jesse had found a priceless
antique necklace in a sunken ship he explored with friends a couple years before, but if he had
something that valuable, why wouldn’t he at least have told Jane? Maybe have a safe deposit
box? Jesse’s death was determined a homicide, so maybe there was more to the rumor than
they thought. He really did, however, have a lady friend, one who wanted to share memories
with and befriend Jane, so anything was possible.
Shannon’s company was doing a great business, but when Jane wanted Jesse’s house repaired
to put on the market, she couldn’t say no. In construction, one had to be prepared for anything,
and tight scheduling was just part of the job. One of her friends had purchased a Victorian
home and a crew was there, and Jane’s renter Mac was waiting on some things to come
together – including the local historical committee – so they could begin to work on his amazing
purchase. Mac, a well-known mystery writer, was the proud owner of the lighthouse mansion –
as pictured on the book’s beautiful cover art. All this, and find a killer, too? The young really do
seem to multitask so much better these days…
This is a delightful series, with witty, intelligent ladies – except for the old high school bullies who
show up at the most inopportune times. It is so much fun to see a woman-owned construction
company in which the woman can do anything her employees can, and not just be relegated to
a desk in the office where the little women belong! The characters overall are well-developed
and believable, people one could meet anywhere in small town America and feel comfortable
with. They have the right combination of charm, common sense, and work ethic to be worthy
additions to any small hometown, USA.
Kate Carlisle has a talent for excellent writing, plotting, and executing the perfect mystery with
enough twists to keep one guessing. There was enough challenge to keep one guessing.
When this reader was ready to convict a character, it couldn’t be done with the lack of evidence
or motive shown at the time. After discarding and considering someone else…needless to say,
there was a surprise or two kept until the very end. This Old Homicide is the perfect read,
whether with snow piled up to the windows or on a sunny beach. I highly recommend this
to adults and young adults of any age who have enjoyed Ms. Carlisle’s writing in the past, to
anyone who enjoys a well-crafted cozy mystery, or construction delivered with humor and a hint
of romance, and an eye for details and descriptions. Lighthouse Cove, California, will be in this
reader’s wish lists for years to come!