At the height of the heat wave, a tragic fire strikes Victoria Square. Wood U, a small store selling wooden gifts and small furniture, is destroyed. But the fire may just be a smoke screen—for murder. A body is found among the charred wreckage, and the victim didn’t die from smoke inhalation. He was shot. Now—despite making Detective Ray Davenport hot under the collar—Katie is determined to smoke out a coldhearted killer…
My Review: Poor Katie sure has her hands full in this third installment of Lorraine Bartlett's wonderful Victoria Square Mystery series, dealing with difficult vendors, missing food and drinks in the lounge, squatters in the storage room...all under sweltering summer conditions. She also can't help continuing to pine for her beloved Webster mansion, as yet another new owner is moving in. The last thing she needs is to get involved in is another murder, but that's exactly what happens when a neighboring business, Wood U, goes up in flames, and a body is found in the wreckage. Questions arise as to the identity of the victim, as more than one man is missing. When one of Andy's troubled employees is arrested for the arson, Katie can't resist trying to solve the mystery, this time with a surprising new ally!
I loved the background to this mystery, as the Square is preparing for the annual Christmas in July potluck. (I sure hope a future book is set during the frequently mentioned Dickens Festival!!!) This is a perfectly "crafted" mystery filled with twists and turns that made me feel as if I was right there on Victoria Square. Katie is a great character, and I enjoy the growing relationships she has with her friends and vendors (oh that Ida!!!) The ending is quite a surprise and is sort of left open, so I'm curious to see how that will play out in the next book.
As I'm writing this a blizzard is bearing down on New England; make yourself some hot chocolate and pretend you're in the midst of a heat wave!
FTC Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a review.