Monday, October 29, 2018

The Body in the Attic

Author:  Judi Lynn
Genre:  Mystery

Trade Paperback; Digital Book
ISBN #:  9781516108398
Lyrical Underground
218 Pages
$15.00; $3.99 Amazon
November 27, 2018


House-flipper Jazzi Zanders and her cousin Jerod have found their latest project.  The property, formerly owned by the late Cal Juniper, is filled with debris that must be cleared before the real renovation begins.  But a trip to the attic reveals something more disturbing than forgotten garbage - a skeleton wearing a locket and rings that Jazzi recognizes...

Tests confirm that the bones belong to Jazzi's Aunt Lynda, who everyone assumed moved to New York years ago after breaking up with Cal.  Soon enough, the whole family is involved, sifting through memories and rumors as they try to piece together what really happened to Lynda - and the baby she gave up for adoption.  In between investigating and remodeling, Jazzi is falling for the old house's charms - and for her gorgeous contractor, Ansel.  But with surprises lurking in every crook and nanny, a killer might be waiting to demolish her dreams for good...


Jazzi Zanders and her cousin Jerod are house flippers.  They've just acquired an old Victorian previously owned by the estate of Cal Juniper, who was once engaged to Jazzi's aunt Lynda.  But Lynda disappeared shortly after the engagement, and everyone thought she met someone else in New York and just never returned.

But while attempting to remove items from the attic, Jerod opens a trunk and they find Lynda's remains inside.  Now the question has to be asked: what was she doing up there, who put her there, and was Cal in any way responsible?  But as they start digging into the mystery, what they find out is there are people who loved Lynda and some who hated her; but finding out who killed her isn't going to be easy - not even for the police.  Then when another mystery presents itself that's tied to Lynda, Jazzi knows somebody is hiding something - but how far are they willing to go to keep their secret?

This is the first book I have read by this author (she usually writes romances, and I'm not super fond of the genre) and I have to say that I was impressed.  Yes, of course, being the type of book she's written previously, there is quite a touch of romance involved (had to say it for those who think there's too much) but it never overshadows the mystery involved, and that's a good thing.

I liked the idea that this protagonist is a house flipper (unusual for a cozy) and she didn't run back home with her tail between her legs because her previous relationship soured (although she's already home, she's not moping about it but has moved on).  She's got a good business going, has money in the bank, and while she's interested in Ansel, who works with them, she's keeping that information to herself since he's involved with someone.

Back to the mystery - I liked the premise of the entire thing.  A relative whom everyone thought ran off didn't, and then they had to figure out who knew her 'when' and who wanted her dead but left her body in a trunk in the attic of the man she was to marry.  Then when the second murder is revealed, it only adds to the first question because it deepens the mystery and gives us something else to look at.  Quite a conundrum, and quite delightful to decipher.

I also found the fact that while in reality the police detective probably wouldn't have involved Jazzi in the case, he was likable enough and reacted well with her; neither one was offensive nor pushy, and I can see them becoming friends over time.  It seemed to work somehow and I was able to overcome this detail.  To tell the truth, I loved the fact that the detective wasn't hateful and that there wasn't an 'evil nemesis' in this book as I find both of those distracting from a mystery.

In the end, when everything started coming together it all did so nicely, and while there were no hair-raising moments, it didn't seem to matter.  The story was written well enough that I enjoyed the tale and I look forward to the next in the series.  Recommended.


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