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Bad Housekeeping: 11/08/17

Bad Housekeeping by Maia Chance

Bad Housekeeping by Maia Chance is the start of the Agnes and Effie series. The set up reminds me of a mixture of the Missing Pieces mystery series by Joyce and Jim Lavene and the Booktown mystery series by Lorna Barrett. The former for the main character being a long time resident, and for the remodeling of a rundown inn; the latter for the dynamic of two women relatives.

Agnes Blythe has just finished her hellish job at the library and is looking for any way possible out of her small town. On top of that she's just broke up with her boyfriend and didn't get a chance to grab any of her stuff before he kicked her out: no ID, no wallet, no clothes. So she's stuck at home with clothing she last wore in high school, bumming money off of kith and kin when she can.

Effie, is the aunt who left town to live her life the way she wanted. While her brother is the mayor — the rule maker — she is the rule breaker. The current rule she's breaking is living in the inn. It's been condemned and is slated for demolishing. Effie, though, plans to fix it up and reopen it before the bulldozers come.

The woman who pushed through the demolition plans is found dead at the inn — strangled in a way that matches the last fight Agnes and she had. Effie may be the mayor's daughter but the local law enforcement is convinced she did it. So Agnes and Effie decide the best thing to do is solve the mystery themselves.

Like Tricia and Angie of the Booktown mysteries, Agnes and Effie aren't exactly a likable pair. Agnes is understandably discombobulated by her recent breakup, the lack of a job, the undesired need to rely on her less than trustworthy aunt. Effie on the other hand has a past full of trouble and is set up as the bad seed of the family. It will be interesting to see how their relationship plays out in the second book.

Bad Neighbors comes out on April 26, 2018.

Four stars

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