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A Deadly Grind: 12/03/19
A Deadly Grind by Victoria Hamilton is the first in the Vintage Kitchen mystery series. Hamilton is a pseudonym of Canadian author Donna Lea Simpson.
The series is set in fictional Queensville, Michigan. There, is, however, a very real Queensville, Ontario. While the location is probably close to Detroit, from the proximity of the Ontario landmarks mentioned throughout, I picture the village being up near the top of the mitten near Sault St. Marie because of personal family history; it was the area where my Canadian relatives made the move back to the United States in the late 1880s.
Regardless, Queensville and the surrounding towns as described share a history with their Canadian counterparts with people regularly taking the ferry between the countries. The beauty of this situation is any Canadianisms that slip into the text or the dialog can be explained by this shared history. It also makes the series extra fun to read (or in my case, listen to, as I'm reading via the audiobooks narrated by Emily Woo Zeller)
The book opens with Jaymie Leighton and her sister going to an estate sale auction in the next town over. Jaymie is thrilled to see a Hoosier cabinet in excellent condition. When an argument breaks out during the bidding, she's able to win the cabinet.
In the wee hours of the morning the sisters are woken up by a horrible crashing and banging. They find some of their purchases smashed in the sunroom and a dead man in front of the Hoosier. Who the man is and what he was looking for takes the next third of the novel, leaving the remaining third to truly hunt the killer.
Although the book took its darn time to get going, the characters and the setting are engaging. I also kept listening because of the vintage cookware and the old recipes. I grew up around both and it's fun hook for me.
The second book is Bowled Over (2013).