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February 17, 2023

Primer and Punishment by Diane Kelly ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

Whitney and her cousin Buck flip houses. With the housing market so tight, Buck decided they should try their hand at renovating a houseboat. The man living in the boat in the slip next to theirs is going through a divorce and has an injury that keeps him from working. While Whitney and Buck try to be neighborly, Grant isn't good with boundaries. When his boat blows up there are plenty of suspects and quite a few confess to doing it. Can Whitney sort through the motives and false confessions to discover the true culprit?

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of cozy mystery Primer and Punishment by Diane Kelly
February 2023; St. Martin's; 978-1250816061
audio, ebook, print (304 pages); cozy mystery

While Primer and Punishment is book 5 in the House-Flipper Mystery series, it is the first book in the series that I've read. I had no problem reading it as a stand-alone novel.

I really liked the characters. If you enjoy cozies with cats then you should try this book as there is a cute kitty named Sawdust. He gets his own chapters and it is fun to get his thoughts. But it was also the source of my one dislike about the novel.

Most of the book is told in first person from Whitney's point of view. However, Sawdust's chapters are told in third person and it felt odd. The chapters indicate when they are Whitney or Sawdust's POV, so there isn't an apparent reason for the switch to third person. I would have preferred his chapters to also have been in first person.

Whitney is a great character. She is down-to-earth, intelligent, fun, and caring. She is definitely someone you would want as a friend. I liked that she complemented law enforcement rather than making them look incompetent. Instead of constantly telling her to stay out of the case or discounting her findings, they seem to welcome her help. It probably doesn't hurt that she's dating a police detective.

The mystery is interesting and I didn't figure out "who dunnit" until it was revealed at the end. 

If you enjoy home improvement or remodeling and are looking for a fun cozy mystery, then you should pick up this book.

Buy Primer and Punishment at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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