The week before any wedding is filled with drama, last-minute emergencies, and unforeseen circumstances. In “Death by Proxy”, the third installment in the ‘DIY Diva Mystery’ series by Paula Darnell, for Wes and Laurel, it is no different, except that their wedding plans are nearly flawlessly organized and ready to be executed. It is life that is throwing curveballs.
Their realtor is pushing the hard sell on any and every new home they look at. The former head of the charity that Laurel sits on the board for, has surprisingly returned to town. Despite the charges of embezzlement that hang over her head, she seems to be planning to pick up right where she left off. She isn’t alone in the returned to town under odd circumstances club. Patty Morrison, an infamous, and quite hated, former property manager in a popular housing development has gone and gotten herself killed. That all shouldn’t be too much for the couple to handle, along with family flying in and moving two households into one, the week before they tie the knot if it wasn’t for the attempted hit and run that has Wes working overtime in order to find who from his past would want him dead. Then there is the mysterious flower delivery guy with his ominous deliveries who somehow seems tied into everything… or not?
I will admit that the author introduced the big bad in such a way that I knew then who was behind the murder and why. Still, I spent the next two hours lost in the book to see how it all came to be. This is a cozy that is story first and mystery is woven into the fabric of that story. Between the lavish descriptions of meals, wedding plans, and playing with the dog, a neat little fiction played out. Laurel has a great circle of family and friends and as characters, they provide a wonderful texture to her story. I did not know until I put together this post that this was the third book in a series. That says volumes about how well this reads as a stand-alone and also encourages me to want to read the previous books and any new ones that come out. I also love that recipes were included in the end and I was excited to find out that there is a booklet of recipes from the series available.
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I received a complimentary copy of the book. All opinions and insights are my own.
About The Book:
Death by Proxy: A DIY Diva Mystery by Paula Darnell
With preparations for her upcoming wedding to handsome Wes Wesson, a Center City police lieutenant, on track and her DIY Bridal Crafts class at Hawkeye Haven’s community center wrapped up, DIY Diva Laurel McMillan looks forward to a calm pre-nuptial week to finalize her wedding plans. There’s only one problem: the week turns out to be anything but calm. Laurel and Wes narrowly escape being run down in the parking lot of their favorite restaurant. Laurel’s bridal shower is interrupted by a mysterious stranger who sends Laurel’s lovable chocolate Labrador retriever Bear into a frenzy, and when Laurel and Wes go to meet Lisa, their real estate agent, at a house she promised to show them, they discover Lisa’s sister’s body floating in the pool. Strangely, Lisa seems more concerned with selling houses than she does with her sister’s death. After Lisa’s mother inadvertently reveals family secrets, Laurel wonders whether Lisa could have killed her own sister. Will the mayhem and murder stop before Laurel discovers the key to the killer’s game plan?
Book Links: Amazon
About The Author:
An instructor at five colleges over the years, Paula Darnell most often taught the dreaded first-year English composition classes, but she’s also been happy to teach some fun classes, such as fashion design, sewing, and jewelry making. Paula has a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, and a Master’s degree in English from the University of Nevada, Reno.
Like Laurel, the main character in Death by Association, Paula enjoys all kinds of arts and crafts. Some of her memorable projects include making a hat and a cape to wear to Royal Ascot, sewing wedding gowns for both her daughters, exhibiting her textile and mixed-media artwork in juried art shows, and having one of her jewelry projects accepted for inclusion in Leather Jewelry, published by Lark Books. She sells some of her jewelry and hair accessories in her Etsy shop: www.etsy.com/shop/PaulaDJewelry.
Paula’s interest in DIY craft projects and fashion led to her writing hundreds of articles for print and online national publications.
Living in a guard-gated community governed by a homeowners’ association gave Paula the idea for the setting of Death by Association. She finds that residing in an HOA community can be both a blessing and a curse. A Happy-New-Year greeting from her community association called on residents to “start the new year by reviewing your Rules and Regulations booklet,” something unlikely to top anyone’s list of New Year’s resolutions.
Paula lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, with her husband Gary and their 110-pound dog Rocky, whose favorite pastime is lurking in the kitchen, hoping for a handout.
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