Tool & Die: A Home Repair Is Homicide (Home Repair Is Homicide Mystery) by Sarah Graves

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Tool  & dieSeems as though Jacobia, the little lady heroine in this one, spends as much time solving murders up in Maine as she does repairing/restoring houses which is her supposed interest. But that second calling is good for the little town she lives in as it is for the readers of this story.

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Although a little wordy in places it is a good overall mystery as Jake (as she is called) and her friend Ellie go about finding out who killed Jim Diamond and why. Jim was the husband of Bella who is an overly ambitious house cleaner who works for Jake. Bella and Jim were supposedly separated but she believes that he or someone is sending her threatening messages. When Jake and Ellie go to see Jim about the quandary they find that he has been killed by someone supposedly hitting him with an oversize frying pan.

The two hometown sleuths begin their investigation which seems to drag almost everyone in town into suspicion. At some point or another, Jake’s son and his girlfriends (two although only one at a time kind of) are among the many others including people who work at the bank and perhaps even a Red Cross worker who is constantly patrolling the streets looking for blood donors.

Intermingled in all of this is the constant repair work that Jake does with little assistance from Ellie who is busy with her baby daughter. Most of the time Jake and Ellie are caring for the baby while solving crimes it appears.

The notes seem to continue even after the death of Jim so now Jake is really at wit’s end trying to figure who could possibly be writing them and why? There seems to be no reason for anyone to want to harass and possible hurt Bella.

However the more sleuthing that they do the more they find out and like in so many other stories (and even in real life I guess) there appears to be money deeply involved in this convoluted mess.

It takes a bit of work but luckily Jake and Ellie get it all pretty much wrapped up but fail to get the house into a fit condition for a huge family gathering which is on its way to the complete surprise of Jake’s dad who is the main reason for the celebration.

A truly interesting read but still no clue can be found as to how the title Tool & Die fits this story! Read it and you will agree!