Author: J.L. Merrow
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Genre: MM Contemporary/Mystery
Death is what happens while you’re making other plans.
The last thing newly engaged plumber Tom Paretski needs is to stumble over another dead body. He’s got enough on his mind already as the reality of his impending marriage sinks in. Not only is his family situation complicated, his heroism at a pub fire made him a local celebrity. Now everyone and their uncle wants a piece of his psychic talents.
Hired to find a missing necklace, Tom and his fiancé, private investigator Phil Morrison, wind up trying to unmask a killer—and there’s no shortage of suspects, up to and including the local bishop himself.
As Tom and Phil try to uncover the truth, they find themselves pulled in all directions by the conflicting pressures of their families and their own desires. But the murderer they’re up against is a ruthless schemer who won’t hesitate to kill again. If Tom and Phil aren’t careful, their love—and all their plans for the future—could be blown down like a house of straw.
Warning: Contains a bishop of questionable Christian charity, a necklace of questionable taste, and a plumber of questionable nationality who may be running out of time.
Tom Paretski and Phil Morrison are at it again—Tom stumbling over another dead body and Phil coming to his rescue to help solve the case before the killer manages to make Tom his next victim. In this story, the killer came a bit too close for comfort, and only an accident of fate (Tom’s fear of spiders) manages to thwart the killer’s attempt to end the life of Phil’s sweetheart before they get to tie the knot.
Tom has become a local celebrity and everyone wants a piece of his psychic abilities. He tries to tell them he’d be rich if he could predict the future, but they pester him anyway, and this includes the very won’t-take-no-for-an-answer Amelia Fenchurch-Majors, the local socialite and organizer of all events, who ropes him into a demo at the local charity fair.
Sent off to hide something for him so he can demo how he finds things, Tom stumbles over more than what she hid when he locates her body in one of the deserted tents. It’s off to the races as the mystery and intrigue keep readers on their toes when one person after another seems to be the culprit. In the meantime, family and friends are putting on the pressure for Tom and Phil to set a date and then Tom’s sister offers them a chance to move to a nicer area. Knowing Phil has worked to “better himself” Tom gives careful consideration to whether or not they should live in his own little home in a not so posh area, but nevertheless his. Fans of this series will appreciate how far this couple has come from the first installment of their story, and will likely love what develops, relationship-wise, in this one.
Tom is the antithesis of what I would expect for a leading man in a mystery series, and yet he’s simply perfect for the role. Quiet and unassuming, yet strong of heart, with a great sense of humor, and devoted to his family and his handsome fiancé, being with Tom as he solves the mysteries he inadvertently manages to unearth is always a treat.
Along for the ride in this book are all the secondary characters we’ve come to know and love, including new father Dave Southgate and the delightfully unlikely couple, Gary and Darren. UK grammar and humor abound—it feels as if I’ve stepped into a quaint village as a cherished visitor every time I revisit this series. I highly recommend this one to all mystery lovers.