by Kathleen CostaDetails on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review & links to purchase it.
Jaymie Leighton and her older sister Becca are helping to clean out the house of a neighbor who passed away without any relatives to be found. Becca knew the family that lived in the house back in high school and she had made friends with Delores Paget who had been living with her aunt and uncle after her parents had died in a car crash. It had been a great summer of 1984 riding horses, a diversion both girls savored since Becca was tired of her new baby sister, Jaymie, and Delores continued to have trouble with her family.
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When school started up again, Becca was in the middle of her friend’s conflicts ‒ friends don't always like other friends ‒ but when Delores disappeared, several said she just decided to runaway. Life went back to normal, until now, thirty years later the tickle trunk in the basement, the odd costumes stuffed inside, the cleaver in the skull, the dead body…Delores?
From her column in the paper to helping her sister set up a new antique shop, wedding plans to making arrangements for her, Jakob, and Jocie to set up housekeeping, Jaymie struggles with a very full ‘to do’ list. However, investigating a 30-year old murder is thrust to the top. It’s not like this kind of thing is new to her, and the detective in charge knows Jaymie has the skill-set that might close this cold, very cold case.
Then another body is discovered, eerily connected to the one in the basement! This has come too close to friends and family. Secrets, lies and suspicious behavior muddy the water. Will anything become clearer? Has too much time passed to bring justice to the two young girls? Could family and close friends be connected?
I am new to Victoria Hamilton’s Vintage Kitchen Mystery series, so making this sixth book my introduction was perfect: high-school memories heralding murder? Who knew a quiet day helping out could throw everyone into a cold, cold case? Although there are references to relationships and previous mysteries, there were no spoilers and I didn’t feel left out of the backstory and character connections, having not read the other five books. This book has left me eager to do so.
Weaving a series of flashbacks along with the contemporary events, the story kept me engaged as it illustrated teenage angst, uncovered secrets and provided a new look into motives, opportunity and means. I found Victoria’s characters well developed and relationships entertaining to follow. My favorite is Jaymie, clever and strong willed, along with exploring the connection with her sister that many can identify with who understand the older/younger sibling dynamic.
The entertaining details surrounding Jaymie’s “Vintage Eats” column in the Wolverhampton Howler, vintage kitchenware, the wedding plans with wonderful descriptions of vintage wedding dresses play out in the background. Then, there is the treat of an easy to follow recipe mentioned in the book from Jaymie’s grandmother’s 1950s recipe book: Salmon Loaf with Mushroom Cream Sauce. I highly recommend this book!
Leave it to Cleaver earns 5/5 Vintage Pastel Pyrex Bowls!
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To enter to win a copy of Leave It to Cleaver, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “cleaver,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen July 15, 2017. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please included your mailing address.
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