Title: Killer Kitchens by Jean Harrington
Murders by Design Book Three
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 71,000 words
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Book three of Murders by Design
Interior designer Deva Dunne just may have hit the jackpot. Sure, her new client Francesco Grandese talks tough and has shady friends, but he has the eye of a connoisseur, and a huge, empty mansion he wants her to decorate.
Deva’s boyfriend, police lieutenant Victor Rossi, has misgivings about her promising job–especially when he accompanies her to one of Francesco’s dinner parties. After Francesco returns a dish to the kitchen untasted, the chauffeur promptly scarfs it down and drops dead from cyanide poisoning.
Has the killer made a terrible mistake and murdered the wrong person? Or was the dead man the intended victim? The only thing Deva knows for certain is someone present that night committed murder. And it seems everyone–from the dinner guests to the kitchen help–has a motive.
Killer Kitchens, the third installment of Jean Harrington’s Murders by Design series, is another puzzling mystery starring Interior designer Deva Dunne. Deva is once again drawn into a murder investigation when a guest of her current client dies from cyanide poisoning.
Things are looking up for Deva both professionally and personally. She is hopeful her first commercial design for her good friend and chef Chip Salvatore will prove beneficial for her design business. Deva is now dating Lt. Victor Rossi and she is quite happy with their new relationship. But Deva’s life is quickly complicated by an explosion at Chip’s restaurant and some unexpected news in her personal life.
Deva’s new client Francesco Grandese has an unexpected connection to Chip that raises some very interesting questions about the explosion that rocked Chip’s restaurant. Deva has a few doubts about Francesco, but he wins her over with his impeccable taste in antiques and real estate. Despite Victor’s warning to steer clear of Francesco, Deva cannot turn down the job that could secure the future of her design business.
As with the previous books in the Murders by Design series, Killer Kitchens has an eclectic but well-developed cast of characters. Lead protagonist Deva is engaging and she has come a long way from the grief-stricken widow we met in Designed for Death. She is self-confident, witty and she absolutely cannot resist poking around in the ongoing investigation. Victor Rossi is still the same gruff yet lovable detective with a heart of gold. Francesco is a little insensitive but his obvious affection for his wife and surprising knowledge of the finer things in life go a long way in smoothing out his rougher edges.
Deva tries to avoid investigating the death of Francesco’s chauffeur, but she inadvertently stumbles onto clues as she continues working on Francesco’s design project. An unexpected discovery in her personal life not only derails her burgeoning relationship with Victor, but also distracts Deva from the investigation. Deva uncovers incriminating information that cast doubts on a large suspect pool and once again, Ms. Harrington does an excellent job of keeping the killer’s identity tightly under wraps.
Killer Kitchens is another absorbing mystery, but the story does not flow quite as well as the earlier installments in the Murders by Design series. The investigative element of the plot is sometimes a little overshadowed by Deva’s personal life. These deviations provide insight into both Deva and Victor and add dimension to both their characters.
Jean Harrington has a few surprises up her sleeve for her intrepid sleuth in Killer Kitchens. Mystery lovers are sure this entertaining and intriguing addition to the fabulous Murders by Design series.
Read my reviews of the other books in the series HERE.