Appraisal for Murder by Elaine Orr

Appraisal for Murder by Elaine Orr Purchase:

    Mixed with humor, intrigue, warmth, two feisty canines plus one savvy cat, this is a wonderful cozy mystery.

    How can a real estate appraiser in a New Jersey beach town get in this much trouble?

    If your name translates to “pretty nice” in French, you’ve probably gotten used to being teased. That doesn’t prepare you for finding out that your soon-to-be-ex-husband has a gambling problem, raided your assets, and embezzled from his bank.

    Jolie Gentil moves to Great Aunt Madge’s bed and breakfast at the Jersey shore, taking her cat, Jazz, and joining Madge’s pair of prune-eating dogs. Jolie does not view this as a retreat, just a smart change. She had no idea her life was about to get even more complicated. Jolie is reestablishing friendships with Scoobie and Ramona, dodging low-level wise guy Pedone, and (oops!) finding a dead body. The late Ruth Riordan is Aunt Madge’s closest friend and mother to Michael, a former arrogant classmate who can still push all of Jolie’s buttons.

    Jolie and Aunt Madge seem to be the only ones who think the police are wrong in accusing him of his mother’s murder. Soon, the mundane work of appraising real estate and dodging suggestions that she go to the 10-year high school reunion becomes mixed with calls from reporters, scary suggestions from Pedone who wants her to repay her ex-husband’s gambling debts, and requests that she help the local busybody with First Presbyterian’s social services work.

    And there’s still Scoobie, the high school friend she hung out with most. With his blue jeans and longer hair, he’s the antithesis of oil company executive Michael, and much easier to be with.

    His haunting poetry reflects how different his life has been since Jolie knew him. Jolie must balance her fear of Pedone, conviction that Michael is innocent, and friendship with Scoobie. Her growing list of other possible murder suspects includes Michael’s soon-to-be ex-wife and a couple other beneficiaries of Mrs. Riordan’s will.

    Those suspicions don’t include Scoobie, but he makes it to the police department’s list. Jolie tries various ways to prove both friends innocent. But will Pedone’s plans leave Jolie alive to find the truth?

    Review by JJulieJ:

    Elaine Orr
    Elaine Orr

    Set in a small coastal town, so small it’s not on the map, this book reminds me of Sue Grafton’s books, which I’ve always enjoyed. There are some similarities – female sleuth, coastal town, but this is no copy-cat book. It’s a delightful, new, fresh mystery series.

    There are some great characters in this book, and they are believable. There’s humour, romance, suspense, woven into a story that is hard to put down. It’s a well-written book, and it took me a long time to start suspecting who-dun-it.

    There are two more books in this series available on Kindle at the moment and I’m looking forward to reading both of these, and hopefully more of this series in the future.

    Review by Kathy M:

    Jolie Gentil is having a bad year even before she moves into her Aunt Madge’s B & B. A fresh start and a bit of time to reflect and relax are not to be had. Little did she realize that doing a home appraisal would lend her more problems as she finds a dead body.

    Her curiosity gets her involved with the murder investigation whether the police or victim’s family think she should. Seems she just can’t keep out of trouble; from the fallout of a gambling soon to be ex-husband, as well as the family of the murder victim and her curiosity. Mixed with humor, intrigue, warmth, two feisty canines plus one savvy cat, this is a wonderful cozy mystery. In addition, within the pages the reader is treated with great poetry and quotes of wisdom.

    On another level Ms. Orr touches on the social issues of hunger as well as examples of the adage ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ with candor. She brings these issues to light through colorful, endearing characters as the story progresses.

    The end of the story left me wanting for more. I look forward to the next adventure in Jolie Gentil’s not so boring life. I highly recommend this book.