Murder With a View is book number three of Diane Kelly’s House Flipper Mysteries series. The first two books are Dead As A Door Knocker (2019) and Dead In The Doorway (2020). Whitney Whitaker and her cousin Buck Whitaker are flipping houses together in Nashville, Tennessee. Unfortunately, there seem to be dead bodies coming out of the woodwork on each new project.
In Murder With A View, Whitney, Buck, and a surprising new silent partner purchase an abandoned 1960’s hotel just across the Cumberland River from downtown Nashville. The Music City Motor Court has stunning views and easy access to a pedestrian footbridge leading to the hugely popular “SoBro” area of downtown. The Whitakers intend on transforming the twelve rooms into six luxury condos. On the first day of ownership, Whitney discovers a man living in one of the rooms. She and Buck decide this Navy Veteran, Jimmy, is okay and hire him to help with the renovation. The next morning, as they continue to clear out the rooms, Whitney’s cat, Sawdust, finds a dead body in one of the rooms.
The victim turns out to be Beckett Morgan, an up-and-coming country singer who had a big hit with his recent song “Party In the Pasture”. There is a long list of suspects for Whitney’s homicide detective boyfriend, Collin Flynn, to track down. Along the way, things take a turn in the simmering romance between Buck and Whitney’s roommate, Collette. With Whitney and Sawdust’s help, the murderer is captured in a dramatic scene.
My absolute favorite part of the novel is the song lyrics to “Party In The Pasture”. I can’t say I have ever been to a party in a pasture, but I imagine most folks in rural areas have been. According to the lyrics, “There’s never a wrong time for a party in the pasture,” so there’s still time for me to get “pasture-ized”. Knowing what a wicked sense of humor Diane Kelly has, it didn’t surprise me she could write such a fun country song. Here’s what she told me when I asked her about her inspiration:
My cousin (who grew up in Stamford, a small town near Abilene, Texas) told me a joke years ago that “you might be from a small town if you’ve ever attended a party in a pasture.” It stuck with me. I had a little help with people on my FaceBook author page suggesting lyrics. I love writing songs. Years ago when we lived in Nashville I went to a songwriting festival in Gatlinburg. It was so much fun!
5 Cozy Stars for this fun mystery. I am looking forward to the next flip on an abandoned church. Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for my Advanced Reader Copy. The novel is expected to be published on February 9, 2021. Be sure to add it to your To Be Read List!