Book Review: If Walls Could Talk

If Walls Could Talk by Juliet Blackwell is a tea cozy mystery novel, with a slight bent toward the paranormal. Melanie Turner, archaeologist turned home renovator, has just walked away from a divorce and lives with her dad since the death of her mother, and has taken over the family business. Mel’s renovation company specializes in remodeling historic homes, and with her background in archaeology Mel’s business is booming. Then Mel takes on a renovation she has a bad feeling about and someone gets killed (it’s a mystery novel, I don’t consider this a spoiler). The dead man returns as a ghost and haunts Mel as she tries to get the renovation project back on track. Mel discovers not only can she see this recently departed acquaintance, but she has the ability, generally, to “see dead people.”

Mel is determined to track down the murder, rid the house of ghosts, and move on with her life. Along the way she meets up with an old friend, would be flame, who seems to be helping her in spite of his obvious lack of desire to get involved with her again. Added to her already hectic life, Mel’s ex-husband’s son comes to live with her and brings a friend with him. As if juggling a business isn’t hard enough! Mel plugs away at the mystery that has landed in her lap, especially as the police don’t seem all that interested in finding the killer, but will she figure out who it is before she meets with a fatal construction accident?

I don’t know, you tell me. It’s a tea cozy mystery, take a wild guess. 🙂 I love tea cozy mysteries and was glad I stumbled across this book while surfing the web and looking at other people’s reading lists (by which I mean, I can’t remember how I found this series to read). I order all tea cozy mysteries from the library, because they are fun, fast reads so I usually get six of them from the library and finish them in a week and half. I’m not overly invested in them being anything other than completely entertaining and it’s a bonus if I find them interesting.

What I did find interesting about this book was all the historical renovation information which was thankfully never given as an info dump. I liked reading how Mel goes to salvage shops in order to find actual old pieces of house, how she works with specialist at restoring old windows, and how she takes old photos and newspaper clippings to use as a blueprint for her work. I mean, that stuff is cool. I love history! I also like that tea cozy mysteries are full of flawed fictional characters, whose descriptions don’t tend to run toward skinny, beautiful teenagers, with violet eyes. But rather, curvy, brunettes wary of false praises from silver tonged men. Once issue I had was Mel was her way of dressing. Because she is a woman in the construction trade, she feels that she has to make a stand that women can do it too . . . . with her clothing. I don’t even, I can’t even, what? Doesn’t she take pride in a growing business at a time when most are failing? Shouldn’t that garner her respect from her foreman and employees? Besides, she has to cover up her flowery dresses by a local designer with coveralls. So, it seems a strange stand to take, but she lives in California, so I just kind of frowned and shrugged my shoulders. (Seriously, garnering respect with clothes. What?)

If Walls Could Talk was an interesting and well written mystery. I liked the dash of paranormal (seeing ghosts is cool). I liked that it wasn’t the main focus of the book, but the mystery of the killer was. Personally if I was seeing ghosts because someone had recently been killed in a home I was renovating, I too would want to find the killer, lessen my chances of becoming a ghost, and leave the freaking out about being a little on the Haley Joel Osment side later. Mel’s old flame turned possible new flame is an intelligent man which a good heart, and I liked him. I’m not overly invested in him as a character because he was kind of a side plot in the book. But I’m OK with that scenario in the first book of a series. If you like tea cozy mysteries or paranormal mysteries, give this series a try. It is fun and entertaining, and definitely a quick read.

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