One Hot Murder continues Lorraine Bartlett’s Victoria Square series in which Katie Bonner manages Artisan’s Alley, a cooperative of artists in a large space that is really suffering under the summer heat wave. Just as Katie is leaving her boyfriend’s pizza shop one hot summer night, she notices the smell of fire, and soon the fire department is on the scene where Wood U, a shop that sells souvenirs made of wood, is alight. Inside the shop, the fire department finds the body of a man, but his face is so obliterated by a gunshot blast that no one knows who the victim is.
The hot summer heat wave keeps tempers short, especially since Artisan’s Alley is having serious problems with its air conditioning system, with certain areas being kept too cold and other areas stifling from the heat. Food starts disappearing from the vendors’ refrigerator, and Katie finds evidence of a squatter in the alley. Plus, as president of the Victoria Square Merchants Association, Katie is having trouble with the owner of a store in the Square. Further, to Katie’s heartbreak, the Webster Mansion that Katie has longed for many years to turn into a B&B gets sold, and the couple who has purchased it has a vision almost identical to the one Katie has nursed for ages.
This book does not follow the same tight plot of a murder investigation of the previous books in the series, but it is effective nonetheless. The many elements of life in Victoria Square fascinate, and things that seem to be unrelated do connect back together, even if only loosely. I really enjoyed this book and its flavor. With more than just a murder going on, life at Artisan’s Alley is fascinating and fun. I enjoyed getting to see the way that Katie deals with the many issues in her life.
Jorjeana Marie narrates the audio version of this book and does a lot to help bring this book to life. She portrays Katie effectively, and I really like her voice. She also portrays the other characters well, and I’d enjoy hearing what kind of job Marie is capable of doing in another series.
I really found One Hot Murder to be a highly enjoyable book. I have come to enjoy the writing of Lorraine Bartlett, and this series is very creatively done. I like the setting of the series and the details found in it. The conclusion was creative and well-written too. I give this book five stars!
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