Saturday, January 8, 2011

Can you say COLD???

(Submitted by Avery Baker, narrator of the Do It Yourself mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime, written by Jennie Bentley)

You know, it’s been a nice couple of months. Aside from the weather, anyway. I thought I was used to the snow and the cold—it isn’t like New York City ’s exactly tropical, is it? And I’ve spent my whole life there, or at least I had before last summer—but until you spend a winter in Maine , believe me, you have no idea what cold is. Or snow.

I stayed inside Aunt Inga’s house for most of January and February and even part of March, huddled in front of the fireplace. I knitted a fisherman’s sweater for Derek. Made a down vest for myself. Sewed some slipcovers and curtains and a couple of dresses for the summer in hopes that we’d see warmer weather soon. And I taught two classes at Barnham College , while Derek picked up a little extra money laying tile in other people’s bathrooms and painting other people’s walls.

Melissa’s walls, to be specific. And Melissa’s bathroom. Now that she’s single again, she seems determined to spend as much time as possible with her ex—emphasis on ex—husband.

So in that sense, maybe it’s a good thing we’re going back to work. Get my boyfriend away from his ex-wife and her incessant demands on his time. Once we got the money for the house on Becklea Drive, we went ahead and bought that big center-chimney Colonial on Rowanberry Island that Derek wanted, and I’ve practically had to tie him down to keep him from going out there over the past month and a half. But really, he’d probably catch his death trying to work with nothing but 225-year-old walls between him and the elements. Hypothermia isn’t something to be careless with.

But now it’s time. It’s getting warmer—warmer than it was, at any rate—and I can’t hold Derek off any longer. We start working on the house tomorrow. And for once—please, God!—I pray that we can get through a single renovation without any dead bodies or missing persons or family secrets or mortal peril. Just this once. It would be so very nice.

Fingers crossed!

Avery and her boyfriend Derek renovate houses in Waterfield , Maine . Their adventures can be found in Fatal Fixer-Upper (2008), Spackled and Spooked (2009) and Plaster and Poison (2010), as well as the brand new Mortar and Murder (January 2011). To learn more about Avery and her doings and undoings, please visit


  1. SPACKLED AND SPOOKED and PLASTER AND POISON are on the nightstand....cannot wait!! Waiting for FATAL FIXER-UPPER from a friend.

  2. Love reading about the lives and adventures of these, people. Fell in love with Maine on vacation there 3 years ago, so it's like a mini-vacation for me in each book. Keep these adventures coming!

  3. Avery, I'll have to come visit you and Derek. The shop and apartment I just bought were beautifully renovated. But the quaint little Victorian cottage in my back yard will need some work before I can rent it out, and I can use some pointers. Besides, Maine sounds lovely.

  4. Hi, Avery. Nice name. :) What fun that you do this with Derek. My cousin and I just renovated Fromagerie Bessette (The Cheese Shop) in Providence, Ohio. Now we're thinking about starting a basement project--to create a wine and cheese cellar. Sure could use some tips. I think the love of my life, Jordan, is going to offer a few.

    ~Charlotte Bessette

  5. Another set of characters that I need to meet. Can't wait to meet you.

  6. You guys are so nice! Thanks for having me here today!

    Vickie - I hope you'll enjoy the adventures!

    Allison - I'll do my best!

    Willow, yes, Maine *is* lovely. Just not in the winter.

    Charlotte - having found the love your life is a wonderful thing. Especially when he's good with his hands and has power tools.

    Nancy, I'm looking forward to meeting you too!

  7. Hi Avery,

    I've read all of your stories and have enjoyed them. We definitely have to find Melissa her own man to grab onto.

  8. Avery...of course you'll find another dead body! I can't wait to read all about your adventures!

  9. Avery, I couldn't believe everything that happened when you tried to renovate Aunt Inga's house! I'm rooting for you and Derek. Stupid Melissa. Can't wait to read more about your adventures in Maine.

  10. Surely, Melissa won't be able to follow you to the island. Knowing her she'll build a bridge...sheesh!

  11. I love renovation projects. I have a half bath and a full bath in those old black and green tiles that I've been itching to rip out. But I spent a lot of money when I bought my ex-husband's share of the house, so the bathrooms have been on a back burner. Soon, I'll get to them very soon -- I hope!

    ~Sophie Winston
    Domestic Diva Mysteries

  12. I'm a DIY-er at heart, but think I'd have a heart attack if I ever found a body! Can't wait to read your latest, Jennie!

  13. I love cozy reads more than any other and this one sounds awesomeeeeeeeeee.
    Patty/wolfie53 at