(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.
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 http://www.jenniebentley.com/