It’s been a bit longer than I would have liked, but I’m back at expanding the Most Popular and Recommended Series list, which is composed of both my own personal favorites that I’m rereading as well as series that Cozy Mystery site readers have suggested in the monthly recommendations posts. This month, I’m trying to read several novels – the first of which is Kathleen Bridge‘s Hampton Home & Garden Mystery Series. I read the first book in the series, Better Homes and Corpses.
The sleuth of the novel, Meg Barrett, left her editor job at a top home and gardens magazine in New York City after learning that her boyfriend/boss was cheating on her. Naturally, this leaves her free to pursue her true passion – home restoration and decoration for the wealthy living in the Hamptons of New York.
Since she’s still growing her business and trying to get more connections among the Hamptons Elite, Meg lucks out when she runs into her old college roommate, Jillian Spenser, who happens to be the daughter of the “Queen Mother of the Hamptons”, Caroline Spenser. But when Meg goes to visit the Spenser estate, she arrives to find Caroline Spenser dead and Jillian injured. Unfortunately, despite Jillian surviving, she appears to have come down with a case of short term memory amnesia – which her doctors consider relatively expected, due to both a blow to a head and the trauma of her mother’s death.
This might have ended Meg’s connection to the murder, but between her connection to one of the victims and a request from another appraiser to help catalog the estate to determine if anything was missing in the wake of the murder, Meg quickly finds herself further embroiled in the mystery. Fortunately, Meg has law enforcement in her blood, as her father is a retired police detective.
The novel spends a fair amount of time on its specific focus point, interior decorating and home improvement, so fans of those particular focuses will definitely find a lot to enjoy in the novel. There’s also a strong romance element.
Kathleen Bridge also writes the By the Sea Mystery Series, which stars Liz Holt, who works at a family owned inn on Melbourne Beach in Florida.
PS: For readers who are fans of recipes, this series includes a few at the end of each novel – as well as home improvement tips to fit with the “Home & Garden” theme!