Monday, February 20, 2023

Primer and Punishment - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Primer and Punishment (A House Flipper Mystery #5) by Diane Kelly

Rating: Liked It! (3.5 Stars)
Source:   Publisher

Description:  Carpenter Whitney Whitaker and her cousin Buck are looking once again to rehab and resell a house, only this particular house is made of fiberglass, floats, and has been dubbed the Skinny Dipper. The old houseboat sure could use some work, but the unusual project has Whitney bubbling with excitement.

The charming and handsome Grant Hardisty lives on the cabin cruiser in the adjacent slip, but the cousins soon learn he’s left a half dozen angry ex-wives in his wake and made enemies of all sorts of unsavory folks. The man is clearly caught in an increasingly dangerous current with no life preserver in sight.

Whitney and Buck are spraying primer on their houseboat when—KABOOM!—Grant’s boat blows sky high with the man himself inside. Detective Collin Flynn has no shortage of suspects, but the waters become muddied when several of them confess to the crime. Is one of those who confessed truly guilty, or are they taking a dive for someone else? When anonymous threats are made against the cousins, Whitney must quickly determine who killed their neighbor at the lake, or she and Buck might also be sunk.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I enjoyed a previous book I read in this series and I loved that this involves a houseboat.

My Impression: I've read one previous book in the series but have missed the other three.  While I'm usually a fan of reading a series in order I really didn't feel that going into this kind of blind detracted from my enjoyment at all.  The relationship between the characters is fairly simple so there's not a lot of complicated backstory to keep track of or figure out.  

Whitney and her cousin Buck flip houses but when the housing market takes off leaving few properties available they decide to try something a little out of their comfort zone - flipping a houseboat.  I really enjoyed their time working on the boat.  Buck and Whitney are nice people if not the biggest personalities and are both capable at their profession.  Their neighbor, Grant, is a much bigger personality and at first seems like a nice guy but as Whitney and Buck get to know him better they quickly learn that the nice affable front is merely that - a front.  When Grant meets his untimely end the real question isn't who would want to kill him but which one of the potential dozens of suspects actually did it.  

The ending was satisfying though felt a little rushed and it was fun to see it all come together.  This is an entertaining light read with a nice summer-y setting and I thought the little add-ins by Whitney's cat Sawdust were adorable.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Definitely!  I need to read the books I've missed in the series.  

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you're in the mood for a light cozy read with likable characters and a fast pace this is a fun book to pick up.

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *


  1. I enjoy house flipping and HGTV so I plant to try this series.

    Anne – Books of My Heart

  2. I felt the same about this one (review posts tomorrow). Not sure if I'll get back to the series any time soon but I definitely would like to.
    Mary @Bookfan

  3. I love the idea of flipping a houseboat! This looks like fun

  4. Great review, I love the house flipping aspects.

  5. This sounds like a fun mystery! I like the fact that they are flipping a boat.

  6. Just come from reading Mary's review for this one and she enjoyed it too and I love the idea of doing up a houseboat.

  7. I always enjoy this author but I haven't read this series yet.