After splurging to buy her childhood home in the Catskills, recently widowed Mikki Lincoln emerges from retirement as a freelance editor. But it’s not long before Mikki realizes that the village of Lenape Hollow isn’t the thriving tourist destination it was decades ago. Not with a murderer on the loose . . .
When perky novice writer Tiffany Scott knocks at her door holding a towering manuscript, Mikki expects another debut novel plagued by typos and sloppy prose. Instead, she finds a murder mystery ripped from the headlines of Lenape Hollow’s not-too-distant past. The opening scene is a graphic page-turner, but it sends a real chill down Mikki’s spine after the young author turns up dead just like the victim in her story . . .
Mikki refuses to believe that Tiffany’s death was accidental, and suspicions of foul play solidify as she uncovers a strange inconsistency in the manuscript and a possible motive in the notes. As she gets closer to cracking the case, only one person takes Mikki’s investigation seriously—the cunning killer who will do anything to make this chapter of her life come to a very abrupt ending . . .
“The signature cozy style of Dunnett's Liss MacCrimmon series translates easily to this editorially focused new venture.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Whoever thought that being an editor could be hazardous to your life? The final reveal at the end was perfection.” —I Am, Indeed
About the Author
KAITLYN DUNNETT grew up in the Borscht Belt of New York state, otherwise known as the Sullivan County Catskills, the area she writes about in the Deadly Edits mysteries. These days, Kaitlyn lives in the mountains of western Maine with her husband and cats and can be reached through her website at www.kaitlyndunnett.com.
Read an Excerpt
"I don't know, Cal. It doesn't look good."
Always the silent type, Cal stared back at me with big green eyes and an enigmatic expression.
"You should be concerned," I said. "If I can't pay the bills, both of us will be reduced to eating cut-rate cat food."
That earned me what we used to call "the hairy eyeball."
"What do you know?" I muttered. "You're a cat."
Cal is short for Calpurnia. She's a seven-year-old calico. I'm Mikki Lincoln, her sixty-eight-year-old source of food, affection, and a warm place to sleep. She stretched out next to me on the loveseat as I once again scanned the handwritten numbers on the notepad on my lap. The totals hadn't changed. I'd committed myself to spending more than the sum of my various retirement incomes. I'd also well and truly burned my bridges, leaving me with a cat and a hundred-and-ten-year-old, three-story house to support.
In difficult situations, indulging in fantasy is a perfectly acceptable coping mechanism. I considered that as good an excuse as any for pretending that Cal and I were carrying on a conversation. Yes, I knew full well that I was talking to myself. I just wasn't ready to admit it.
"Come on, Cal. Help me out. Surely I have some marketable skill."
Desperation is the mother of inspiration, or if it isn't, it should be. Calpurnia had no useful suggestions to contribute, but the minute those words left my mouth, the proverbial light bulb went on over my head.
"That's it!" I hauled ten solid pounds of calico cat into my arms and gave her a celebratory hug. "There is something I know how to do!"
Calpurnia kicked me in the stomach, forcing me to release her. She jumped from the loveseat to the floor and stalked to the far side of the room. There, ignoring me, oblivious to the fact that relief and anticipation had replaced my earlier dismay and despair, she sat, lifted her back leg, and began to wash her nether regions.
Two Months Later
I'd forgotten how harsh our doorbell sounded until it broke the peaceful stillness of mid-morning, after the children attending the parochial school across the street were all snug in their classrooms. I wasn't expecting anyone. The contractors had finished giving me their estimates. The men hired to do the next batch of renovations wouldn't start work for another ten days.
Although I am not by nature a timid person, I took the precaution of peeking out through the drapes covering the picture window in the living room. For the past few months, I'd had to keep reminding myself that I was a woman of a certain age living alone. It didn't make sense to take foolish chances.
The line of sight was poor, but it was sufficient to let me see that the person standing on my front porch looked harmless. A short, plump, pretty blonde in designer jeans and a bright orange turtleneck sweater and boots with three-inch heels took a step back, shifting her weight from foot to foot as she waited for me to answer the door. Young and eager were my secondary impressions, and I couldn't help but notice that she had a bulky mailer, almost certainly containing a manuscript, securely tucked under one arm. Odds were good that I wasn't about to admit an ax murderer into my home.
"Ms. Lincoln?" she asked when I opened the door. The hopeful note in her voice was a match for the cautiously optimistic expression on her face. "I'm Tiffany Scott. I understand you're a book doctor."
That description always sets my teeth on edge. I schooled my features not to betray my distaste for the term and said only, "I edit manuscripts for a living," as I waved her into the hallway. "Excuse the mess. I'm remodeling."
Glancing into the living room as we passed the archway that opened into it from the hall, I winced. In preparation for the work to be done upstairs, it currently contained twice as much furniture as it should have. Teetering stacks of cardboard boxes added to the obstacle course. I'd tripped twice on my way to peek out the front window.
"This is a great old place." Tiffany sounded sincere. "My husband insists that everything in the house he built for me be brand-new. Sometimes I visit my grandmother just to remind myself how lovely antiques can be."
Since I was old enough to be Tiffany's grandmother myself, I chose to take this as a compliment. In my own mind, of course, I am much younger than my chronological age and definitely not an antique!
"I bought it while I was still living in Maine."
Her eyes widened. "Sight unseen?"
"Not in the usual sense. I lived in this house until I was seventeen."
Unfortunately, in the fifty-one year interim, a series of owners had neglected to upgrade the wiring or plumbing or make significant repairs to the roof or to interior walls and floors. The old wooden siding had been replaced with aluminum at some point, removing the need for periodic scraping and repainting, but otherwise little had been done to modernize the structure. I shuddered every time I thought about how much work needed to be done to make the place fully habitable.
I'd already had a new roof put on. There hadn't been much choice about that, not when there was so much evidence that the old one leaked every time it rained. Now my contractor had lined up an electrician and a plumber to bring the basics up to code before winter set in. After that, there would be a million and one small renovations to complete, but I was hoping I could do some of them myself.
When Tiffany rang my doorbell, I'd been enjoying a second cup of coffee in the alcove off the kitchen that my mother always called "the dinette." It was as good a place as any for us to talk.
"Something to drink?" I indicated the coffee maker I'd bought right after I moved in. Most of the K-Cups I had on hand were the blend I drank every day, but I still had a few of the samples that had come with the machine — tea, hot chocolate, a half-caff, and a super dark roast that was way too strong for my taste.
"No thank you. Ms. Lincoln, I —"
"Better make that Mikki." Tiffany might be at least forty years my junior, but the relationship between writer and editor is a partnership best approached on equal terms.
Once we were both settled at the small, square table that filled most of the alcove, a little silence fell. I'd barely established a presence online and hadn't done any advertising locally. I didn't plan to, either. Potential clients were supposed to contact me by email. Having one show up on my doorstep was a trifle disconcerting.
To gather my thoughts, I stared out at my backyard through two side-by-side windows. Very little light made its way in. What I remembered as a lawn with one big spruce halfway to the back property line was now a small forest. The lot wasn't all that big, but someone had planted trees — lots of trees of many varieties — in every available spot. I like trees. I used to live in Maine. But this was a bit much even for me.
"Mikki?" Tiffany's tentative tone of voice brought me back to the table and the manuscript she still clutched.
"If you don't mind my asking, how did you hear about my editing service?"
She relaxed at once. "Oh, you were easy to find. I did an online search for freelance editors, and when I saw you were based right here in Lenape Hollow, I knew you were the perfect one to help me. It was meant."
Tiffany's tendency to gush made her seem alarmingly naïve. I suspected that, like many novice writers, she was unaware of how easy she would be to cheat. She needed to be wary of bogus publishing companies and agents who charged a "reading fee," and those dangers were just the tip of the iceberg.
"Are you certain you don't want to query other editors before settling on me? It makes sense to compare prices and evaluate the various services available before you —"
"I want you." As if to prove it, Tiffany released the death grip she'd had on her oversize mailer and slid it across the table toward me.
"Here's the thing, Tiffany. Even though you seem certain I'm the right editor for you, I can't agree to take on a project until I know more about it. There are some genres, science fiction for instance, that I would hesitate to tackle. I'd be a very bad choice if that's what you've written."
"It's not science fiction. I've written a mystery novel. Your web page said you work with crime novels and women's fiction."
Feeling a bit more comfortable, I eased the manuscript out of the mailer and set the latter aside. "Do you want me to do copyediting, line editing, developmental editing, or all three?" "I'd like you to read my novel and tell me what to fix so it will sell." She leaned closer, her voice earnest and her insecurities about her writing on full display. She looked heart-wrenchingly vulnerable. If I'd known her better, I'd have given her a reassuring hug.
"If I do developmental editing, that means I'd make suggestions for changes. After you revise your manuscript, maybe more than once, I'd do line editing, which is just what it sounds like, and then, finally, copy editing, which is checking for typos, grammar and punctuation errors, and the like." I waited until she met my eyes. "All that could get expensive."
"I've got money. And I want you."
"Well, then, let's see what we have here." I wasn't quite ready to commit myself, but I was encouraged by Tiffany's attitude.
I treated the thick stack of printed pages as gently as a mother with a newborn. Measuring by eye, I estimated that she'd used almost a full ream of paper for the printout — five hundred pages. At about two hundred fifty words a page, that came to around 125,000 words. Unless every word was golden, she would have some cutting to do.
"Most writing needs to be trimmed," I warned her, and lowered my gaze to the first page.
After the words "Chapter One," Tiffany had added a dateline — 1937. That her novel was historical would present additional editing challenges. I'd have to be alert for anachronisms as well as for grammar and punctuation problems.
"I'm not an expert in this time period," I warned her. "It's your responsibility to make sure the details are right."
"I've done tons of research," she assured me.
I began to read. My eyes widened as an exceedingly graphic description of a murder unfolded. The writing was ... vivid.
I love words, and Tiffany had chosen hers well in these first passages. She'd also avoided making any grammar or usage errors, something that would have jerked me right out of the story.
When I looked up, I saw that Tiffany's hands were clasped together so tightly that the knuckles showed white. I know that's a cliché, but it was also the literal truth. My client was scared to death that I might hate what she'd written.
I have to admit that I'm not fond of reading about blood and gore, but I could stomach a good deal of violence if her prose was all this memorable. Besides, her business, and the advance I was going to ask for, would be very welcome.
"Your opening certainly grabs the reader's attention," I said.
A smile blossomed on Tiffany's face, turning her cheeks pink with pleasure. "Oh, I'm so glad you like it."
I wouldn't go that far, I thought, but I could see how this book might appeal to fans of the hard-boiled end of the crime novel spectrum.
"You have a strong voice, Tiffany, and appear to have a good command of the English language. You've obviously taken the time to learn the basics of formatting a manuscript. That said, until I've read the entire novel, I can't offer specific suggestions for improving it. Tell me, do you belong to a critique group?" She shook her head and her smile vanished. "Hardly anyone knows I write in my spare time."
"Not even your husband?"
She shook her head and avoided meeting my eyes. "No one in my family has a clue."
It was rare, these days, for someone to complete a book-length manuscript in a vacuum, but Tiffany appeared to have managed it. On further questioning, she admitted to reading how-to books and Writer's Digest, but she had never shared anything she had written.
"You're the first person ever to read my work."
"Okay, then. Tell me — why did you choose to focus on 1930s gangland killings?"
She shrugged. "It's part of the history of this area. If you grew up here, you must know that."
"Before my time," I reminded her, "but, yes, I have heard of Murder Incorporated."
Back in the 1930s, New York City gangsters regularly used our part of Sullivan County as a dumping ground for their murder victims. The body in Tiffany's scene had been killed with an ice pick, bound with sash cord and ignition wire from an automobile, tied to a rock and to the frame of a slot machine, and thrown into a local lake.
"Did you use details from a real crime?" I asked.
"Oh, yes. It's important to be authentic."
"You might want to consider losing the slot machine. What's true isn't always believable in a novel."
Her face puckered up as if she might burst into tears. To my relief, it cleared again the next moment. "Is that like 'kill your darlings'?"
"Exactly." I sent an encouraging smile her way. "Can you deal with the possibility that some of your favorite passages may be the ones that need to be cut?"
I could see she was torn, but she put on a brave face and stuck out a hand. "If you take me on as a client, I promise to listen with an open mind to all your suggestions."
We shook on it.
Having sealed the deal, we got down to basics. Although she had already seen my rates listed at my website, I went over those details again as I entered them into the simple contract a lawyer friend had helped me devise. Tiffany didn't even blink when she wrote a check for half the estimated cost of her developmental edit.
After we'd agreed to meet again the following week, I escorted her to the door. Then I did a happy dance all the way back to the kitchen. I celebrated my acquisition of a new client by taking myself out to a nice restaurant for lunch and bringing the leftovers home for Calpurnia.
Three days later, Tiffany's manuscript sat beside my laptop as I typed. I was on my front porch, comfortably settled in a well-padded wicker chair. I was supposed to be working. Instead, I was sending jpegs to my sister-in-law.
Fall colors had just started to appear on the trees. No one could deny the scenic beauty of pictures that showed mountains and lakes. I felt certain Allie would also be struck, as I had been, by the similarities in terrain between the foothills of New York State's Catskills and the western part of Maine where I had lived for most of the last fifty years. I hoped that realization would reassure her that I knew what I was doing.
The entire family thought I was nuts to uproot myself at my age and start over somewhere else. They didn't understand how difficult it would have been to stay put.
The final photograph I attached to my email showed a particularly brilliant sunset over Chestnut Mountain, a good-sized hill in the western part of Lenape Hollow. If I hadn't known better, I'd have thought it was the view from the road approaching our weathered farmhouse in Maine. I'd always thought that panorama quite lovely, especially in autumn.
As I pressed SEND and exited the email program, I debated whether or not to snap a few pictures of the village to go with my next message. To my delight, I'd discovered that downtown Lenape Hollow was looking pretty dapper. Many of the buildings had been newly painted. Although a few of the storefronts stood empty, signs in their windows read OPENING SOON rather than BUSINESS PROPERTY FOR RENT.
The signs themselves were a good indicator of increasing prosperity. One of the new businesses in the village was a state-of-the-art sign company. Their prices were high, but the results were stunning, large and durable and featuring easy-to-read lettering and clever graphics.
Only last week, the local newspaper reported that the town had approved spending nearly fifty thousand dollars to hire a public relations firm to market it as an ideal location to establish a small business. The new casino might have been awarded to another municipality, but Lenape Hollow was centrally located in the county and therefore well placed for economic growth. All in all, the future looked promising. Next time I went downtown, I would definitely take pictures.
The only place I was not prepared to share in photos was my house. There was a good reason for that. I was on the front porch with my laptop, at least in part because the room I intended to use as an office was not yet fit for human occupation. Although I was able to do some home repairs myself, there was too much that needed to be fixed for me to tackle it all. I meant to limit my activities to the small upstairs room where I'd already ripped up moldy carpeting to reveal a scarred wooden floor.
Excerpted from "Crime & Punctuation"
Copyright © 2018 Kathy Lynn Emerson.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Series: A Deadly Edits Mystery - Book 1 Author: Kaitlyn Dunnett Genre: Cozy Mystery/Book/Editor Publisher: Kensington Books Page Count: 304 From Kensington Books is a new Kaitlyn Dunnett cozy series “A Deadly Edits Mystery” book one, Crime & Punctuation. This is a very enjoyable book which has the potential to be a new fan favorite cozy series. Mikki isn’t your average amateur sleuth, but she is a character that readers can get behind. Mikki isn’t young, she is retired and a widow. She spends her days talking to her cat, Cal and renovating her childhood home. She never thought she would find herself starting over at her age. The death of her husband uproots her life. She finds that she needs to separate herself from the memories of their life together. What better place to do that than where she grew up? Friends she played with and went through school with are still around, as is the girl from school she never got along with and bullied her throughout high school and before. You would think that childish nonsense would be above them at their age but apparently, old rivalries and insecurities never really end. Characters in this book give the reader a warm feeling. Most of them are likable. Some characters are exactly what they are meant to be, antagonists, with a need to upset the happiness of those around them, forcing them to do and say things they really shouldn’t. The victim is sympathetic with the illusion of innocence. Readers will find that they really want to see justice done and the killer caught. Suspects are plentiful, each with a motive that is plausible. When the killer is exposed, it comes as no surprise. The murderers motive seems irrational and yet, credible. In a world where people are killed every day for petty, illogical reasons the motive isn’t all that crazy. Crime & Punctuation is easy to read, fast-paced, with twists and turns that will have readers happy and confused at the same time. You will fall in love with Mikki and cheer for her success. It is easy to sympathize with her plight, her fears, and her need to make things right. I am happy to recommend this skillfully crafted, pleasurable book and cozy series.
Whoever thought that being an editor could be hazardous to your life? Time consuming, occasionally frustrating, and with the inability to shut off that little voice that causes you to explain to harried civil service workers that they need a comma or apostrophe, or take note of the Oxford comma. Such is the new life of Mikki (Michelle) Lincoln, returning to her childhood home (and town) after the death of her husband left her at loose ends. Her high school reunion notice provided the perfect opportunity, and when her childhood home was for sale – she jumped at the chance, sight unseen. Of course, in the intervening half-century, the town has changed, and the house has aged – and mounting repair bills mean this retired English teacher has to find work, and find it fast, if she doesn’t want to be bankrupted by a money pit. After biting the bullet and getting her business started – a knock at the door brings a client – a first for her (and most editors), with an historic mystery suspense, loosely based on a series of mob-style killings. The author is a young girl from the small New York town, married well, and granddaughter of Mikki’s nemesis from school. The early chapters were promising, and Mikki takes on the client – setting a meeting with her the following week. Not many days later, the local police arrive at Mikki’s, her business card in an evidence baggie, it’s obvious that the card was soaking wet – laundered perhaps? But no, the young author is dead, and the fun now begins. I adored Mikki – at 60-something, she’s still dealing with the loss of her husband and her tendency to isolate herself because, (as she says) as an only child she was both self-sufficient and comfortable finding her own amusement. Coming back isn’t all bad, however, her best friend Darlene, has some ‘background’ information that piques Mikki’s curiosity, a proposed development of an amusement park to draw tourists, a rather curious series of main street businesses being bought out or closed, and plenty of threats from break-ins to warnings, being chased by a truck, and her ever-constant curiosity, as well as some ‘townie’ knowledge that would evade most incomers, Mikki has plenty to think on, and no real acceptance for her questions. Several twists, turns and plenty of potential suspects kept me wondering, right along with Mikki, and the final reveal at the end was perfection. Coming home was never so full of adventure! I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Crime & Punctuation by Kaitlyn Dunnett is the first book in the new cozy series: Deadly Edits. I had read other books by this author and enjoyed them, so between that and the wonderful cover, I could not resist. I am glad that I did. I enjoyed this book and look forward the next in this series. Mikki Lincoln is 68 years old and a recent widow. She lives with her cat Calpurnia, Cal for short. After buying back her childhood home in the Catskills, which needed a lot of work, Mikki's retirement budget is stretched a bit too thin for comfort. Being a retired English teacher, she begins her own business working as a freelance editor. Tiffany Scott, her newest client leaves her manuscript with Mikki and is found dead a few days later. What initially looks like an accident, after reading what Tiffany had written in her book, Mikki thinks it may be a murder. She decides to conduct her own investigation when the local police start focusing on the wrong suspect. I love the characters in this book! Mikki is a retired, senior citizen, but feisty, incredibly intelligent and observant. She rekindles relationships with several others she went to school with back in the day. Darlene becomes her partner in crime. She has crippling arthritis, but doesn’t let it slow her down. Using an electric scooter, walker, and wheelchair, she gets to where she wants to go. Together they make an amazing team. The rest of the supporting cast is just as quirky and lovable as Mikki. I love Calpurnia; she had a few situations that cat lovers will both smile and gasp at. The story is a fun mix of humor and sleuthing. The plot moved along at a nice pace, with a few suspects and some surprises. The ending was wonderful, I never suspected the killer until just before the final reveal. This is a great beginning to this series and I recommend it to any cozy mystery lover. The publisher, Kensington Publishing Corporation, generously provided me with a copy of this book upon my request. The rating, opinions and ideas shared are my own.
Recently widowed, Mikki London leaves Maine behind and returns to New York to purchase her childhood home. To pay the bills, she decides to become an editor for hire, and her career starts off with a jolt when her first client, young Tiffany Scott, is found dead with Mikki's business card in her pocket. There's quite a bit going on behind the scenes in Lenape Hollow, and Mikki's inquisitiveness puts her life in danger more than once as she tries to discover what really happened to Tiffany. Was the story she'd left in Mikki's care the reason for her untimely death, was it a horrible accident, or could it even have been suicide? Very nicely crafted, and the ending definitely leaves the door open for future installments. Crime & Punctuation is a lovely start to Kaitlynn Dunnett's new Deadly Edits series, and I hope there will be many more books to enjoy!
Dollycas’s Thoughts Mikki London was a school teacher, she retired and then her husband passed away. To fill the time and make some money to help with her home renovation she becomes a freelance editor. She makes most of her contacts online so she is surprised when Tiffany Scott shows up at her home with a 500-page manuscript. She gets another surprise when she looks over the first few pages and is drawn in by both the story and the lack of grammatical errors. The story is a little graphic for her taste but is intrigued by its local theme. When the young author dies 3 days later, just like the victim in the story Mikki immediately suspects foul play but it has been ruled accidental, maybe even a suicide. She tries to work with the police but gets nowhere. Then Tiffany’s grandmother is arrested, accused of killing her granddaughter. Again, Mikki tries to convince the police they have arrested the wrong person. Unfortunately only the killer is paying attention. Mikki may be joining her husband in the great beyond much sooner than planned. I am sure Mikki London would cringe at all the typos and grammatical errors I make every day on this blog. I don’t do it on purpose. I always received good grades in English but I have forgotten so much of what my teachers tried to cram into my brain. I like that Mikki is an older protagonist, complete with hearing aids, something new for me in a cozy. She is taking great strides to carry on her life without her husband. Buying and renovating her childhood home is a huge undertaking. She hires help for the things she can’t do and takes on the projects she can complete, mindful that it is going to take time to get everything just right. She is also a reluctant sleuth. When she finds what she thinks must be a key piece of evidence she is not sure how to handle it but quickly finds herself digging for answers. There is a character a lot like me, Darlene – challenged by our body’s betrayal. Mine due to an auto accident, her due to crippling arthritis. She doesn’t let it slow her down, electric scooter, walker, wheelchair, she gets to where she wants to go. She deals with a scary moment and my heart was breaking for her. She handled it just like I would have, thankfully her friend Mikki had her back. Together they make an amazing team. The other characters in the story were well developed as well. I also enjoyed that Mikki has a feline companion, Calpurnia. I found the mystery to be very interesting with a limited number of suspects. The pages were turning at a speedy pace. I followed along with the twists and turns, solved the mystery and reached the end. Surprised I had read the entire book in one sitting. I really like Mikki and Darlene. I am hoping to visit them again soon.
Crime & Punctuation, by Kaitlynn Dunnett, is a great first in a new series. I love the cover of this book and the pages in between are even better. The protagonist is a proof reader and editor, a job she can do to supplement her income. Aided by her cat Cal, short for Calpurnia, Mikki is renovating her childhood hood home in upstate New York. Life is going well for Mikki until that fateful morning when a young writer knocks on her door, leaving her with more than a manuscript when she leaves. Mikki is drawn into a murder investigation and what she discovers will leave you speechless. I am a huge fan of Ms. Dunnett so seeing this intriguing cozy mystery on NetGalley caught my attention. I volunteered to read and review an ARC of this book provided by the publisher and NetGalley.
Crime and Punctuation by Kaitlyn Dunnett is the first novel in A Deadly Edits Mystery series. Mikki Lincoln has moved to Lenape Hollow, New York and purchased a beautiful one hundred ten year old home that used to be in her family. However, it is in desperate need of repairs and Mikki needs to find a way to finance them. Mikki utilizes her strengths of English and grammar to become a freelance editor and calls her business Write Right Wright. One day Tiffany Scott arrives on Mikki’s doorstep clutching an envelope to her chest. Tiffany has written a 1930s mystery that is based on real life gangland killings. Three days later, Mikki is visited by Detective Hazlett who informs her that Tiffany has passed away. While the police do not suspect foul play at this time, Mikki believes it is too coincidental and decides to do a little probing. Mikki learns that Tiffany’s husband has been buying up land to build a theme park. Many people are against the proposed venture including Tiffany’s grandmother, Ronnie North (who is also Mikki’s high school nemesis). After three people inquire if Tiffany left anything with her, Mikki takes a further look at the manuscript. What did Tiffany uncover while researching the material for her novel? Someone is not happy with Mikki’s sleuthing and attempts to shut her down. Can Mikki find the killer or will she end up the next victim? Crime and Punctuation has a unique premise with an older main character who has a freelance editing business. I like that Mikki has retired, uprooted her life and starting a new business venture. She is sixty-eight years old with no intention of sitting around her house twiddling her thumbs. I did find Mikki, though, to be slightly lackluster. The author failed to bring her fully to life (at least for me). Her home, though, sounds charming and I like that she is bringing the old beauty back to life. The town was a disappointment. We are introduced to some of the people who live in the area, but most of the shops are deserted (courtesy of Greg Onslow, Tiffany’s hubby). The small-town charm and coziness was missing for me (one of the things I love about cozy mysteries). The mystery was medium level. The author did provide some misdirection to throw readers off the scent of the real culprit. However, I found it too easy to identify the killer and figure out why the crime was committed. The pacing was slow and I was happy when it picked up in the last quarter of the book as we get closer to catching the killer (more action). There is a repetition of information along with speculation that seemed to be filler (I wanted more substance). There are grammar tips and explanations interspersed throughout the story (Oxford comma and difference between further and farther for example). I missed the humor and ease that is present in Kaitlyn Dunnett’s A Liss MacCrimmon Mystery series. I am rating Crime and Punctuation 3 out of 5 stars.
Crime and Punctuation by Kaitlyn Dunnet is a new cozy series set in the Catskills and featuring a sweet and older protagonist than what is usually found in cozy mysteries today. I liked Mikki and applauded her move to start life anew after her husband died by returning to her childhood home. The story began slowly setting up the small town and the characters and finally picked up the pace about 30% into the book. Ms. Dunnet's descriptive writing made Lenape Hollow come to life as the book opened. The police rule the victim's death as accidental but Mikki refuses to believe that and begins her own investigation. There were some twists, very few suspects and only Mikki's belief that the death was actually a murder. An interesting afternoon read that can keep a reader entertained. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from Kensington via NetGalley. My personal ratings is 3 1/2 stars. All of the above opinions are my own.
I received a free copy of Crime & Punctuation by Kaitlyn Dunnett in exchange for an honest review. Widow and independent editor Mikki Lincoln has returned to her hometown and has moved back into her childhood home. When the police show up to question Mikki about the suspicious death of a new client, Mikki is concerned. When Mikki is menaced and harassed about her interactions with the deceased, Mikki becomes alarmed. When law enforcement seems to be going astray and the threats against Mikki escalate, she becomes motivated to solve the crime. This was an interesting and enjoyable read. I liked the characters and thought the story advanced quickly and smoothly. I would definitely buy another book about Mikki Lincoln. #Crime&punctuation #NetGalley
Crime And Punctuation is the first book in the Deadly Edits Mystery series. Mikki Lincoln, 68 and recently widowed, has sold her home in Maine and has moved back to her childhood town of Lenape Hollow, NY and was able to purchase the home she grew up in. Unfortunately, the house needs extensive repairs so she resumes her former career and starts an editing business, primarily via the internet. One day, a Tiffany Scott, showed up at her door and asks Mikki is she would be willing to edit her manuscript. Mikki quickly reads the first three chapters and is impressed with the quality of writing agrees to take on the project. Three days later Detective Hazlett calls on Mikki and informs her that Tiffany Scott’s lifeless body has been found and on her person was Mikki’s business card and he want to know what dealing she might have had with Tiffany. After explaining her connection with Tiffany, Hazlett informs her that her death is being treated as murder. Later that day Mikki goes to visit a childhood friend, Darlene Uberman, to learn more about Tiffany. Mikki learns that Tiffany is the granddaughter of her high school nemesis, “Ronnie” Rappaport and was married to one of the richest men in town, Greg Onslow. Onslow owns Mongaup Valley Ventures. She also learns that Onslow has been using heavy-handed methods to get businesses to sell their stores to MVV. Onslow’s dream is to develop the land around Chestnut Lake into a Disneyland like park. She also learns that Tiffany has reportedly made out a will favoring her grandmother with her stake in MVV. Ronnie Rappaport and Tiffany are supposedly against the development of Chestnut Lake. Once Mikki gets into Tiffany’s manuscript she feels that very possibly someone didn’t want to see it published, but first, she has to learn who might have the most to lose. I really enjoyed this book a lot. It was a well-plotted and told story that kept me turning the pages to see where the story would take me next. I also thought the characters were all interesting and well developed and will be looking forward to learning more about them. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in this new series.