Hi Readers! Thanks for stopping by to see what my friends and fellow bloggers are doing this week at Book Club Thursday. Today we are Clearing Off The Bookshelves, reading and reviewing something from our TBR piles that's at least six months or older. How are you doing on your TBR pile?
The Carriage House by Carla Neggers
Published February 2001 by MIRA Books
Fun and a little hard work. That's all Tess Haviland had in mind when Ike Grantham paid her for her graphic design work with the run-down, 19th-century carriage house on Boston's North Shore.
Then Ike disappeared and now Tess finds herself with much more than a simple weekend project to get her out of the city. It's not just the rumors that the carriage house is haunted. It is the neighbors: six-year-old Dolly Thorne, her reclusive babysitter, Harley Beckett and especially Dolly's father, Andrew Thorne, who has his own ideas about why Tess has turned up next door.
But when Tess discovers a human skeleton in her dirt cellar, she begins to ask questions about the history of the carriage house, the untimely death of Andrew's wife and Ike's disappearance. Questions a desperate killer wants to silence before the truth reveals that someone got away with murder.
I have been a fan of Carla Neggers for many years, ever since I read and fell in love with one of the secondary characters named Otto. Yes, he was a Rottweiler and a big old teddy bear and I have been reading her stories ever since. Unfortunately, since she writes a lot of books and series, I fell behind. When I read the blurb for my pick, I thought that it might be a suspense with a light paranormal element since the house is rumored to be haunted. I was a little disappointed that it wasn't, but I still enjoyed the story.
THE CARRIAGE HOUSE is a solid suspense story with a subtle hint of romance. It is compact with a small cast of characters and takes place in a small period of time. Tess receives the house as payment for graphic work she has done for an eccentric customer named Ike. She finally goes to check out her property after a large tax bill comes, to decide if she should keep it or not. It's in an isolated area near the sea. She notices an old trap door inside that is not the only way into the cellar below. She meets a cute little girl peeking through some bushes asking about her cat. "Princess" Dolly is a sweet and precocious little scene stealer. Her widowed father Andrew is a handsome architect who dotes on his daughter and is a little staid at first. When Tess screams in the night after a horrible discovery in the cellar, Andrew comes to her rescue and they begin to spark a chemistry, but Tess holds what she discovered back.
After a short period, Tess goes to the police about her discovery, but when they search the cellar, there is nothing there. Being in a small town, rumors begin to circulate and a few people begin to worry about some secrets being revealed.
Tess and Andrew have a good chemistry and the story is enjoyable. The story is character driven and there are only a few suspects, so the suspense is more about the why than the who. It is not my favorite Neggers story, I felt a little something was missing, but it's not a bad story to start a four book series with.
March 16th: Free Day