Morrow, August 2002, 23.95, 240 pp.
After her husband died, Jane Jeffrey was left to bring up their three children alone. Now her eldest son is in his second year of college while her only daughter is a senior in high school and the youngest child is in ninth grade. She along with her neighbor and best friend Shelley suffer from a form of empty nest syndrome and want to do something interesting with their free time.
When Bitsy Burnside contacts them to decorate a dilapidated old Victorian house, Shelly is intrigued and Jane sees the possibilities. However from the first day they enter the house things go wrong. When the contractor is found dead at the bottom of the basement stairs, Jane knows that somebody killed her. However, whom is nearly impossible as the victim was such an obnoxious individual, there is a plenty of suspects. Soon a series of malicious pranks occur and nobody knows who is behind them or if it was the same person who killed the contractor.
Anyone who likes a cerebral amateur sleuth novel with little violence will want to read THE HOUSE OF SEVEN MABELS. This is a lighthearted cozy, the perfect book for beach reading. The friends of Jane and Shelly come across as real and believable while the story line is filled with enough unexpected twists and turns to keep readers turning the pages. Jill Churchill imbues her plot with enough humor to have her audience chuckling out loud.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner