Bantam, Jan 2003, 24.95, 272 pp.
Jacobse “Jake” Tiptree lives on the small island of Eastport off the coast of Maine in a home that needs serious renovation otherwise it will soon crumble into nothingness. Not being a millionaire, Jake does as much of the repairs as possible but when she discovers the foundation needs replacing, she advertises for a stone mason. Lian Ash answers the advertisement and Jake hires him on the spot because his rates appear reasonable.
At about the same time Jake hires Lian, the town's most despised gossip, Harriet Hollingsworth, disappears and Harry Markle, a retired NYPD detective, buys the house. Strange things begin to happen on the island like Jake's son getting hurt in a car accident because the brake hose was cut and Jake's husband being injured by a bullet made to explode. Harry thinks it is the work of the serial killer that murdered his wife and girlfriend as well as other police officer's relatives. Jake and her friend Ellie don't buy into that theory and start their own investigation, a move, which brings them and their families closer to death.
UNHINGED is a riveting amateur sleuth mystery filled with enough red herrings to keep the reader totally befuddled until the author chooses to identify the killer. After reading this novel, those fans interested in buying a house will want to purchase something new so they don't have the aggravating repairs the heroine is forced to deal with, sometimes with hilarious results. Sarah Grave imbues her work with a subtle sense of humor so that the tension level of the story line never rises to an unbearable level.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner