Crime & Punctuation
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After splurging to buy her childhood home in the Catskills, recently widowed Mikki Lincoln emerges from retirement as a freelance editor. With her ability to spot details that others fail to see, it’s not long before Mikki earns clients—and 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. Then there’s Tiffany’s grandmother and husband, who aren’t exactly on friendly terms over the local area’s planned rejuvenation efforts . . .
Unable to convince police that they are focused on the wrong suspect, Mikki must rely on her keen eyes to catch the truth hidden in Lenape Hollow. 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 . . .
From Publishers Weekly
© Publishers Weekly
First book in A Deadly Edits Mystery
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.