Monday, June 13, 2016

A Neighborly Killing: A Regan McHenry Real Estate Mystery Brings Readers to Santa Cruz, California!

So our neighbor was shot," Regan sounded triumphant.
Dave scrunched the features of his face into a tight scowl. "Probably not. Tests are still being done, but based on the preliminary findings from the gunshot residue found on your neighbor's hands, it looks like he fired both the rifle near his body and the handgun that killed him, which he still clutched in his col dead fingers, by the way..."
"And. not that I'd expect an amateur sleuth-meddler like you to know it, all gunpowder has a signature to it. A weapon used to blast out his brains would have left a lot of gunshot residue--residue that, if it was from another weapon, would have a different signature, but they only found one kind of gunshot residue on him.
"So you're saying another person as present but they didn't shoot him? How can that be? It doesn't make any sense that Paul would go rushing through the woods at night firing a rifle as he went only to catch up to someone, argue with them and then kill himself.
"So now in addition to your many othr talents, you're an expert on how your neighbor behaved in his final minutes? Are you a psychic now, too? Have you figured out what he was thinking as he pulled the trigger?,,,

A Neighborly Killing:
A Regan McHenry Real Estate Mystery

By Nancy Lynn Jarvis

You may remember meeting the author when we enjoyed Mags and the AARP check my review out if you missed this one! Her Regan McHenry Mystery series has been going on for quite some time, but this is the first book for me...Will it match Mags?!!!

It wasn't as if Regan McHenry had purposely tried to get involved with the death of her neighbor, even if she and her husband had managed to get concerned with helping to solve local police investigations in the past. But this time, the dead man had been their neighbor and, more importantly, they had heard all that occurred that night!

They definitely heard their neighbor yelling and chasing somebody and shooting at them and they definitely heard an argument! Then they had found him dead, right outside their bedroom door! So they immediately told their friend and police officer what they'd heard... Of course, Dave had thanked them for their information and immediately told them that he'd take it from there...but because they were friends, he always enjoyed a little kidding with Regan about her actions to get involved with his cases...

But the verdict of the death came back suicide!

Neither Regan nor her husband, Tom, were willing to accept that their neighbor had taken his own life...So, of course, they started asking questions on their own as amateur sleuths are prone to do... 

This wonderful video tour created by a SC Realtor stands in place for Kiley and Associates, the company owned by Tom and Regan...

I don't understand how he could
have been forced to take his own
life if he still had bullets in his
handgun and therefore, the means
to fight to save himself. And if he
somehow was forced to commit
suicide, to my way of thinking,
that makes his death murder."
Regan nodded slowly, "What
are we going to do?"
"We heard the last moments of
our neighbor's life, in a bizarre
way shared them with him.
Granted we didn't know him
well, but that's such an intimate
connection. I don't think I can
let it go." Regan squirmed as
she spoke...
"That's why I'm not suggesting
what logic says I should. We
can't pretend the coroner's
report is the end of this for us.
I don't know what good we can
do, sweetheart, but we need to
ask some questions and see
what happens. We were both
there when our neighbor died,
so however we work on this,
we're going to do it together."
Regan knew exactly where to start her investigation. Her neighbor's property had been up for sale for quite some time and one of her associates had once handled it. She was shocked, however, to find that they had had an affair, until the woman had learned that he was just using her to keep actions moving on the sale...even though he really didn't have the desire to sell his house... He was using it as a ploy to keep his divorce from moving ahead since it required the sale of the property before it could be finalised!

.But that was just one of the issues that Regan and Tom began to hear about as they started asking the right questions to the right people...

Very early on another neighbor starts making appearances as plans began to finally proceed with the sale. A neighbor who was very involved with preserving the environment and in particular the woods surrounding all of their property... and goes back and forth between fighting and wanting help from Regan...

Regan had gone to meet with the wife of the deceased and they had taken an instant liking to each other, with Regan even agreeing to handle the sale, which wound up to be much, more more!

I must say that Regan, once she has become connected to somebody takes a hold of that friendship for dear life, since, as things moved on, it was the wife who began to be the choice for a murder...if it had been one. LOL

Yes, it becomes confusing, but if you follow the activities, you won't get lost and you'll probably begin to make your own decisions, like I did, as to who did what to whom...

But I wouldn't have planned on Regan becoming the next target! Whew!

One side fun issue was the placement of a large furniture structure on the deceased's property which he then used to hide activities that local officials had denied him being able to do...Yes, the man was somebody that had many thinking about how to get rid of him...

But then things really started happening and being uncovered, including a possible extortionist who promised to heal people through prayer...for a price...and the FBI became involved. This mystery while it becomes somewhat complex is not one that keeps you guessing. Readers are aware of what is happening and can consider the case at the time each action takes place. As with most cozies, the enjoyment comes from the characters who get involved with the investigation, seeing how each possibly affects the outcome and pitting your skills against the law officers and maybe even the amateur sleuth if you think she is way off the mark! But what if Paul, the deceased, helps too?!?

This book is the sixth in the series but is certainly free-standing and if you haven't read Jarvis, like I hadn't for this series, you might want to start with her latest! There is enough real estate matters and routines to keep readers involved with property transactions without being overly invasive into the mystery...The book is engaging, provides some light humor. many great characters that adds depth and complexity to the story--yes, even the guy with green hair, a ghost, and the possessed cat(!)--and the story is strong throughout keeping you involved from the first to the last page... One that must be highly recommended!


Nancy Lynn Jarvis was a Santa Cruz, California, Realtor for twenty-five years but was having so much fun writing that she let her license lapse in May of 2013.

After earning a BA in behavioral science from San Jose State University, she worked in the advertising department of the San Jose Mercury News. A move to Santa Cruz meant a new job as a librarian and later a stint as the business manager of Shakespeare/Santa Cruz. Nancy's work history reflects her philosophy: people should try something radically different every few years. Writing is her newest adventure. 

She put Regan, Tom , and Dave from the Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries Series on hiatus to write Mags and the AARP Gang, a comedy/adventure about a group of octogenarian bank robbers and squeezed in editing "Cozy Food," a compilation cookbook in which 128 cozy mystery writers contributed recipes from their books and their lives, but she missed her characters, so they came back to solve more murders in "The Murder House" and recently released "A Neighborly Killing."

What she will work on next is unclear. She has ideas for a seventh Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries, a complete departure book of historical fiction, and for a new cozy series called Geezers With Tools about two old guys who encounter murder while working as handymen and pursuing widows.

She'd love to hear from you about what you might like to read.

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