Elise Hyatt’s (Sarah Hoyt) third in the adventures of Dyce Dare (Candyce Chocolata Dare–after much arguing between her father and her then-pregnant mother would name their expected daughter, they reconciled in a candy store and…) is another fun romp.
Dyce is getting married. Her boyfriend, police detective Cas Wolfe asked and she said yes. And while taking a break in wedding planning, Dyce turns to her main source of income, refinishing and reselling used furniture. A table she’s working on puzzles her. It seems to be made of hardwood but is refinished to look like cheap pine, and badly refinished at that. So she pulls out the belt sander her fiance had given her as a present and lets it rip, cutting a trench through the surface because she was not expecting how powerful the sander was.
What’s that under the horrid finish? Oak? And…are those bloodstains?
And, Dyce being Dyce, she cannot leave it alone. She’s off to track down the source of the table wondering if maybe the bloodstains mean another murder.
In the meantime, her fiance, Cas Wolfe, is investigating a series of arsons in empty houses and apartments, including one where a body was found.
Her ex-husband’s wife says that her son is ill and asks to keep him after the time demanded by the joint custody agreement only Dyce discovers that her son is in perfect health.
And then her parents keep coming up with more and more outre ideas for Dyce’s wedding. And strangers start demanding she stop looking into the background of that table and its mysterious stains.
Don’t expect deep philosophy in this book. Don’t expect angst and hand wringing. Instead expect a fun romp, enough threats to keep things interesting, and a delightfully involuted mystery. Recommended.