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Book Review: Ill-Gotten Panes by Jennifer McAndrews


If I were a crimozy writer, I'd be the guilty one when it comes to the start of this series for not getting to it sooner as this promises to be a great series.

With the usual backstory of scandal and heartbreak for the main character, Georgia Kelly, leaves New York City and temporarily moves in with her grandfather Pete, in upstate New York.

Georgia doesn't really know what she wants to do with her life and is following the advice of her mother. That advice is to start over completely (meaning go back to your roots) and while growing up, Georgia is keen to always going back to Pete's house since she was always being dragged back by her mother no matter what her age.

In the early days of summer, Georgia has some errands to run in the dying city of Wenwood and when she stops into Aggie's Antiques, she meets Carrie and is shown a Tiffany style lamp that Carrie hopes Georgia can fix. Georgia doesn't know how she knows about her love of glasswork, but then realizes that Pete must have told her.

She takes the lamp and goes next door to the hardware store to get some other supplies when she stumbles across an argument between Andy Edgers and Tony Himmel. Not knowing what the argument is about, she tries to sneak out, but after being noticed by Andy, he bans her from the store.

Back at home she tells Pete and the next day, Andy is found dead in the back of the store, with Pete becoming the main person of interest. At eighty years old, Pete hardly seems to be the type who would be out murdering people.

Since she hasn't been back in town that long, Georgia tries to figure out where the police station is and Carrie offers to go with her, since no one should go to the police station by themselves.

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When Pete is finally released from questioning, he goes about his day and later that night he gets ready to go to work (he owns a dine in movie theater) and Georgia goes to work with him.

While this is a small town, Carrie talks her into going to the funeral home to view Andy's body and while there, they run into Tony, who remains distant to Georgia. She learns that with Andy dead, the plans for restoring a marina that he's in charge of is up in the air, due to an agreement with the town.

With Pete still the main person of interest, Georgia feels like a pariah in town as the residents keep whispering behind her back.

Even though I had an idea of who the killer was early on, it's the kitten she finds that leads her to the witness of the crime. This was probably the first time a witness was found later in the story which changed the dynamic.

However, the story isn't without a problem that had me scratching my head.

When the girls go to the funeral home, it's Friday night and Georgia tells Pete that she'll help him with payroll the next day. Georgia does some investigating on what would be Saturday and then for some reason, it's Monday and back and forth. I think it's confusing since Georgia names the kitten Friday which I think was a bad idea.

The characters are well developed and interesting, plus there's tension between Georgia and Pete. They come across as strangers and seem somewhat uncomfortable with each other which works for the story since the two have always been in and out of each other's lives for short periods of time.

I think the tension works because her grandmother died when she was younger and without that glue that holds a family together, they seem to have retreated into themselves and have to get to know one another again when forced to.

There are two more installments and I'm hoping that the other installments hold up just as much this one.

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