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    First 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.
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