By Joan Hess
Minotaur Books, $24.99, 320 pages

What would you do to get your dream house? Claire Malloy will do just about anything. After returning from her honeymoon with new husband, police chief Peter Rosen, Claire realizes her old apartment is too small for their combined belongings. House hunting is hard but Claire finds the perfect house. One problem…the Hollow family, owners of the land, does not want anyone new on the property. In Deader Homes and Gardens, Joan Hess’ 18th Claire Malloy book, readers will find Claire fighting for her home. The story is filled with funny moments and encounters with various members of the Hollow family. Readers will laugh out loud at Claire’s humorous inner dialogue. Teenage daughter Caron and her best friend Inez provide comic relief. Since Claire considers herself an amateur sleuth, she feels comfortable stepping in to help when the purchase of her dream home is put on hold because of a string of murders. Hess gives readers a chance to form their own conclusions and look for clues as to who could be the killers. Between the visits to the house and meetings with the family, the plot moves forward at a quick pace. Will Claire solve the case in time to get the house?

Reviewed by Elizabeth Franklin