Death by Proxy: A DIY Diva Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Cozy Cat Press (November 2019)
Print Length ~220 Pages

Synopsis: With preparations for her upcoming wedding to handsome Wes Wesson, a Center City police lieutenant, on track and her DIY Bridal Crafts class at Hawkeye Haven’s community center wrapped up, DIY Diva Laurel McMillan looks forward to a calm pre-nuptial week to finalize her wedding plans. There’s only one problem: the week turns out to be anything but calm. Laurel and Wes narrowly escape being run down in the parking lot of their favorite restaurant. Laurel’s bridal shower is interrupted by a mysterious stranger who sends Laurel’s lovable chocolate Labrador retriever Bear into a frenzy, and when Laurel and Wes go to meet Lisa, their real estate agent, at a house she promised to show them, they discover Lisa’s sister’s body floating in the pool. Strangely, Lisa seems more concerned with selling houses than she does with her sister’s death. After Lisa’s mother inadvertently reveals family secrets, Laurel wonders whether Lisa could have killed her own sister. Will the mayhem and murder stop before Laurel discovers the key to the killer’s game plan?

This is the third DIY Diva Mystery, but it can be read as a standalone story. In this book, Laurel is planning her own wedding with the help of her friends. Not only is she still working and teaching her classes, but her and Wes are looking for a house. At one of the homes they are planning to look at, they find a body in the pool. Previous to this, they had a narrow escape when the driver of a large truck tries to run them down in a parking lot. Wes checks out all the people he has arrested and had put in jail, with no luck. As more strange things happen, Laurel uses her network of friends in Haven Harbor to do a bit of sleuthing. Just as Laurel figures out what is going on, it might be too late. Will Laurel be able to talk her way out of the danger she is in?

Laura and her friends are all very likable characters. They are kind, loyal and willing to help each other out as often as they can. Then there is Wes. He is the handsome police detective that she met in the first book and they are now getting married. There are times that I think he is a bit of a workaholic, but the do spend a lot of time together. Bear, Laurel’s dog, is an important part of her life and the story. He has his part in solving the string of crimes. The mystery was well-paced with just enough red herrings and suspects to keep me guessing. I enjoy the DIY projects that Laurel teaches in the book, they do not take up too much of the story, but add a different storyline besides the murder. This is a fun cozy with great characters, a good mystery, and an interesting story. I will watch for the next DIY Diva story. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.

Purchase Links – Amazon 

About the Author: An instructor at five colleges over the years, Paula Darnell most often taught the dreaded first-year English composition classes, but she’s also been happy to teach some fun classes, such as fashion design, sewing, and jewelry making. Paula has a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, and a Master’s degree in English from the University of Nevada, Reno.

Like Laurel, the main character in the DIY Diva Mysteries, Paula enjoys all kinds of arts and crafts. Some of her memorable projects include making a hat and a cape to wear to Royal Ascot, sewing wedding gowns for both her daughters, exhibiting her textile and mixed-media artwork in juried art shows, and having one of her jewelry projects accepted for inclusion in Leather Jewelry, published by Lark Books. She sells some of her jewelry and hair accessories in her Etsy shop.

Paula’s interest in DIY craft projects and fashion led to her writing hundreds of articles for print and online national publications.

Living in a guard-gated community governed by a homeowners’ association gave Paula the idea for the setting of Death by Association. She finds that residing in an HOA community can be both a blessing and a curse. A Happy-New-Year greeting from her community association called on residents to “start the new year by reviewing your Rules and Regulations booklet,” something unlikely to top anyone’s list of New Year’s resolutions.

Paula lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, with her husband Gary and their 110-pound dog Rocky, whose favorite pastime is lurking in the kitchen, hoping for a handout.

Author Links: Website – Twitter – Goodreads – Pinterest – Etsy shop