Final Settlement is author Vicki Doudera’s latest book in the Darby Farr series. There’s a lot going on in this book. And a couple of unanswered questions at the end which makes me very upset to have to wait a year between these great books. I picked up the first book because it had a real estate agent as protagonist and while I am not currently practicing, I still have my broker’s license. I picked up the rest because they are outstanding mysteries. If you haven’t read any, start with the first, A House to Die For; they are all listed below. Darby is back in Maine for the wedding of her newest agent, Tina Ames. But first we have the death of Lorraine Delvecchio who was a classmate of Darby’s – that she didn’t particularly like. But Chief Dupont doesn’t believe Lorraine’s death was an accident and asks for Darby’s help. Lorraine had Hyperthymesia (which has recently had a lot of attention as actress Marilu Henner is one of the few people in the world who has it) and the Chief suspects it may be why someone killed her. The hyperthymesia was not the cause but more of a device getting people looking in the right direction. We also have the return of Bitsie after fifteen years. She was/is the chief’s wife. I think she may prove to be an interesting character in future books. Miles makes a visit for the wedding and he and Darby seem to be moving forward. The deaths start to pile up, including the chief, himself. Darby gets some more answers about her grandfather’s past during WWII but it puts her in more danger. She has to fight for her life, literally, more than once. You find these books listed on various cozy lists. But I really do not find it to be cozy at all. Yes, it is written by a woman and frequently set in Maine but it is far darker and more complex than a cozy. There are several different story lines, a couple of unanswered questions, and you will not be able to put this well crafted mystery down. ♥♥♥♥♥+

Red-hot real estate agent Darby Farr has spent years trying to forget her hometown of Hurricane Harbor, Maine—especially the painful memories of being raised by her controlling aunt following her parents’ tragic deaths. Then one morning, she learns her aunt is dying, and the calculating woman has one final demand: clinch the multimillion-dollar sale of Fairview, a breathtaking waterfront estate.The deal seems simple, but trouble is brewing on the rocky coast. Within hours of Darby’s arrival, an obscure deed restriction scuttles the sale just as the backup buyer is found bludgeoned to death on the property’s grounds. Assisted by handsome journalist Miles Porter, Darby uncovers dark secrets that reveal an ugly scandal . . . and even uglier motives for murder. As a brutal storm surges up the coast, Darby must salvage the deal, find the killer—and somehow stay alive.

Multimillion-dollar listings, hefty commissions, and cutthroat deals are the name of the game for Kyle Cameron, south Florida’s stylish and driven star broker. But her fast-track life ends abruptly when she is fatally stabbed at an open house. Suspicious of the cops’ haste in blaming the infamous “Kondo Killer,” real estate agent Darby Farr puts her sharp instincts to work. Along with a disputed listing worth a cool forty million, Kyle had a shocking secret—one that could’ve sealed her violent fate. Suspects include Kyle’s estranged suicidal husband; her ex-lover, a ruthless billionaire developer; and his resentful, politically ambitious wife. And Darby’s investigating puts her at the top of the killer’s hit list.

When Darby Farr’s assistant, E.T., learns that his sister, Selena, has suddenly (and suspiciously) died in her hot tub, Darby and E.T. travel to Selena’s magnificent vineyard estate nestled in the heart of California wine country. There, Darby discovers that Selena was entertaining offers from three different prospective buyers—each one of whom is desperate to be the new owner of the winery. As a saboteur wreaks havoc on the property, Darby risks her life to crack the case and close the sale in a valley ripe with jealousy, greed, and danger.

Realtor and amateur sleuth Darby Farr is back in her hometown for the highly anticipated wedding of her fellow real estate associate, Tina Ames. But the festive mood on the snow-swept island of Hurricane Harbor is darkened with tragic news. Lorraine Delvecchio—the police chief’s assistant—is found dead, tangled in a lobster trap near the abandoned lighthouse on the Manatuck Breakwater.

Working double duty as Chief Dupont’s realtor and PI, Darby uncovers evidence that the death was more than just a slip on the ice. Lorraine’s history with money is far from innocent, and Darby’s suspect list keeps getting longer. With a prominent islander’s dramatic ex-wife back in town and Tina’s plans to sell a reclusive artist’s waterfront home, it’s up to Darby alone to find the murderer before she becomes the next victim.

Published by Kate Eileen Shannon

Artist, Crafter, Writer, purveyor of ephemera and bagatelle

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