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The Book of Old Houses (Home Repair is Homicide #11)

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  926 ratings  ·  93 reviews

Once upon a time, Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree was a hotshot money manager to Manhattan’s rich and dreadful—until she left city life behind for a centuries-old fixer-upper in the quaint seaside town of Eastport, Maine. But even this tiny haven has its hazards—and they can be astonishingly deadly….

What would you do if a long-buried book was unearthed from beneath your 1823 fixer-

Hardcover, 304 pages
Published December 26th 2007 by Bantam (first published January 1st 2007)
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Jan C
I am still having problems with some of Ms. Graves' writing quirks. If she would just tell the story and leave out the asides. Something like "if we'd known we'd have done it differently." It gives the impression she is telling this story to someone over a cup of coffee. I always took my coffee black or straight, and that's how I'd like the sotry. Why can't she just tell it straight?

Several books ago Jacobia Tree's father found an old creepy book in the cellar. This book resolves that story.

I li
I have to say I am a picky reader so maybe my disliking of this book is not justified. I thought the book had an interesting idea but was very badly written. The thoughts of the character were all over the place and transitions between paragraphs and scenes were messy and the background of the character were not woven into the story very well. I also found that the sentences were written rather awkwardly for my liking and I found many grammatical errors that bothered me. I think had there not be ...more
I read this while on vacation, after finding it in my cruise ship's library. I read it through to the end, hoping that somehow the ending would make up for the poor writing and weird storytelling. It did not. The main character ("Jake", our heroine who is supposedly an expert crime solver) is described by the author as an intelligent, strong and feisty woman - yet she rarely ever does anything that lives up to any of these descriptions. I guess she thinks her heroine is strong and feisty because ...more
Well, I have listened to two other books in this series and the one immediately preceding this one ended with a hint that the subject of this one might be fascinating...the discovery of an old book in,the foundation of the protagonist's Eastport, Maine house.

I am always reluctant to dive into mystery series that feature a detective, almost always female, who is also a knitter, a cupcake maker, a...home repairer like Jacobia. They usually fail to integrate the two threads effectively or credibly.
I put this down after about 100 pages, which is something I have only done maybe twice before. I honestly found it unreadable, and I quite enjoy a good cozy mystery. The writing was so broken up into paragraphs that the story had no flow, and the main character was so distracted that she annoyed the crap out of me--if the main character can't pay attention to the story, why should I?
Aug 23, 2008 Andrea rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Andrea by: library new books shelf
As a lover of historic houses and a fan of cozy mysteries, I thought I might enjoy this book. I didn't find the characters or the story particularly compelling, and I figured out whodunnit almost from the start; the motive as finally revealed seemed pretty contrived. So let's just say I won't be rushing right out to read any of the other books from this series.
Paul Pessolano
Sarah Graves sub-titles this book, "A Home Repair is Homicide Mystery". The reason for this is that one of our heroines, Jacobia "Jake" Triptree is renovating a home and becomes involved with murder.

The story revolves around a bok that Jake found while she was renovating her new home. She sends it off to have it appraised and the appraiser is found dead. The death is believed to be a mugging gone bad. This all changes when a friend of the appraiser shows up at her house claiming it was murder a
I should have stuck with my hard and fast rule -- don't read a book from a series without starting at the first book.... this review could be tainted by the fact that I did not know these characters and the apparently lengthy literary history from the HOME REPAIR IS HOMICIDE Mystery Series by Sarah Graves. However, I still don't think this was such a hot book -- the plot was convoluted and wandered all over the page and the small town setting. The writing seemed disjointed and frankly the charac ...more
I keep reading these. I can't help myself. I think I love the characters and the town of Eastport Maine. However, Jake is getting perilously close to be a character that is TSTL; but she is really not a stupid woman - the opposite, really. But she has very poor impulse control and can't seem to stop herself from getting into dangerous situations. Why her best friend and young mother, Ellie goes along with her, I do not know. Ellie seems to have a bit more common sense. Maybe she goes along to re ...more
I enjoyed this installment of the Home Repair is Homicide series very much. There is a slight supernatural bent to the story, as a book that may or may not have been written by a witch is the focus. The book was being authenticated by a man who seemed to look for satanic books on the side. When he was murdered, the book became the focus of many people who all wanted the book back.

There is also the subplot of Jake remodeling her bathroom. She grows irritated by the outdated bathroom and demolishe
I liked earlier entries in this series, but the two before this one haven't measured up to them. This one, sadly, continues the trend.

Jake's escape (not once but twice) from the killer's attempts to kill her seemed too contrived to be believable, based on luckily having just the right specialized tool handy for one and the timely arrival of help for the other.

An attempt to create a humorous situation out of a problem arising in a home repair project (in this case getting a large cast iron bath t
Some time ago, after the first couple of books in Sarah Graves's series about Jacobia Tiptree, someone (the publisher?) decided to subtitle them "Home Repair is Homicide." Although each chapter is headed with a home-repair tip and Jake's adventures in renovating her Eastport, Maine house often provide comic relief, you needn't fear that the home-repair hook detracts from the plot. These are simply good amateur-sleuth mysteries.

In recent books, Sarah Graves has been flirting a bit with the super
This was my first read by this author, and while I enjoyed the story, I don't think that I would be likely to read others in this series.

Jacobia "Jake" Tiptree traded being a hot-shot money manager in New York, for a centuries old "fixer upper" house in the wilds of Maine. Along with her son, who's just out of rehab, her father, who spent years on the run because he was suspected of blowing up his wife and Jake's mother [he didn't], and a host of other "unique" small town folks, Jake is trying t
just finished up Sarah Graves’ The Book of Old Houses, and it was quite good. There a few places where the writing slips and a couple of things left unresolved - but overall it’s quite good.
It’s a mystery, so the basic plot is that a book dealer who specializes in ancient books is murdered. His friend comes to Eastport, ME to figure out who murdered him, led to the town by the old book the the narrator, Jacobia Triptree, has found on her property and sent to the murdered book deal to be authenti
Jim H
A fun read about the citizens living in and near Lubec, Maine. An amazing number of murders apparently occur there. I find that odd as I was stationed there for a while and that town is small! HOW SMALL WAS IT? Thank you for asking. I'm sure that Lubec could hold a town meeting in a broom closet. Example: My girlfriend and I returned late from a movie one night and sat outside her house talking (I swear on my crossed fingers)until quite late. Although only two cars passed us while we were there, ...more
This one was just ok for me.

I liked the main character but found several of the author's descriptions of more detailed scenes (i.e. removal of stuck bathtub and a suspense scene with Merkle, chiefly) confusing and disorganized. I understood the gist of what was going on, but Graves' description of the intricacies left me scratching my head. I had to read these sections several times before they even started to make sense and ended up just skimming most of these pages. Not a huge deal, but enoug
Great book, somewhat surprising finale. The plot focuses on the rare book discovered in "Jake's" basement in a previous book. Some discussion of whether the book contains black magic properties.
Book continues to focus on complex mystery plot without any paranormal aspects.
Dennis Fischman
Unnecessarily complicated: both the home repair and the murder mystery. And both were told about, not demonstrated, in voices that sounded very much alike no matter who was talking. The motive for the murder was unbelievable. All I can say to justify two stars is that some of the turns of phrase were amusing.
Yes, it's the first book I tried in the series so maybe I wasn't prepared for the slow pace of the book. After 115 pages I gave up trying to get interested in what was slowly happening. The book's atmosphere was OK, but the story line was of little interest to me.
This is the first book I've read in this series. I'd probably have enjoyed it more if I'd started with the first one. The title intrigued me as did the synopsis on the back of the book. The book wasn't much of the story in my opinion. I somewhat figured out who did it, but not why. While a good read, I didn't find it riveting.

I will say I was totally annoyed by the not so well thought out, utter destruction wrought by Jake (Jacobia) on her bathroom. I doubt anyone in the right mind would do tha
It is about one house. Very amusing--having a tub almost fall down the stairs while one's father is out. Interesting characters in the town. Some deaths. One boy drinks antifreeze by mistake.
This one was okay but I guessed "whodunnit" less than half way through. Also, the home repair fiasco was annoying, because our house repairer seems to be of the type to act first and think later, so duh what does she expect? I could see disaster coming a mile away.
The Bad Guy was sort of obvious from early on in the book, but I still liked parts of the ending quite a bit despite that. An upstanding member of the Home Repair is Homicide series.
Overall, I found this entry in the home repair series not up to the previous books. I didn't care for the paranormal overtones (although (view spoiler))... Perhaps Graves thought she should cash in on the current paranormal mania, but it doesn't fit with Jake's character. Jake & her friend Ellie are at their best being the down-to-earth, suspicious, and nosy women of northern Maine coast (even though Jake is a transplant from NYC).

There we
Nice scenery and how NOT-to-do-it-yourself house repair tips. I like the lead character, she's smart, observes well, and is a full character. In this volume, a stranger comes to town looking for an even stranger character who lives in Eastport. Dead bodies start showing up.
Great misdirection, but I did not fall for it. I pegged the evil-doer early and nothing dissuaded me.
It should be great. This author would be a five-starrer if she had a clearer sentence structure. Her sentences go on and on
Feb 06, 2008 Maggie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: mystery fans and those who have renovated old houses
Shelves: mystery-series
This is one that caught my eye on the new book shelf at the library. It looked interesting so I figured why not?

It was an entertaining mystery interspliced with hysterical home repair stories and some good tips (I'm going to try the neosporin on stubborn mold on the shower grout). I have the rest of the series on hold and 3 are waiting to be picked up as I type this. My only problem was I came in so far into the series there were a few confusing moments but that was my fault.

This is generally h
It had been a while since I had read a book from this series and boy, did I need it. The protagonist's humorous voice is as sharp as ever, and the plot keeps you on your toes until the last minute. Great fun.
I always enjoy these when I want a "light" mystery. Not to say that the heroine is never in danger... This was one of the author's better ones.
I like this series with all its helpful home repair hints. Nevertheless, the action seems to flag in places. A lot happens, and then nothing much happens for several chapters. The whole incident of trying to remove a cast-iron tub from a second floor bathroom was hilarious, but using a sledgehammer on the walls was a bit hard to believe. Jake & Ellie think they have an explanation for the murders, but they are totally wrong. They change theories quickly, but that one is incorrect also. The p ...more
Just a blah, unexciting, and nothing special read. Seemed formulaic and predictable.
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Sarah Graves lives with her husband John, a musician and luthier, and their black Labrador Retriever in a house very much like the one Jacobia Tiptree is remodeling in Eastport, Maine. When she's not writing Jake's adventures, Sarah works with her husband on the house and she plays the 5-string banjo.

* Home Repair is Homicide
More about Sarah Graves...

Other Books in the Series

Home Repair is Homicide (1 - 10 of 16 books)
  • The Dead Cat Bounce (Home Repair is Homicide, #1)
  • Triple Witch (Home Repair is Homicide, #2)
  • Wicked Fix (Home Repair is Homicide, #3)
  • Repair to Her Grave (Home Repair is Homicide, #4)
  • Wreck the Halls (Home Repair is Homicide, #5)
  • Unhinged (Home Repair is Homicide, #6)
  • Mallets Aforethought (Home Repair is Homicide, #7)
  • Tool and Die (Home Repair is Homicide, #8)
  • Nail Biter (Home Repair is Homicide, #9)
  • Trap Door (Home Repair is Homicide, #10)
The Dead Cat Bounce (Home Repair is Homicide, #1) Triple Witch (Home Repair is Homicide, #2) Wicked Fix (Home Repair is Homicide, #3) Unhinged (Home Repair is Homicide, #6) Wreck the Halls (Home Repair is Homicide, #5)

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