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A Do-It-Yourself Mystery #2

Spackled and Spooked

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Home renovation is never easy, especially when the home's inhabitants are dead. Avery’s hunky boyfriend and business partner, Derek Ellis, wants to flip a seriously stigmatized ranch house where murder occurred two decades ago. It’s a good thing Avery has more faith in her boyfriend than in ghosts.

Their renovations are quickly interrupted when a presence is felt--and it’s not happy with the new alterations. Could it really be that the property is possessed? If they’re going to flip this house, all the outdated fixtures—including the supernatural squatters—must be disposed of, or else this project will haunt them forever…

320 pages, Kindle Edition

First published July 7, 2009

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About the author

Jennie Bentley

12 books270 followers
Pen name for Jenna Bennett

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5 stars
495 (26%)
4 stars
778 (41%)
3 stars
516 (27%)
2 stars
71 (3%)
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12 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 149 reviews
Profile Image for Mary.
856 reviews21 followers
February 13, 2017
This was a fun read!

Avery and Derek are finally working together. They have purchased a house that has had three murders done by the man who owned the house.

It has been said that the house is haunted, but Derek does not think that will be a problem, since the murders happened 19 years ago.

But they did not know that there were other things happening on the street. They did find out when they started working on the house.

They heard screams when they opened the front door and footsteps in the hallways.

Also, the noisy neighbor next door was killed while they were working.

They had the chief of police at the house several times investigating the strange happenings.

You need to read this book to understand what they had to endure to get the house ready to sell.
Profile Image for JoAn.
2,075 reviews1 follower
May 17, 2019
This was a fun afternoon read. I really like the characters and the plot was nicely paced. Although I did guess early on who was behind the murders, it didn't distract from my enjoyment of the story.
Profile Image for Becky.
1,505 reviews11 followers
February 23, 2016
Second book in the series, though characters seemed shallower, and the author seemed to be trying too hard. I really liked the first one just as fluff and an interesting home improvement fun story. This one seemed a bit flighty, too many characters- most non essential- it made for a scattered story. Not sure I will continue with the series. Disappointing.
Profile Image for Knight.
243 reviews25 followers
February 12, 2019
Fun read. There were moments when I thought the main characters were a little slow to come to the right conclusions. But overall, interesting and enjoyable. Looking forward to the next one.
Profile Image for #ReadAllTheBooks.
1,219 reviews82 followers
October 29, 2010
There have been a whole slew of themed mysteries coming out- especially those themed around things like house renovating or crafts. Some of them just can't seem to stand out when held next to their competitors & then there are some that are just fantastic to read. The `Do-It-Yourself' mystery series manages to hold it's own in a genre that is becoming increasingly competitive.

This particular entry to the series finds everyone's favorite fabric specialist working with her boyfriend Derek as they attempt to renovate a home with a past- a murderous one. Years ago the home's owner murdered his wife & two other family members in cold blood, with only his son escaping with his life. It's rumored that the house has been haunted ever since- and finding a body in the crawlspace underneath the house isn't helping Avery & Derek dispel those rumors!

This book was an incredibly quick read & I was pretty much glued to it from the first page. It's a very addicting read- literary crack. I like the romance between Avery & Derek, plus I like that Avery hasn't made her mind up about living in Maine just yet. (She's there, but she's still somewhat waffling about it.) There's also the rivalry going on between Melissa & Avery, which I enjoy greatly because it's not a dominating theme of the series, yet you can tell that there's eventually going to be a huge showdown between the two of them. (Maybe Melissa will make a play for Derek if the business takes off?)

There were one or two new characters introduced in the series & I'm hoping that they come back in future books. They show a lot of promise. There were one or two points that were relatively easy to guess at & the savvy should be able to predict the killer, but the journey is just pure fun. (And besides, isn't part of the fun of reading a mystery predicting whodunit?) There's not a huge amount of character growth though, but hopefully that will change in the next book.

If you liked the first one, you'll love this book. If you haven't, I recommend reading the first one prior to this, even though it isn't all that necessary. The book can stand alone for the most part. I have to admit, I'm already looking forward to not only the next one in the series, but also the first book in Bentley's new series as well. (She writes as Bente Gallagher.)
Profile Image for Erin.
770 reviews30 followers
June 20, 2012
I'd have given this one 4 stars except that I again figured out who'd done it, why, and how, pretty much from the very beginning. Ditto with the other "big secret" in the story. I'm not usually that great at figuring out mystery novels, and I like it that way, so knowing all along was annoying. However, I still really enjoyed the characters and the story--watching them figure it out, that is.

This time, Avery Baker and her boyfriend Derek Ellis have purchased a vacant house to renovate and sell. It's been empty for about seventeen years, since Brian Murphy killed his wife and in-laws and then himself. Gossip says it's haunted, which Avery & Derek think is nonsense until they hear footsteps walking down the hallway with no one in sight. Then Derek discovers a human bone in the crawlspace, and suddenly there is a whole new murder for Chief Wayne to investigate, this one more recent. When the cadaver dog makes for the next door neighbor's house, the situation goes from bad to worse.

Engaging, believable characters make up for the lack of suspense, I think. It's a perfect cozy mystery: light and fun. A good beach read. Or couch read, in the event that your beach-going plans fall through. Bring on #3! (This was #2 in the Do-It-Yourself Mystery series.)

For readers' advisors: character and story doorways, no sex, and very little swearing.
534 reviews
November 5, 2009
Avery and Derek just bought their first house together and are busy doing the repairs and renovations needed to get it ready for resale. The house has a few problems, not the least of which is the gruesome murders/suicide that happened there around 20 years ago. Still, that is the least of their problems after a body is found in the crawlspace/basement of the house.

I am enjoying this series, the characters are a lot of fun, there are home repair tips at the back of the books, and the mystery is pretty good too! I did guess the killer in this one fairly quickly but there were enough twists and turns to make me second guess that choice, which makes it all the more fun.

Looking forward to number three in the series.
Profile Image for Sherri.
102 reviews3 followers
January 11, 2016
I liked the first of this series, but in this book, the main character worked my nerves! It's hard to believe that she was born and raised in Manhattan! As naive and just plain dumb as she is, how could she survive NYC? Won't continue this series.
25 reviews
June 10, 2014
Love these simple cozy mysteries...fast read
Profile Image for AJ Preiss.
49 reviews4 followers
July 5, 2018
Spackled and Spooked takes place shortly after the first book. Avery, a former New York furniture designer has put that job in the past and is now the designer side of a joint renovation business with her now boyfriend, Derek Ellis. In this book Derek purchases their first house to renovate together. The only hitch is that the house was the site of a grisly family murder ten years ago and there is rumors that the house is haunted. Will they be able to renovate or will the ghosts that supposedly haunt the house get them?

My Thoughts:

The cover of the book is adorable! It gives me the mystery vibe as well as the fixer upper vibes. I think that it suites the book well. Since this is the second book in the series I am safe to say that the authors mystery style is slow burn. She is really good at it though. The main character, Avery Baker is fluid from the previous book in being relatable. Although Derek is her boyfriend, Avery really is the star of the show. The book is good with great character development,  world building, and plot.

Avery goes through some insecurities in the book regarding her relationship with Derek because of Melissa, his former wife. She handles with grace and to my complete happiness she actually talks about it with Derek. I like it when authors write their female leads better than whining stereotypical teens. Derek shows reveals his own insecurities when he finds out that Avery's mother is coming for a visit. Along with their development we also get a few more characters added to the mix and I can't wait to see if there are any scenes with Irina and Melissa. 

In this book we are introduced to a few more locations which gives you a bit more insight for the town. We got a new age pizzeria named Guido's and Nickerson's antique shop. Both places I think will be regular hot spots for Avery in future books.

The plot was really good for this book. Avery and Derek get their first house together and it has some baggage. That baggage is a ten year old family murder that was committed in the house. Plus to boot there is a skeleton of a newer body discovered day one of renovating. Avery and Derek work together along with the chief of police to discover what had happened. To make everything just a bit scarier for her she is starting to believe the rumors that the house is haunted because she can hear screams and footsteps in house when no one else is there. 

Good news though! No ghosts just some really good theatrics and wiring from the murderer of the skeleton to keep people from entering and buying the house. Sad part is the reason that the person was killed for. I liked that it made sense though. A lot of books will have where the reasoning behind something is basically "nothing". This was a crime of passion and it was done well. The only downside though is that there was a plot bunny released where Avery is involved in an accident to possibly kill Derek or her? It was strange because it was kind of like the bunny released and it ran away never coming back to the plot burrow. But I would say that was the only downside to this book! It's a great book. It has great DIY instructions at the end so that you can copy what Derek and her did in the renovations. I give it a 4.5 stars out of five stars and I do recommend you check out this book.
Profile Image for Sue Rae Buck.
253 reviews4 followers
June 10, 2020
Spackled and Spooked is the 2nd Do-it-Yourself Mystery by Jennie Bentley and I feel it was a great story. The characters were well written and I love Jennie Betley's writing with all her twists am]nd turns that keep you guessing almost until the end of the book.

Avery and Derek of the Waterfield R & R bought the old Murphy house in which Brian, the husband killed his wife, Peggy, and his in-laws but was unable to kill his son, Patrick who ran when he saw the gun in his father's hand. Lionel Kenefick, who was friends with Patrick Murphy told Avery and Derek that the house was haunted and he heard screaming coming from the house. This completely contradicts what the next-door neighbor, Venetia Rudolph said while talking with Avery. While in the house working one day Avery heard footsteps and thought it was Derek but he wasn't back from the hardware store yet. Kate thought maybe it was a ghost but Avery doesn't believe in ghosts. While under the house to fix the kitchen floor Derek finds a human bone in the crawl space, so they have to call Wayne Rasmussen, Chief of Police. This house may never sell!

Brandon Thomas, the CSI Officer starts digging up the bones so they can identify who the person is. The bones belong to an old girlfriend of Brandon's, Holly White. Daphne the K-9 Trooper and her canine partner were looking to see if there were any more bones and the dog found something at Venetia Rudolph house. Poor Ms. Rudolph is dead and looks like some killed her. While investigating the murder of Venetia, Wayne gets an anonymous tip telling him to look in Brandon's shed for Holly's book bag. With Brandon off the case, Avery, Derek, and Kate try to help with the investigation. Can they help prove that Brandon had nothing to do with the killing of Holly or Venetia?

Profile Image for Pam.
1,594 reviews
August 15, 2017
I have really mixed feelings about this book, while I enjoyed it there were several things that just annoyed me. One was the lack of diversity of characters, except for one older woman who is murdered and a baby who was in a woman's arms, everyone in the story was college or middle aged. There is no diversity in anything including economic status, race, just white middle class, middle aged people. The second is inaccuracies in small details and in time lines. Events often took far less time then they would have in real life, while I would have just skipped over some of that when it happened repeatedly it just made the book feel unrealistic. And finally there were the plain stupid comments, "You mean its colder here in Maine than in NYC!" In summary Jennie Bentley knows how to pace a story, create an interesting story line and viable characters, but she needs to better edit the small details.
Profile Image for Jenn.
4,070 reviews43 followers
September 8, 2021
The second in the Do-It-Yourself Mystery series has Avery and Derek flipping the local haunted house, where a triple murder and suicide took place several years ago.

Overall, this was fun and I will definitely continue reading. But I have issues. The identity of the skeleton was fairly transparent early on. The culprit, also easily guessed. Even the other surprise I guessed fairly early too. And I'm not one who generally figures this stuff out ahead of time. This author, I hope, will do a better job in the future of not making everything so easily guessed. This was the problem with the first one too. Then, I have a small nitpick. Look at the book cover. Why does it look like someone is painting two-colored stripes with one brush? Bah!
Profile Image for Linda C.
2,090 reviews10 followers
January 12, 2018
Avery Baker and Derek Ellis, partners in a home renovation and restoration business, get a good price on a home where a murder occurred 20 years ago. Soon after starting demolition they hear footsteps and screams but no physical beings are there. Then when they start digging in the crawl space to shore up the foundation they come across human bones. The regular cast of secondary characters help the local police chief. A solid mystery.
Profile Image for Holly.
1,004 reviews
February 6, 2018
I really like this series! This is book #2. This has everything I love in a cozy mystery- an awesome intriguing mystery, interesting likeable characters, romance & friendship. Avery & Derek buy a house to renovate but people died in it years ago. There are noises while they are working on it, and then they find bones in the crawl space. Someone is unhappy they found the bones but who? Avery & Derek & friends need to find out who is trying to scare them off.
Profile Image for Dawn.
515 reviews8 followers
April 18, 2020
Avery Baker is new to the small town of Waterfield, Maine. She lives comfortably in the house she inherited and restored while beginning a new renovation business with her boyfriend, Derek Ellis. The two begin to renovate a house that has been empty nearly two decades after the previous owners died under unfortunate circumstances. Though the house may be haunted, the pair jump in feet first. They aren’t on the job long before trouble pops up, beginning with unlevel floors.
This is the second book in A Do-It-Yourself mystery series. I enjoyed the first book in the series and the second book did not disappoint. This book could stand alone, but I can’t read a series out of order and I recommend you begin with the first book. The new characters in this story were interesting. I quickly had suspects, even before the victim was identified. The story moved at a steady pace until we learned the identity of the victim. After that, things seemed to move quickly. I recommend this book and look forward to the next in the series.
541 reviews
December 21, 2018
Not as interesting as the first book in the series, but still a good read. I did guess the killer and the other major plot development, as well as whose body it was early on, which is unusual for me.
Profile Image for Amanda.
125 reviews2 followers
August 6, 2017
A good, quick cozy with a fairly standard and predictable plot.
850 reviews9 followers
January 9, 2018
Good cozy mystery series to read in the winter when you want to stay in bed all day.
Profile Image for Michele.
1,826 reviews37 followers
July 11, 2018
Loved the first book.....the second one is just as good!! Cannot wait for the next one...
Profile Image for Kathie.
691 reviews
May 12, 2019
Excellent story line. I could not figure out who did it although i had ideas of how I hoped it would work out. This is a great series.
Profile Image for Rachel Cohen.
200 reviews
October 30, 2019
Cute enough, besides an easy murderer to predict and the repeated derogatory use of “illegal alien”.
362 reviews1 follower
March 9, 2021
It was really too slow for me. also some thing were so obivious - like mystery of one character, whose bones were found etc. and I think cats are not really treated well in this book
Displaying 1 - 30 of 149 reviews

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