Title: One Man’s Treasure (Bellingham Mysteries #4)
Author: Nicole Kimberling
Cover Artist: April Martinez
Buy Link Amazon:
Genre: Contemporary Murder Mystery
Length: Novella (approx 30k words)
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
A Guest Review by Aunt Lynn
One Sentence Review: A wonderful addition to the Bellingham Mysteries books and furthering my great fondness of Nicole Kimberling’s writing.
Four years ago, Peter Fontaine made a name for himself as Bellingham, Washington’s premiere investigative reporter. Since then he’s got an award, a cat and good-looking artist to come home to every night.
Nick Olson, Peter’s long-suffering lover has a lot of reasons for wanting Peter to stop investigating the many and varied crimes committed in the City of Subdued Excitement. Peter’s nasty habit of getting held at gunpoint by lunatics has Nick wondering if any story is worth losing the man he’s decided to “everything-but-marry.”
But when a famous ceramic artist drops dead at the Bellingham Farmer’s Market, Nick agrees to help Peter dig deep to unearth the secret rivalries and dirty deeds done at Green Goddess Farms. And then they’re going to have another long talk about these bad habits of Peter’s.
Bellingham Mysteries 1-6 Box Set
One Man’s Treasure is book four in the Bellingham Mysteries series by Nicole Kimberling (the other books are reviewed here) that follows our narrator, reporter and amateur sleuth Peter Fontaine, and his lover, artist Nick Olson in Bellingham, Washington. This installment has Peter investigating the murder of local ceramic artist Roger as he collapses at the farmer’s market from apparent poisoning as well as us getting to watch Nick and Peter’s relationship move a step forward.
Why do I like these books, One Man’s Treasure being no exception?
Colorful, often eccentric characters. Everyone from Doug, Peter’s pot-smoking paranoid boss, to Evangeline, Peter’s esoterically-flavored gyoza-creating BFF, to pack rat Beekeeper Jackie, to dykey Officer Patton, to Nick’s cousin Kjell, the cast — even the smallest of roles — comes alive on the page.
Vivid scenery of the town of Bellingham and, in this book, the farmer’s market that is the center of the plot. I love farmer’s markets and attend quite a few of them in northern California (and almost weekly in Berkeley), so I loved those parts, which were certainly spot-on as Kimberling captured their quirkiness and almost religious attention to organics and natural…stuff.
A solid mystery with lots of plausible herrings. And the crimes go beyond just a drug deal gone bad or a robbery, often looking in-depth at the characters and their relationships and situations, sometimes with humorous results as witnessed by him wondering if the farmer’s market vendors as a whole might have done Roger in:
A group that couldn’t agree on whether freestanding umbrellas were acceptable could never group-murder anybody.
The relationship between Peter and Nick, which advances and grows with each book. Opposites that ground each other, Peter’s overwhelming and seemingly insatiable curiosity that gets him into trouble more often than not, and Nick’s Scandinavian, honed-by-Army, “incurable” stoicism play off the other really well. Peter likes all things fast and furious and lacks patience; Nick is slow and enduring and loves being in control. Peter tends to let his impulsiveness and curiosity overtake common sense; Nick looks at all angles and is the voice of reason. Nick says:
“I love that you’re smart and funny and brave. I do not love that the by-products of being smart and funny and brave are being arrogant, snarky, and reckless. But I’ve made peace with that.”
Peter’s news-quality internal narration, which cracks me up. Take just one example:
A steady drizzle of rain slithers down from the bone-colored sky. Chill winds blow off the cold celadon waters of Bellingham Bay, rush up Cornwall Street, pause briefly to take a right at Chestnut and then gaily bluster through the miserable vendors assembled at the Bellingham farmer’s market.
Farmers, crafters and food vendors hunch against the cruel breeze. They stamp against the numbing cold radiating up from the parking lot pavement. The wind laughs, whips through the tables, blowing up their vinyl tablecloths and toppling carefully balanced sandwich boards.
The vendors moan, jam their hands into their pockets and curse the weather.
And then some jerk starts to play a hurdy-gurdy.
Lastly, I can’t forget the flawless writing. Need I say more?
Recommended to fans of the author and/or series.