Title: Relief Valve (Plumber’s Mate #2)
Author: J.L. Merrow
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Release Date: March 25, 2014
Page Count: 357
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
If you dig up the past, be prepared to get dirty.
It hasn’t been all smooth sailing since plumber Tom Paretski and P.I. Phil Morrison became connected at the heart, if not always at Tom’s dodgy hip. Neither of their families has been shy about voicing their disapproval, which hasn’t helped Tom’s uneasy relationship with his prickly older sister, Cherry.
But when Cherry is poisoned at her own engagement party, the horror of her near death has Tom’s head spinning with possible culprits. Is it her fiance Gregory, a cathedral canon with an unfortunate manner and an alarming taste for taxidermy? Someone from her old writers’ circle, which she left after a row? Or could the attack be connected to her work as a barrister?
Phil is just as desperate to solve the case before someone ends up dead-and he fears it could be Tom. At least one of their suspects has a dark secret to hide, which makes Tom’s sixth sense for finding things like a target painted on his back…
Warning: Contains a strong, silent, macho PI; a cheeky, chirpy, cat-owning plumber; and a gag gift from beyond the grave that’ll put the cat firmly among the pigeons.
How one plumber trying to mind his own business, have a pint at the pub and a get a bit of snogging in with his boyfriend, can get into so much trouble is beyond me. Yet there it is. Tom is recuperated from the shooting fiasco in Plumbers Mate, is bouncing from leaky pipe to busted water heaters, when his sister Cherry calls with news that Auntie Lol has passed and left something for him. The kicker is, he has to go find it in Auntie Lol’s ex-husbands house.
Cherry also drops the bombshell on Tom that she’s getting married to the Reverend Gregory (not Greg). At Cherry’s and Greg’s wedding announcement party, Cherry starts flopping on the floor like a fish. Phil suspects it was someone after Tom. Dave, the DI, suspects everybody, which would be pretty much the entire church of St. Albans.
Trying to execute Auntie Lol’s will, find who poisoned Cherry, infiltrate a snobby writers group, mediate his best friend’s break up with his fiancé, fend off the Reverend with the fiendishly large hands and caterpillar eyebrows, and sit through a poetry reading is enough to drive anyone to distraction. But Tom and Phil do all this and more.
Relief Valve is a fast paced plot that left me chuckling, occasionally repeating a quote out loud and wanting to know what happens next.