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FTC Disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

A Deadly Grind by Victoria Hamilton

Anyone who knows me knows I love mysteries and I love antique/vintage items. My own kitchen has several treasures that are from my Granny's kitchen. I don't use them because I'm afraid my teen age boys will shatter them. :) When I first read the description of this new series, I was sure this would be a good reading match for me. I was right!

What I liked about the book: It is a very well written quick read. I didn't want to put the book down. I also connected with the story because of the auction. (I worked for an auction company for extra spending money when I was in college. Of course, I often spent all my earnings at the auctions I was working.) The story starts with Jaymie and her sister attending an estate auction. The mystery begins right away when Jaymie overhears a furtive conversation about a valuable button. The author does a great job with character development. She sets a strong foundation at the beginning of the book and continues to build on it throughout the story. Jaymie is a strong female character. And though, like most cozy sleuths she does poke her nose into the police investigation she's really not a ditzy character that takes unbelievable chances. She's very well grounded. I enjoyed that there were no "annoying characters" in this story. You know what I mean. Many mysteries have a character that whose only job in the story is to be obnoxious and try to make things difficult for the heroine. I guess I find those characters so annoying because I know too many of them in real life. The author does briefly introduce us to one character that I'm sure will be "that annoying character" in future books. But I'm sure Jaymie will be able to handle her just fine. And finally I loved that recipe makeover included at the end of the book. It was nice to the original recipe alongside the modernized version.

What I didn't like about the book: I LOVED it all!

I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves mysteries and vintage things, especially vintage kitchen items. I can hardly wait for the next book in the series.

Victoria Hamilton is a pseudonym for national bestselling author Donna Lee Simpson, who is also a collector of vintage cookware and recipes.
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on May 19, 2012
In this new series, we are introduced to Jaymie Leighton who is a collector of vintage cookware and works part-time. Jaymie is thrust into murder when a dead body is found near her prized purchased of the Hoosier kitchen furniture. Concerned for her safety and peace of mind, Jaymie begins to piece together snippets she overheard and facts she learned to unpeel a killer in her midst. This was a great book with good writing, great dialogue and an all-around nice place to visit and stay awhile. Jaymie is a strong heroine who shows her vulnerability and strength at the same time as she looks for clues to this murder mystery. The secondary characters are likable and I can't wait to see more interaction between them. The author did a good job at keeping me guessing, especially when I thought it was all over and then BAM, the story wasn't over and I was a bit surprised at the killer's identity, as I didn't see that one coming. A great debut and I'm looking forward to the next book in this wonderfully crafted series with bonus recipes.
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on May 12, 2012
This is the first book in a new series and boyie oh boyie, I am hooked! I usually do not like books with a lot of characters in them. It is too hard for me to keep up with who is who. Each character is so unique, that it is not hard at all and I find myself in some of them or know someone just like them.
When I started A Deadly Grind, I did not want to put it down and when I finished it, I find I did not want it to end. I know the next book will be just as exciting because the characters are just waiting for their time to shine.
I love to cook and used to stay in the kitchen when my great-grandmother, great-aunt and grandmother cooked. I have a lot of special memories of those times. A Deadly Grind brought those memories back to me.
Now, I find myself wanting to go flea markets and garage sales to see if I can find any vintage kitchen items.
If you enjoy cozy mysteries, this is a must read!
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on July 1, 2012
This book was great fun, it had a great mixture of a cozy mystery and modern flair. I am COMPLETELY in LOVE with the setting... this awesome town separated by an island divided between USA and Canada. They celebrate both countries' holidays, it's just so charming. I have to Google it and see if it's a real town, cause I need to go have tea with the Queen too. I'm barely cognizant of what is in a kitchen, much less vintage things. So it was pleasing that the author kept my interest despite that. I liked most of the characters and was glad that there weren't any glaring cliches. The ending is a bit cheesy, the heroine kept getting the "bad guy" to talk (at length... I mean, they blabbed everything!) and it got overboard quick. The villain(s) could have been better herrings, they kept skulking into random chapters for negligible reasons other than a reminder they were going to pop up for the climax.
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on July 17, 2012
This has been a bonanza year for new series that really appeal to me. In A Deadly Grind, I liked the two sisters and how they complemented each other's personalities, but I really liked Jaymie. She's an independent woman who's very comfortable in her own skin. Collecting vintage cookware and living in an old-fashioned farm house suits her just fine. Writing her cookbook using old recipes she converts to modern day, tending her garden and helping out her neighbors leads to a full life for her. She likes a slower pace of life and doesn't feel the need for a high powered career or all the latest modern conveniences. She has a fine appreciation for the past.

I thought the mystery was well done in this one; plenty of suspects with the powerful motive of Greed! Yes, that's Greed with a capital G; greedy enough to commit murders, theft and betrayal. The author kept me guessing through out most of the book. Although I did figure out the culprit towards the end, that did not take away from the story at all.

The setting, Michigan near the Canadian border, was interesting and the author made me feel as if I were really in the scene. I liked the ambiance of the Queen's Tea that Jaymie participated in. Sounds like an event I would love to attend myself. All these little details make for a well rounded cozy.
A Deadly Grind (A Vintage Kitchen Mystery)
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on June 4, 2012
Victoria Hamilton has vaulted herself to the top of the genre with her first mystery: A Deadly Grind.

Others have already discussed the plot, so I'll focus on the things that make this so good:

Unlike some mysteries, the hook for the plot (vintage kitchen accessories) is integral to the plot--and isn't just a gimmick to get readers in the door. You can see from her blog that Hamilton has a genuine passion for the topic, and she does a beautiful job weaving in historical background on things like the Hoosier cabinet. These kinds of mysteries rely heavily on the non-fiction handle, and this is the rare case where it's integrated very tightly.

The writing is very, very tight and, in parts, very funny.

Here's hoping this is the start of a long series.
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on June 4, 2012
I have been waiting for ages to read this book, as I follow the wonderful writer on facebook. Her words flow from page to page, the people are real and you feel as if you know them, or would like to know them. Great storyline, and the old gadgets are such a treat for all of us that remember them so well. As for me and many others who found this to be a treat to read, I can't wait for the next in this lovely series!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon February 14, 2015
Interesting mystery about a lady who loves antique cookware. It is the first in a series that I think I am going to enjoy. I really liked this book and the twists and turns in it. I am awaiting her next one. I was intrigued by the three legged dog and I think other readers would be also. If you like a good murder, this is for you.
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on December 3, 2013
I can't remember if it is made clear that this is book one of the series. I sometimes have a hard time figuring this out.

I am on an ever constant search for a mystery that has characters to whom I can relate. I found myself completely in tune with Jaymie, her sis Becca, and wonderful friend Dee. Jaymie is in love with vintage dishes, cookbooks, and suddenly a sweet Hoosier cabinet at a local estate auction. (Coincidentally, I have the exact Hoosier depicted on the book cover!) When Jaymie wins the bid, she takes home more than the cabinet...murder follows her home as well!

There are a number of things that I particularly enjoyed. Jaymie loves, collects, and (forgive me) covets the stuff I do! My aging home, built in 1925, is packed with vintage housewares, linens, and antiques I've collected over the last 20 years from hither and yon. And like Becca "nags" Jaymie about there being NO room for anything else; I receive similar "caring and helpful" advice. I smile and using my selective-hearing-secret-power; pretend I didn't hear a thing and carve out room. I am interested in recipes from the past and am intrigued by how modern conveniences have made producing good food so much easier. (A boon to this book is the recipe for Queen Victoria Cake from long ago.) I am considering trying my hand at it. Jamie's love for vintage creates a "career" in finding special pieces for others and to her putting together a cookbook collection of vintage recipes adapted for cooks of today. IF she can find a publisher. I'll buy a copy!

I also appreciated the absence of swearing; explicit sex and violence. Right up my alley! Since books do not come with ratings, I've ended up with books that contain themes I'm not interested in. These books have their readers but I'm looking for something else.

I liked the premise, the characters, and the story. Jaymie is loving and caring to family and friends. She invests her time in others in a hurried world. I liked that. There is a romantic bent with a couple of love interest possibilities for the single 32-year old Jaymie. She's not sure she's ready for a new relationship as she is still getting over her "old" boyfriend's sudden departure into the arms of another. This is particularly hard in a small town where everyone knows everybody else's business! The romance angle wasn't something I was looking for but others may find it a bonus and/or necessity. :-) There are no steamy descriptions, scenes, or dialogue.

All in all this turned out to be a good read. Nice and interesting people (well, excluding the villains and murderer, that is) in a sweet community, and a good whodunit to solve! I like to read to try and relax so I can fall asleep and this book completely fit the bill! I was able to put it aside to sleep and yet I wanted to resume reading the following night. I read it in about six hours.

Update: 12/30/2013
I went on to read book two: Bowled Over (Vintage Kitchen Mysteries) and three: Freezer I'll Shoot (A Vintage Kitchen Mystery). I enjoyed both!
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on July 6, 2013
A DEADLY GRIND by Victoria Hamilton #1 in A Vintage Kitchen Mystery series.

Jaymie Leighton lives in Queensville, Michigan in a nineteenth-century yellow brick house she shares with her sister Rebecca. Jaymie collects vintage cookware and cookbooks. At a local estate auction, ignoring the protests of her sister, Jaymie bids on and wins a 1920s Hoosier-brand kitchen cabinet.

Leaving the Hoosier on her summer porch until she can make room for it in her already over crowded kitchen, the last thing Jaymie expects is to be awaken in the middle of the night only to find a strange man lying dead on the porch floor apparently struck on the head with the steel meat grinder that was a part of the cabinet.

As the police try to find out the identity of the corpse Jaymie can't resist doing a little sleuthing of her own. Who was the dead man? Why was he on her back porch? Who killed him and why? The search for answers turns deadly as Jaymie uncovers hidden secrets of the Hoosier.

In this debut book in the series, Victoria Hamilton weaves mystery and history that will entertain readers from begging to end. Jaymie is a delightful heroine, keeping the reader in her corner. You get a real feel for her life in her little Michigan town in the house she shares with her sister Rebecca, Hoopalong her three-legged Yorkie-Poo and her green eyed tabby, Denver.

There are also great characters in the local towns people. Jaymie's sister Rebecca who buys and sells expensive china. Anna and Clive, owners of the b&b next door, Daniel Collins, the owner of Stowe House, Joel, Jaymie's ex-boyfriend and his girlfriend Heidi, DeeDee Stubbs, who sells 50s - 70s kitsch and TV tie-in merchandise online and many more.

Though there were times in this book that I felt the story was moving a bit slow, overall I enjoyed it. I was surprised by the killer, which is fun. And I learned much about a variety of subjects. I will read second book in this series.
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