The Walled Flower by Lorraine Bartlett is the second book in the “Victoria Square” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime (Penguin), February 2012

Her fate was sealed

If Katie Bonner’s late husband hadn’t invested all their savings in the craft fair Artisans Alley—which Katie is now responsible for keeping in the black—the Webster mansion could have been hers to remodel. For years she dreamed of renovating the old place on Victoria Square into a bed and breakfast. Now that dream belongs to another young couple.

But their dream becomes a nightmare when a skeleton is discovered, sealed in one of the walls of the mansion. The bones belong to Heather Winston, who went missing twenty-two years ago. Her aunt is Rose Nash, a jewelry vendor at Artisans Alley, who is determined to find her niece’s murderer, and asks for Katie’s help to do it. The case may be cold, but the killer is very much alive—and ready to go to any lengths to keep past secrets buried.

I love this series. One would think Katie’s life is full with looking for a new apartment; being roped into a bridal party and dealing with a disgruntled vendor when she agrees to help her friend Rose solve a decades-old murder involving her missing niece. Katie will have to find a killer before the killer cashes her out. I have been eagerly waiting for the return of Katie and her friends and boy, did the author deliver a well-written mystery that I devoured from beginning to end. The suspense of who is the killer had me quickly turning the pages as the story progressed in this fast-paced drama. With a wonderful cast that surrounds Katie, the comfort of a small-town locale and engaging dialogue, this was a terrific read and I look forward to the next book in this charmingly appealing series.

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