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Love for Sale: A Grace & Favor Mystery (Grace & Favor Mysteries) [Paperback]

Jill Churchill

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.4 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book! 27 Jun 2003
By "keikosake" - Published on Amazon.com
I have been a big fan of hers since her very first novel. I was really looking for this new Grace & Favor Mystery... and it was a great book. I learned a lot about the US history from this book too (I just moved to the US recently). I started to do some research about Hoover dam myself. A great book to read for your summer vacation.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a WONDERFUL book.... 25 Mar 2004
By K. A. Stevenson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Love for Sale" is the 4th book in the "Grace and Favor" Mystery Series by Jill Churchill and it is WONDERFUL.
Frankly, after reading the Amazon reviews I was hesitant to buy the book. But I had enjoyed the first three books of the series so much that I took a chance and I am very glad that I did.
I reread the first three books before continuing with this book and it didn't skip a beat. I am amazed at Ms. Churchill's ability to portray her characters of Lily and her brother, Robert Brewster as they are evolving and maturing. Robert is NOT as flighty as he was when younger. They are in the midst of the Depression, poverty is rampant and Americans are worried about the fate of their Nation and he is gaining some maturity.
One of my favorite scenes is when Robert drives "Voters for Roosevelt" to the polls in his Duesie when he didn't even VOTE in the previous election!
There is plenty of excitement in the book as a group of mysterious guests arrive at the mansion for a few days. A murder ensues and the plot thickens. "Love for Sale" also brings a new boarder and a few more husbands die.
Readers MAY have been disappointed by the book because due to the title, they may have been expecting a big romance for Lily or Robert. (Lily DOES need to have some romance soon and hopefully with a new man who is from a similar background.) The book does alternate between several characters, but to me it just makes them multi-faceted and doesn't focus on just one or two individuals.
I LOVE these characters and this town. I enjoy how they are maturing and how Churchill so expertly weaves historical facts into the plot. Her dialogue is amazing and so believable.
Don't expect a deep romance and I think that you will find that "Love for Sale" is Churchill at her finest.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars more a strong 1930s fiction that contains mystery subplots 19 Jun 2003
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
In 1932 in Voorburg-on-Hudson siblings Lily and Robert Brewster recover from their sudden fall from wealth by turning the mansion they can live in for life (according to their late uncle's will) into a bed and breakfast. When an obviously masqueraded stranger leases a room for the outrageous price of $500, Lily hesitantly agrees though she suspects the worst from this individual and his cronies coming for the weekend.
However, Lily misread what the worst is when someone stabs and subsequently drowns radio preacher Brother Mark Luke Goodheart in one of the B&B bathtubs. While Police Chief Walker investigates the homicide, Lily and Robert begin work as a substitute teacher temporarily replacing Millicent Langston who seems to have vanished. Meanwhile someone abducts young Joey while his mom waits for news whether her husband died while working on the Hoover Dam project. Lily being Lily cannot resist making inquiries into the murder, the misplaced teacher, and the kidnapped child.
Though this is a Grace and Favor mystery, the suspense elements take a back seat to the Depression Era ambiance of the story line. Readers can feel the mood at least near the Hudson River of the change in presidential administrations from Hoover to the New York Governor Roosevelt. The intrigues tie together, but never really hook the reader as deeply as the historical perspective as LOVE FOR SALE is more a strong 1930s fiction that contains mystery subplots.
Harriet Klausner
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Radio Static Backdrops Tinny voice, "This Is The Operator." 5 April 2005
By Linda G. Shelnutt - Published on Amazon.com
Oh my. Another one of those yummy covers which makes me want to leap into its picture and soak up the art.

The luxurious color-combo is literally healing in its delicious hue-intensity with primal-contrast; the design paints an addictive, nouveau-uplift on historic mysteries; the tangy texture of raised print nudges fingers to slide over the face; the extra flap-under-cover is welcoming, exposing the publisher's commitment to the book's value. Love the way the crescent moon leads the eye to the yellow light in an upstairs window on the brick mansion, then to the flapping pink curtain. Love how these image icons are repeated from the external scenes into the upstairs bathroom as itchy fingers open the flap. Drool. Slurp.

Churchill's confidence gracefully shows itself as the plot rhythm and character development eases off to a tattoo of Lilly, John, and support cast unhurriedly discussing life and politics. The story doesn't need to surge into a mystery mode until around page 37 of the paperback, when the murder is up. The event is staged with panache, and the characters hop to; shifting effortlessly into a hot-step jazz. I didn't quite notice I had been taken for a ride; but, of course, that's what I was there for.

The mystery kicks in, a la Agatha Christie; it's easy to see why Churchill's been compared to Miss Christie, even said to have surpassed the Master.

The story hums along smoothly in a snappy beat; so much so that, once the story ends, the reader is left with the stillness of true silence. The feeling is like that of a refrigerator compressor, humming as un-noticed "white noise" in the background. Once the motor stops, however, a warm body having been resting in the soothing, active presence is abruptly transported from what he had adjusted to as an ongoing reality in a cozily buzzing cocoon, into the empty exaggeration of the chill of motionless existence.

Sometimes that cessation of refrigerator-type-buzz is felt as relief.

Other times it is felt as a loss carrying a nearly overwhelming sense of grief.

When the hum of the mystery-in-process in LOVE FOR SALE culminates at the final period on the last page, there's a feeling of "Oh no, don't end, not yet."

This is the call of the cozy mystery sub-genre, a call which is heard and answered, in this novel especially.

Maybe it's the live-in quality of this sub-genre which somehow gives it the right (or the necessity) to continue, in ongoing, addictive series. Though the act of murder is as far from cozy as a warm body can get, maybe the desire for it's resolution and ultimate cessation is nurtured within that culture of comfort.

If that desire grows strong enough, might triumph and redemption win in our species?

See what type of contemplation Churchill's "simple" cozy, LOVE FOR SALE, can elicit from the soul of a reader who loves a good mystery resolved well?

Not wanting to conclude before mentioning some of the unique pulls of this story, I'll note that Chief Walker, the investigator, does not typically fade into the background as the amateur sleuth does the real work of exposing the dirt. Walker is an unusually warm, hired servant of justice, who methodically, yet compassionately walks determinedly, unwaveringly through his job. He's like a Columbo without the build up of bungle. In a typical Churchill character draw, Chief Walker is easy to be with, non-assuming, not a tough guy, just endearingly responsible in a step-by-step sort of way. He serves people simultaneously to serving justice.

I was intrigued by the hits here and there of the historic setting, when radio knobs are tuned for updates on "what's going on," instead of Remote Controls aimed and fired; when rarely made, heavily assisted by the Operator, long-distance phone calls are required, instead of flip-open cell phones lifted from humongous purses. Then there's the political pull of presidents elected, with the plot opening and closing as characters discuss and deal with Roosevelt in process of taking the gantlet from Truman.

Jill Churchill must have a worm hole or time machine somewhere in her closet, to be able to successfully work two mystery series, which are ages and universes apart in culture and style. I hope she never allows any discouragement lurking "In The Still of The Night" to break down the reality between her creativity and its deserved manifestation.

Well done, lady!
Linda G. Shelnutt
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not appalling 18 July 2003
By Laura Gifford - Published on Amazon.com
I was appalled by the the first review of this book. Love for Sale is a truly enjoyable book with a wonderful sense of period. I do agree that this not this neither the best of the series or the genre, but that doesn't mean it isn't a worthwhile read. If you're after a laugh out loud cozy, try Carola Dunn's Daisy Dalrymples, but if you want an amusing Depression era mytery, these are the way to go.
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