Primer and Punishment By Diane Kelly: Review/Giveaway

Mar 4, 2023 | 2023 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Cynthia Chow

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.

Whitney and Buck Whittaker’s new house-flipping project is still technically a house, but this will be the first time the cousins are attempting to rehab a worn-down houseboat floating in a Nashville, Tennessee, river. While this has Whitney researching and Youtubing videos on the proper paints and sealants required to keep The Skinny Dipper from leaking water, it’s their neighbor in the slip next to them who proves to be the bigger challenge. The many-times-married Grant Hardisty seems to maintain his lifestyle by living off of lawsuits and his ex-wives, not to mention borrowing dinner funds from a wary Buck. After one-too-many late night parties and being kept up by Grant’s dog barking, the cousins ask Grant to take The Sexy Sheila out further on the water to prevent the smells of his grilled fish from permeating into their fresh paint jobs. It’s extremely fortunate that they did, as otherwise Whitney and Buck would have been more than just knocked off of their feet when Grant’s boat explodes, along with him in it.

Equally fortuitous was Whitney allowing Grant’s stepson to sneak their black lab mix off of The Sexy Sheila the night before, as she agreed with the teenaged Tanner that being left tied up on the boat outside all night was no life for the whining dog. The timing doesn’t look too good, though, when Deputy Fire Marshal Melanie Landreth reports that the explosion was caused by arson, and it’s not long before Tanner’s mother confesses to the crime. She isn’t the only one to attempt to take the blame for the explosion, and when Whitney’s inflatable duck has its throat slashed she doesn’t hesitate to continue her own investigation into their houseboat neighbor’s death.

This fifth in the series continues to alternate chapters narrated by Whitney and her cat Sawdust, whose feline’s viewpoints are rather brief and decidedly catlike. When not tracking down the multitude of Grant’s exes or his baffling success at online dating, Whitney attends the bridal and wedding parties for Buck and her best friend Collette. Whitney’s own boyfriend Detective Collin Flynn is not only on the case, he respects her judgment as she questions those involved in Grant’s life. In between bridal gown fittings and the restoration of their houseboat-flipping project, Whitney and her friends track down a bottle of Gil’s Fish Flavoring, find the source of explosive ice packs, and sort out false confessions. The affectionate nature and close bond between Whitney and her cousin is revealed through their good-natured teasing and affectionate banter, not to mention Whitney’s genuine delight as her best friend becomes an even closer part of their family. Details about boat repair and motors are made as intriguing as the mystery over who blew up the blow-hard, making this another fun and rewarding entry in Diane Kelly’s expansive list of humorous, fast-paced cozy mysteries.

To enter to win a copy of Primer and Punishment, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “primer,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 11, 2023. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase the book. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the Amazon link. You can also click here to purchase the book.

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Sounds like a fun read.
    thanks. txmlhl(at)yahoo(dot)com

    • It is! But of course I might be a little biased since I wrote it. ; )

  2. Sounds interesting! Count me in!

  3. Primer and Punishment by Diane Kelly is a book cozy mystery readers will flip over!

  4. I am a fan of this author and would love to win this!

  5. We have a winner!


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