An Au Pair to Remember:
A Male Housekeeper Mystery
by Stephen Kaminski
About the Book
An Au Pair to Remember: A Male Housekeeper Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Michigan
Cozy Cat Press (January 27, 2019)
Paperback: 260 pages
Digital ASIN: B07NCBZ23L
From the author of the award-winning Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective series comes the Male Housekeeper Mysteries, focusing on charming characters, snappy dialogue, eclectic murders, and cunning confidence schemes. To his mind, Cam Reddick has failed—as a husband, as a father, and as a professional. After recognizing that his vanilla credentials didn’t stack up in a big city brimming with overachievers and toiling in drudgery for half of a decade, an emotionally raw Cam returns to his childhood hometown—the quaint and quirky village of Rusted Bonnet, Michigan. He’s determined to resuscitate relationships marred by youthful immaturity, most importantly those with his ex-wife Kacey Gingerfield (who doubles as the village’s Deputy Chief of Police) and their first grader, Emma. Armed with striking looks and an endearing proclivity for mixing metaphors, but saddled by “momma’s boy” tendencies, Cam takes the helm of his mother’s housekeeping business—Peachy Kleen. Access to homes across the village facilitates Cam’s penchant for amateur sleuthing as Kacey’s aide-de-camp. Surrounded by Kacey, his sophisticated mother Darby, garrulous senior housekeeper Samantha, and recuse fish cum confidant Bait, Cam’s circuitous journeys to solving murders and unravelling complex cons hasten his struggle down the path of self-healing to self-respect. And there’s hope that—just maybe—he can rekindle the romance he once had with Kacey.
In An Au Pair to Remember, Cam’s plan for a quiet return to Rusted Bonnet is dashed when a beautiful German au pair, Greta Astor, is found dead in Dutch McRae’s foyer with all signs pointing to a hastily disassembled trip wire at the top of the stairs. When Kacey learns that Cam was cleaning the McRae home the previous afternoon, she confides to him that Chief Bernie Leftwich is set on arresting Dutch for the murder—either alone or in tandem with Greta’s bartender boyfriend. But she worries that Bernie’s been duped. And later, when his mother Darby becomes a suspect, Cam inserts himself into the investigation and stumbles through a series of ostensible incongruities—a thief swallowing a cache of stolen diamonds, a snack food distributor laundering money, and a Cash-for-Gold scam. Meanwhile, Peachy Kleen’s young African housekeeper has disappeared with one of the company vans. All the while, Cam finds himself flirting with his new neighbor and struggling with his complicated feelings for Kacey.
Cam Reddick has returned to Rusted Bonnet, Michigan to take over his mother’s housecleaning business, Peachy Kleen. But he has an ulterior motive. He hopes to have a real relationship with his daughter Emma and repair the relationship with his ex-wife Kacey Gingerfield, that blew up when he ran away and headed off to the big city. Kacey has moved on with her life working as the Deputy Chief of Police and taking care of her 6-year-old daughter. Cam’s mother, Darby is also very involved in the child’s life.
Cam is taking a hands-on approach at Peachy Kleen. He is part of the team sent to clean the McRae home where he meets Greta Astor, the McRae’s au pair. He is shocked to learn that the woman was found dead in the home the next morning. Chief Bernie Leftwich has already solved the case to his satisfaction. He deduces a trip wire was placed on the staircase and removed after Greta’s fall. He decides the children’s father, Dutch McRae is the murderer, but Kacey has her doubts. Then due to some “evidence”, he has determined that Cam’s mother Darby did it or is at least an accomplice. Cam can’t take the news sitting down so he starts doing a little sleuthing on his own. His ex-wife isn’t happy about it but at least he is keeping her in the loop with his findings.
I didn’t like Cam from the first sweep but he grew on me more as the story continued. He uses his immaturity as a reason for leaving his family behind and I just wasn’t having it. I pegged him as selfish and conceded. I do believe in second chances though so I was willing to give him a chance and I am glad I did. I really liked Kacey. A strong woman in a tough job being the best single mom that she can. She does open her life to Cam and allows him to see his daughter a lot without a whole lot of custody craziness. He steps up too with Emma when Kacey needs to work overtime to solve the case. Darby brings some levity to the story. I was stunned though by the Chief’s stupidity when he actually pulled her in as a suspect.
The mystery is a twisted one with plenty of theories but not a lot of actual evidence making it difficult to solve. The subplot featuring one of Peachy Kleen’s employees was very interesting and I was anxious to see how that played out and how and if it had anything to do with the au pair’s death. I did have an inkling about the murderer early on but can’t point to one thing that took me in their direction, it was just an overall thing until the final clues fell into place.
I hope in the next story we learn much more about the characters. Cam appears to have Celiac Disease and should adhere to a gluten-free diet. His good and bad food choices run throughout the story. I feel we have just scratched the surface on Kacey and Darby and I really want to see more of Emma. Of course, Cam’s fish Bait, yes he named his fish Bait, already plays a crucial role as Cam’s sounding board. I just hope he has a life longer than a typical fish 🙂
About the Author
Stephen Kaminski is the author of An Au Pair to Remember, the first installment of the Male Housekeeper Mystery series. He also writes the award-winning Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective books. Stephen is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Law School and serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the trade association representing the United States’ poison control system and its fifty-five centers. He lives with his daughter and rescue kitty in the Washington, DC area.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”