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All of Sarah Graves’ Books in Order!
Who is Sarah Graves?
Born in 1951, Sarah Graves is the pen name of Cozy mystery writer Mary Squibb. She published her first book, The Dead Cat Bounce, the first in the Home Repair is Homicide Mystery Series, in 1997.
The series follows Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree, and her friend Ellie White, as the two women become amateur sleuths, as the quaint seaside town of Eastport, Maine reveals itself to be quite deadly.
She published a short series featuring ex-detective Lizzie Snow, who moved from Boston to remote Bearkill, Maine, before launching her third series, Death by Chocolate, a spin-off from the Home Repair is Homicide Mystery Series featuring Jake and Ellie as the two best friends are now owners of a chocolate-themed bakery but still resolve crimes.
How to read Sarah Graves’ Books in Order?
The Home Repair is Homicide Series (Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree)
- The Dead Cat Bounce (1997) — Since she bought her rambling old fixer-upper of a house, Jacobia Tiptree has gotten used to finding things broken. But her latest problem isn’t so easily repaired. Along with the rotting floor joists and sagging support beams, there’s the little matter of the dead man in Jake’s storeroom, an ice pick firmly planted in his cranium. Not much happens in her tiny Maine town, but that’s about to change. Jake’s unknown guest turns out to be a world-famous corporate raider, local boy turned billionaire Threnody McIlwaine. When Jake’s best friend, quiet and dependable Ellie White, readily confesses to the murder, cops and journalists swarm into snowbound Eastport. Jake smells a cover-up, and begins poking into past history between McIlwaine and Ellie’s family.
- Triple Witch (1999) — Jacobia Tiptree saved her sanity—and her son, Sam—the day she abandoned Wall Street for the seacoast village of Eastport, Maine. In her new home, a charmingly dilapidated fixer-upper, she looks forward to repairing old radiators and restoring antique shutters for years to come. But Jake’s hopes of serenity are dashed when tiny Eastport erupts in a crime wave. Hometown bad boy Kenny Mumford is the first victim. When his corpse washes up on the beach at Prince’s Cove, all evidence points to a drowning…except the bullet hole in his forehead. When bodies begin littering the Maine scenery, Jake and Ellie learn that the ante on Kenny’s small-town antics has been upped.
- Wicked Fix (2000) — For ex-Wall Streeter Jacobia Tiptree and her teenage son, Sam, September promises tranquil days winter-proofing their rambling handyman’s special of a home in Eastport, Maine. But there’s nothing idyllic about this Down East autumn. For starters, the return of truly vicious native son Reuben Tate stirs up the town. And when somebody slits Reuben’s throat and hangs his corpse on the cemetery gate, the police trace a bloodied scalpel to surgeon Victor Tiptree—Jacobia’s former husband. Yet Jake knows her troublesome, trouble-prone ex is capable of just about anything except murder. Proving that, though, is another matter.
- Repair to Her Grave (2001) — This year Jake is hoping the plaster dust will keep them away while she finally gets her gem of a fixer-upper into shape — from doorknobs and chandeliers to leaky pipes to ghostly phenomena. But when the charming and mysterious Jonathan Raines appears on her doorstep — and then just as suddenly disappears — remodeling the house becomes the least of Jake’s problems. Could Jonathan’s disappearance have something to do with his quest for a cursed violin? Soon Jonathan’s grief-stricken girlfriend arrives Downeast, and Jake needs to strip Eastport’s past of its idyllic veneer — before a killer paints her very dead indeed!
- Wreck the Halls (2001) — People hardly ever lock their doors in Eastport. So when Jake and her best pal, Ellie, arrive at Faye Anne Carmody’s kitchen door, they knock and walk right in. But though Christmas is just two weeks away, what they find is far from festive: a dazed Faye Anne covered with blood, and her no-good husband nowhere in sight. Nowhere, that is, until Jake discovers his body — tidily wrapped in his own butcher paper. It doesn’t take long for news of the murder to race through the small town, and just about everyone has a theory about the grisly crime that has robbed Eastport of its least-liked citizen. But while police chief Bob Arnold considers it an open-and-shut case, Jake and Ellie aren’t convinced of Faye Anne’s guilt.
- Unhinged (2003) — It began with the mysterious disappearance of Harriet Hollingsworth—Eastport’s snoopiest resident. Everyone is convinced the old busybody bolted out of town to escape her creditor—everyone except Jake and her best friend Ellie who know Harriet would never leave home without her most prized possession. But before Jake and Ellie can persuade police chief Bob Arnold to open an investigation, they’ll need to come up with proof more sinister than a pair of abandoned binoculars.
- Mallets Aforethought (2004) — It’s Eastport’s most notorious landmark: the old Harlequin House. Named for the disgraced physician Chester Harlequin, it was used as a hideout for gunshot gangsters and their molls during Prohibition’s heyday. Now fixer-upper enthusiast Jake Tiptree and Harlequin’s only living descendant, Ellie White, are refurbishing the mansard-roofed mansion to host the local Historical Society’s upcoming gala. But when stripping down old wallpaper reveals a secret door to a room containing not one but two corpses, Jake and Ellie once again find home repair leading to homicide. One of the bodies is a skeleton dressed in 1920s flapper chic. But the other is that of real-estate mogul Hector Gosling, and in his pocket is a paper bearing the single word “Guilty.”
- Tool and Die (2004) — Jim Diamond may or may not be harassing his ex-wife with life-threatening letters, but Jake promised her new housekeeper, Bella Diamond, she’d look into the matter. An ex-con and a deadbeat, Jim Diamond doesn’t have a history of violence…that is, not until Jake arrives at his apartment and discovers that a killer has been there first. Suddenly Jake and her best friend, Ellie White, find themselves at the center of a murder with too many suspects and too few clues. And as if that’s not enough, Jake is now saddled with the manic Bella, whose certainty that she’ll be the next victim is fueling a super compulsive neatness–one that threatens to clean Jake and her long-suffering husband, Wade, out of house and home.
- Nail Biter (2005) — Buying a beachfront fixer-upper to lease out to Eastport, Maine’s, burgeoning tourist crowd seems like a good idea to Jake Tiptree and her best friend, Ellie White. But working double-time as landladies to a coven of wannabe witches isn’t what they had in mind. And it only gets worse when Jake is called out one stormy night to make a repair–and stumbles on a dead body in the utility shed. A small-time thief and street preacher with a particularly violent message, the deceased was no favorite of Jake’s–nor of anyone else in Eastport. But what’s he doing shot to death on Jake’s property?
- Trap Door (2006) — When Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree left behind her high-powered, high-risk career on Wall Street for the charming town of Eastport, Maine, she expected a quiet life spent fixing up her 1823 Federal-style house. But there are skeletons in her closet that may prove beyond repair…Suddenly the perils of the stock market pale in comparison to the murder, mayhem, and mystery of remodeling.
- The Book of Old Houses (2007) — Once upon a time, Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree was a hotshot money manager to Manhattan’s rich and dreadful—until she left city life behind for a centuries-old fixer-upper in the quaint seaside town of Eastport, Maine. But even this tiny haven has its hazards—and they can be astonishingly deadly…. What would you do if a long-buried book was unearthed from beneath your 1823 fixer-upper—a book containing your name written? That’s the mystery Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree faces in the midst of her latest old-house renovations. But it’s only the first in a town better known for its scenic views and historic homes than its body count. Now Jake is putting aside her hammer and fixing to find someone who’s got the blueprint for a perfect murder.
- A Face at the Window (2008) — It starts with a phone call that reopens a painful chapter in Jake Tiptree’s past. After years of delay, the man who murdered Jake’s mother is finally scheduled to stand trial—until he vanishes into thin air. Maybe the only thing worse about Ozzie Campbell’s disappearing is that Jake has a terrible foreboding of just where he’ll turn up next. With her family away, Jake had hoped to savor a few days of unaccustomed solitude. Now, without warning, her cozy, well-loved home in Eastport, Maine, seems more like a death trap ready to snap shut. Suddenly Jake feels that her house—and her life—has far too many windows. And in any one of them, she might see the face of her killer.
- Crawlspace (2009) — When a bestselling true-crime author arrives in Eastport, Maine, to research the infamous Dodd murders for a new book, she finds herself about as welcome as a spoiled clam. But surely no one in the quaint seaside town would harm the crime writer—or would they? Suddenly the unsolved and not-quite-forgotten slayings of the wealthy Dodd women go from cold case to hot topic, while just as quickly, onetime Wall Streeter Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree turns from probing the mysteries of old-house insulation to an investigation that’s reopened old wounds and unearthed a string of deadly secrets. Jake would have preferred to insulate herself and her family from danger, but someone with a taste for terror has already crept closer than she dares to imagine.
- Knockdown (2011) — Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree is deep in her latest home improvement project—repainting the porch of her lovingly restored house in Eastport, Maine—when she notices the man repeatedly biking past her house. His face is unsettlingly familiar, but his chilling message seems inexplicable: Blood shows up again. Murder will out. Then there’s the anonymous email warning her to beware the Fourth of July—just two days away. Jake remembers some shady characters from her days as a hotshot financial manager, but she’s baffled as to the identity of her nemesis—until she receives a photo of a murdered man. From home invasion to kidnapping, this twisted killer is slowly but surely plotting a knockdown, not just for Jake but for the entire town of Eastport.
- Dead Level (2012) — riving to a cottage in the Maine woods with her best friend, Ellie White, Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree has a challenging week ahead of her. She bet her husband that she could finish building the cottage porch in only a few days—a lofty goal for even the craftiest home renovator. But as Jake and Ellie set to work, they soon realize that they’re not alone. Dewey Hooper, a recently escaped convict, is watching them. Jake’s testimony got him sent away for murder years ago and here, in the remote wilderness, he can exact his revenge. Tough as nails and not afraid to defend themselves, Jake and Ellie are determined to keep their wits about them—to prevent the quaint little cottage from turning into the ultimate death trap.
- A Bat in the Belfry (2013) — It is nearly midnight when the enormous bell in the belfry of All Faith Chapel—silent for decades—booms forth, startling awake the entire town of Eastport. Upon inspection of the steeple, the police uncover the body of local teenager Karen Hansen, who had climbed the belfry’s dark, rickety stairs for a midnight rendezvous. But instead of the promise of an exciting new life, Karen meets her death. Meanwhile, as an epic nor’easter bears down on the idyllic island town, Jake Tiptree hurries to shore up her ramshackle old house against the big blow. An amateur detective, she has sworn off chasing criminals. But when the news of Karen’s murder spreads and much of the evidence points to Jake’s likable houseguest, she and her sleuthing partner, Ellie White, get to work. They discover an unexpected ally in newcomer Lizzie Snow, a woman from “away” who seemed to have blown into town with the nor’easter, and who also seems to know a lot about the mind of a killer.
The Death By Chocolate Series
A spin-off from the Home Repair is Homicide Mystery Series featuring Jake and Ellie
- Death by Cherry Chocolate Cheesecake (2018) — When Jake and Ellie, who’ve been through a lot together, decide to open a chocolate-themed bakery, they figure it’ll be a piece of cake. With Ellie’s old family recipes luring in customers, they expect to make plenty of dough this Fourth of July weekend. Having family home for the holiday only sweetens the deal for Jake—until an early-season hurricane scuttles her plans. Worse, with her family scattered and stranded, health inspector Matt Muldoon is found murdered in the kitchen of The Chocolate Moose. Ellie never made a secret of her distaste for Matt, who had been raining on their parade with bogus talk of health code violations. Now, with no alibi for the night of the murder, she’s in a sticky situation—and it’s up to Jake to catch the real killer and keep Ellie living in the land of the free.
- Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake (2019) — This summer, Eastport’s favorite lovebirds, kindergarten teacher Sharon Sweetwater and Coast Guard Captain Andy Devine, are getting married. The gala reception is sure to be the fête of the season, especially with a wedding-cake-sized whoopie pie courtesy of The Chocolate Moose. For Jake and Ellie, the custom-ordered confection will finally reel in some much-needed profits. But the celebratory air, and sweet smell of success, are ruined when Sharon’s bitter ex-boyfriend Toby is murdered with a poisoned milkshake. With Andy jailed as the prime suspect and the wedding cancelled, it’s up to Jake and Ellie to catch a poisonous predator before someone else sips their last dessert.
- Death by Chocolate Frosted Doughnut (2020) — Everything is shipshape at Jake and Ellie’s new waterfront bakery, The Chocolate Moose, especially now that the annual Pirate Festival is dropping anchor in their quaint island village of Eastport, Maine. Jake and Ellie are ready for the bounty of tourists sure to flood their shop. But their plans quickly sink when the body of celebrity foodie, Henry Hadlyme, is discovered in the Moose’s basement. Jake and Ellie are horrified, but their shock turns to dismay when Jake is pegged for the murder. Now, to clear Jake’s name and save the shop, Jake and Ellie must swashbuckle down and figure out who among Henry’s numerous enemies scuttled him in the cellar.
- Death by Chocolate Snickerdoodle (2021) — As co-owners of Eastport’s beloved waterfront bakery, the Chocolate Moose, Jake and Ellie know their customers expect them to cream the competition. But they’re really just in it for fun, hoping to get Jake’s daughter-in-law baking again. Those plans collapse when fearsome local curmudgeon Alvin Carter is murdered, and every crumb of evidence points to Tiptree family friend—and all-around sweet guy—Billy Breyer. Billy’s sisters beg Jake and Ellie to prove his innocence. After all, lots of folks had gone sour on Alvin, whose popularity ranked somewhere between a toothache and the plague.
- Death by Chocolate Chip Cupcake (2022) — Jake and Ellie are taking a break from perfecting their chocolate pizza recipe to cater a housewarming party hosted by movie icon Ingrid Merryfield. Miss Merryfield is famous for her old-Hollywood glamour. Her new home, Cliff House, has a reputation too—for being haunted. But she isn’t concerned, and some of her guests even try to summon a spirit during the party, using a Ouija board. What arrives instead is a freak autumn storm that downs an ancient tree, trapping everyone on the property and setting the stage for a killer’s planned spree. Though Jake and Ellie don’t intend to get stirred into the mix, there’s no avoiding it—especially when they witness one of the guests being shoved over the very precipice that gave Cliff House its forbidding name.
- Death by Chocolate Marshmallow Pie (2023) – Summer in Eastport means lobsters and blueberries, though tourists and locals alike always leave a little room for baked goods from The Chocolate Moose. This year’s arts festival, featuring food, games, and rollicking local musicians, means even more sweet-toothed customers. But it’s also bringing competition from a new rival, Choco’s, that’s trying to slice into the action. Choco’s owner, Brad Fairway, is pulling sneaky stunts to divert Moose patrons to his own shop, and Ellie finally confronts him about his tactics. But when Brad is found dead next day—and the weapon is a gun that belongs to Ellie—it’s only a matter of time before she is charged with the crime.
The Lizzie Snow Series in Order
- Winter at the Door (2015) — Moving from Boston to remote Bearkill, Maine, isn’t homicide cop Lizzie Snow’s idea of a step up. But breaking away from tragedy and personal betrayal is at least a step in the right direction. Her dead sister’s fate still torments her, as does her long-missing niece’s disappearance. Lizzie hopes to find the mysteriously vanished child here, amid the coming ice and snow. But in the Great North Woods, something darker and more dangerous than punishing winter is also bound for Bearkill. The town is a world apart in more than distance—full of people who see everything, say little, and know more than they’ll share with an outsider. The only exceptions are the handsome state cop who once badly broke Lizzie’s heart and desperately wants another chance—and Lizzie’s new boss, sheriff Cody Chevrier, who’s counting on her years of homicide experience to help him solve his most troubling case, before it’s too late.
- The Girls She Left Behind (2016) — For Lizzie Snow, the ice and snow of her first punishing North Woods winter are dreadful enough. But near the small town of Bearkill a stubborn forest fire now rages out of control, and as embers swirl dangerously in the smoke-filled air, a teenage girl with a history of running away has dropped out of sight again. The locals and the law both think Tara Wylie is up to her old tricks—until her mother receives a terrifying text message. Equally disturbing: Henry Gemerle—a kidnapper and rapist who once held three girls prisoner for fifteen years—has escaped, and may be lurking in Bearkill. As the fire closes in, Lizzie teams up with her boss, Sheriff Cody Chevrier, and state cop Dylan Hudson to search for the missing girl and the wily fugitive.
If you like Sarah Graves’s books, you may also want to take a look at our Cupcake Bakery Mysteries reading order, or the work of Cleo Coyle.