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Book Review: The Death Contingency

The Death Contingency This month our book review departs from the usual, more serious fare and takes a look at something fun: The Death Contingency, by Nancy Lynn Jarvis (2008). Jarvis has been a California real estate agent for more than 20 years and owns a real estate brokerage in Santa Cruz with her husband. In recent years, she has turned her talents to writing the well-received Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries. The Death Contingency is the first in this series.

I'm not normally a fan of the mystery genre, but I found this book to be quite entertaining. Regan McHenry is a Santa Cruz real estate agent who finds herself in the middle of a mystery when a seller fails to show up at closing to sign a grant deed over to her buyers. When the seller turns up dead, McHenry begins to suspect a fellow real estate agent. Will she uncover the truth? Or will her meddling put herself and her business at risk?

What makes this book such a fun read is that Jarvis knows her stuff. The story is full of all those little insider details that real estate agents will recognize as familiar territory. In addition, the main character frequently reminisces about unusual past transactions, clients, and problems that are no doubt drawn from Jarvis's own experience. They're the kind of good stories colleagues share when they get together over a cup of coffee or a beer, and we readers are invited to the table. With a sense of humor and a wink to fellow agents reading her book, Jarvis manages to make McHenry one of us.

I wasn't sure that I'd like The Death Contingency, but Jarvis has made me a fan. Jarvis has now written three other books in the Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries series, and I'm actually looking forward to reading them. Weather you're a mystery fan, or simply a real estate agent looking for something fun to read, The Death Contingency won't disappoint.

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