One Man’s Treasure by Nicole Kimberling is the fourth book in the very entertaining Bellingham Mystery series (named after its vivid setting of Bellingham, Washington State, USA). The books are written as stand-alone mysteries, so you can easily jump into the middle of the series with this one. However, to appreciate the subtle evolution of the relationship between the two main characters, you should read the books in consecutive order.
This series features an opposites-attract theme in the pairing of stoic, no-nonsense artist Nick and excitable journalist Peter. In this book, our heroes’ thoughts turn to marriage, or at least long-term commitment, which means negotiating the conflict between Nick trying to look out for Peter’s safety, and Peter having the freedom to pursue his sometimes risky investigative reporting. As with previous books, the highlights of the story include (1) gentle satire toward the flamboyantly eccentric population of Bellingham and (2) Peter’s habit of “writing up” commentary of his ongoing actions in heroically imagined news stories.
The story opens with Nick and Peter reluctantly helping a friend with her food booth at an outdoor fair. When an acquaintance drops dead right in front of them, they are startled to say the least. Peter immediately uncovers hints of possible murder by poisoning. The suspect list includes several artists and assorted weirdos whose motives are hard to fathom. With the help of a police officer with her own agenda, Peter starts investigating. Meanwhile, he and Nick search for a meaningful way to take their relationship to the next stage of commitment.