Lock Nut (The Plumber’s Mate Mysteries #5) by J.L. Merrow

Hi, I’m JL Merrow, and I’m delighted to be here today as part of the blog tour to celebrate the release of Lock Nut, the fifth of my MM mysteries in the Plumber’s Mate Mystery Series.  In Lock Nut, a simple hunt for a missing husband turns into a chase after a murderer when a body turns up in a local canal—and slightly psychic plumber Tom Paretski ends up with his face on TV as the prime suspect! Meanwhile, wedding bells are ringing all over the place…


About Lock Nut


Still waters run deadly.


Tom Paretski, plumber with a talent for finding hidden things, and his private investigator fiancé Phil Morrison have been hired to locate a runaway husband, Jonathan Parrot. The job seems simple enough—until their quarry turns up dead in a canal, and a photofit of Tom’s face is splashed all over the news, making him chief suspect.


The widow, petite ex–porn star Lilah Lovett, is convinced her husband was killed by his gay lover, but Tom and Phil aren’t so sure. Worried they may have precipitated Jonathan’s death, they’re determined to find the real killer. But with a web of incestuous ties linking the suspects, it’s hard to know who to trust. Especially when a second victim dies a gruesome death.


Meanwhile, with their wedding looming and them sharing a house now, Tom’s worried it may all be too much, too fast. The last thing he needs are the mixed messages Phil seems to be sending out. They’ll need to get back on the same track if they want to make it to their honeymoon together—and alive.



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Camden Market—where Tom Paretski gives chase to errant husband Jonathan Parrot at the start of Lock Nut—is just one of the many markets London offers, and has done for centuries.

Leadenhall Market, for instance, has its roots in Roman times, although the Dark Ages being what they were, continuous trading in the area can only be traced from the 14th Century. The market at Camden Lock, compared to this, is not so much a babe in arms as practically a foetus—it all started in the 1970s, with a grand total of 16 arts and crafts stalls, open only on Sundays.

Today, Camden Lock plays host to four distinct markets and boasts “over 1,000 places to shop, eat, drink and dance.” If you’ve ever been there, you can easily believe that number. It’s a chaotic, colourful place, where you can buy anything from tourist tat to vintage designer fashion, from antique furniture to coffin handbags for goths. There are, to this day, a lot of crafts on offer, and a wide selection of food stalls to keep your energy up. It’s one of London’s largest tourist attractions, and well worth a visit. Many of the stalls are set in railway arches, or in the disused Pickfords stables and horse hospital, and the market feels almost like an organic, living thing, with its odd shapes and labyrinthine twists and turns.

The “Lock” of the name refers to the Regent’s Canal, built during the 1870s, which brought a brief boom to the area—swiftly followed by a bust, as developments in transportation  priced it out of the, ahem, market. The lock area has now been regenerated and is very pretty. So pretty, in fact, that I decided it’d be a shame to leave a body floating there when writing Lock Nut. But be warned: other canals were not so fortunate! 😉

Question: Have you got a favourite market? Tell us about it! Or do you hate the places, and prefer to shop online?


About The Plumber’s Mate Mysteries

A plumber with a hidden talent and an ex–school bully who’s trying to atone for his past. This unlikely crime-solving duo could be the worst thing that’s ever happened to the murderers of rural Hertfordshire, England.


All his life, cheeky plumber Tom Paretski’s had a sixth sense for finding hidden things. Mostly it’s brought him nothing but grief, but ever since tall, blond, and broody Phil Morrison stomped back into his life, Tom’s been using his psychic talents to track down killers. He’s shocked to find himself falling for the man he used to hate.


Phil’s an ex-cop turned private investigator who can’t forgive himself for the pain he caused Tom in their shared schooldays—especially his part in an accident which left Tom with a lasting limp. Finally able to face up to his feelings for Tom, Phil’s determined to make amends. Just as long as the murderers who won’t stop crossing their path don’t rob him of the chance to do so for good.


The path of their investigations may not run any smoother than their love life, but with the help (and hindrance) of a motley crew of friends and family—including the world’s campest campanologist and his ex–porn star lover—with any luck Tom and Phil will continue to get their man.


Publisher’s note: Each book in this series stands alone as a murder mystery, but the series as a whole follows Tom and Phil’s romantic journey from enemies to lovers, and beyond. It’s recommended, but not essential, to read the books in order.


About JL Merrow

JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea.  She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again.

She writes (mostly) contemporary gay romance and mysteries, and is frequently accused of humour.  Two of her novels have won Rainbow Awards for Romantic Comedy (Slam!, 2013 and Spun!, 2017) and several of her books have been EPIC Awards finalists, including Muscling Through, Relief Valve (the Plumber’s Mate Mysteries) and To Love a Traitor.

JL Merrow is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, International Thriller Writers, Verulam Writers and the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.


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To celebrate the release of Lock Nut, JL is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on May 19, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

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11 Thoughts to “Lock Nut (The Plumber’s Mate Mysteries #5) by J.L. Merrow”

  1. Judy Stone

    Every Saturday from June through August, I’m at my local farmers market as soon as they open, buying everything from local honey and artisan bread to fresh fruit and vegetables. As an armchair explorer, I’m grateful you’ve given us a photo and a brief history of Camden Lock. It’s fun reading and learning about interesting, must see places, and now I understand how Tom tripped while pursuing the errant husband. Gosh, those are narrow lanes. Happy book birthday. Looking forward to reading Lock Nut.

    1. As soon as they open? That’s true dedication – or else you’re much more of a morning person than I am! 😉

      And thank you! 😀

  2. Johanna Jochum

    Sadly, I’ve never been to a huge market like this. Would love to visit someday and buy lots of tourist “tat.” We only have a small farmers market. Usually just in the summer months. Mostly selling fresh fruit and veggies. A couple booths with baked artisan bread or canned goods like jams and honey. A few arts and craft type stalls selling jewelry or leather goods. And about three or four vendors selling food like street tacos, but not much else. Still fun to go if your bored. Thanks for sharing with us today. I just finished Lock Nut and absolutely loved it.

    1. I guess I’m spoiled living where I do, with so many markets in reach. But I’m sure there are hidden gems to be found everywhere. 🙂

      And thank you! <3

  3. Jennifer

    I live in a small town, so we don’t have any permanent markets. In the summer, we do have a farmers’ market on the weekends. Camden Market was fun when I visited.
    jlshannon74 at gmail.com

    1. Farmers’ markets are nice, but somehow I can never get quite so excited about browsing for vegetables! 😉

  4. Jerry Adams

    I love the Plumber’s Mate series. It is one of my favorites and I have read them several times. I have to wonder about Tom’s ending thought about “whatever went wrong in sunny Italy?” as they were on the way to their honeymoon. Will the next book be a mystery adventure during their honeymoon? I love the setting of the series but it would be nice to see how Tom copes in another country. Also, since he is such a “foodie,” it would be interesting to hear his take on the food. Will risotto in Italy be up to scratch? LOL!. Thank you for the series. Cheers!

    1. Thank you – I ‘m so glad you’ve enjoyed the series so far! And you may just have read my mind re book #6! 😉

  5. Serena S.

    Congrats on the new release! And thanks for the post.

    1. Thanks, and you’re welcome. 🙂

  6. Purple Reader

    Congrats, and thanks for the post. this sounds like a great addition to an already good series. – Purple Reader,
    TheWrote [at] aol [dot] com

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