A HOUSE TO DIE FOR, by Vicki Doudera, Midnight Ink, Woodbury, Minn., 2010, paperback, 328 pages, $14.95.

As U.S. history shows, land has long been something that people have killed for.

So why not use high-end real estate as the backdrop for a mystery series?

That’s exactly what Camden Realtor Vicki Doudera has done in her novel, “A House to Die For.”

In Doudera’s debut, real-estate agent Darby Farr is summoned back to her hometown island of Hurricane Harbor, Maine, by her aunt and former guardian Jane Farr.

By the time Darby arrives, Jane’s health is failing. Still the sale of Fairview, the childhood home of Darby’s long-ago friend Lucy Trimble and her handsome older brother, Mark, seems fairly straightforward — until the body of a potential buyer shows up there.

Other obstacles develop as well, the most prominent being that returning home brings back Darby’s memories of the accidental deaths of her parents. Then there’s the crazed Gulf War veteran who wants to stop the sale of Fairview and the mob-connected other potential buyer. Finally, a love interest complicates things as well for Darby.

In her first mystery, Doudera shows a real flair for characterization and gives the readers a true sense of place, bringing the insular quality of a Maine island to life. Her new fans should be sure to check their bookstores’ listings for her next two books featuring Darby Farr.