Murder by the Book
by Lauren Elliott
If you are looking for an interesting cozy mystery with lots of crimes and suspects, you will find it in Lauren Elliott’s Murder by the Book. Addison Greyborne, with a background as a researcher of rare books, inherits her aunt’s huge house and large collection of books. Some of the residents of the small town where she decides to open a bookshop are not particularly welcoming, but she finds a friend in Serena who owns the tea shop next to Addie’s bookstore and in Serena’s brother Marc, the police chief.
Addie believes her research skills are similar to those needed for a murder investigation, so when Selena is arrested for murder, Addie decides to get involved. Although I enjoyed the story, there are parts of it that just don’t seem plausible. Addie personally, her shop, and her home are targeted numerous times without anyone being able to identify the mischief makers or their motives—although mysterious vehicles are seen many times. There are also several deaths tied into the plot and a number of suspicious newcomers to the small town that no one suspects until it is too late. The storyline contains too many characters dealing in rare books one way or another for that not to be the motive. Secret compartments, a fun device, abound. Unfortunately that device is overused as is the irritating tendency for other characters to tuck a strand of hair behind Addie’s ear. Serena also overplays her interest in Addie and Marc’s relationship while she is still under suspicion for murder. In addition, I have to wonder at the number of customers the bookstore maintains day after day and at the ease with which both Addie and Selena can leave their shops unattended or closed any time they feel like it. On the positive side, there are gems of information about rare books tucked into the pages of this cozy. So, recommended? Yes. A terrific cozy? No, but since this is the first in the series, I am willing to give it another try when the next one is published.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: #1 in the Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery Series
Publication: October 30, 2018—Kensington Press
Lover Come Hack
by Diane Vallere
I am not particularly interested in fashion, interior design, or retro looks from the 50’s, but that didn’t stop me from thoroughly enjoying Diane Vallere’s Lover Come Hack which features Madison Night, an interior decorator who channels Doris Day. Buying up estates to increase her inventory of vintage clothing for herself and furniture, appliances, and knick knacks for her clients, Madison creates original and fun interiors for a certain niche of mid-century aficionados through her business Mad for Mod.
The irony of this story is that as Madison is increasingly becoming twenty-first century digital, the high tech world is about to do her in. She finds herself juggling two boyfriends, figuratively stabbed in the back by a good friend and colleague, under investigation for murder, and competing in a design competition. The action and complications in Lover Come Hack just keep coming. The characters are interesting and will keep the reader guessing as to motivations and psychological frame of mind. The ending is a surprise, but believable. Just be ready to rent a few Doris Day movies in the aftermath of your immersion into a 50’s culture in a 21st century setting.
I would like to extend my thanks to Edelweiss and to Henery Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: #6 in the Madison Night Mystery Series. This is my first in this series, but worked well for me as a standalone.
Publication: October 30, 2018—Henery Press
As I drove home, I couldn’t help feeling like an untethered balloon. I didn’t lack direction, but the changing winds of today’s events had scrambled my emotions.
The recent rains had let up indefinitely, replaced by a post-storm glow. It was as pretty a day as any I’d experienced recently, with the exception of the black cloud over my head.
…it was far more powerful to know the truth than to live in the shadows of lies and willful ignorance.
by Jody Holford
In Deadly News, the start of a new series by Jody Holford, Molly Owens accepts the editor’s job at the Britton Bay Bulletin. Owner Alan introduces her to the staff: old-timer Vernon with an insulting attitude and nothing good to say, reserved and polite Elizabeth, lecherous Clay, and enthusiastic intern Hannah. It is immediately obvious that it will take some time to fit in, but Molly is determined.
One of the staff members is murdered and Molly feels responsible. She also thinks it is important to follow up on that reporter’s last assignment. The waters get muddied quickly as Molly follows various leads, and someone in town makes it clear she is not welcome there.
The characters are interesting, and the mystery provides a challenging puzzle to solve. Romance is thrown into the mix in the form of Sam, whose dazzling smile attracts lots of attention. There is even a cute stray dog who plays an important role in directing Molly to a clue. Molly is likable and you’ll want to see her succeed in her job…and in staying alive.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Lyrical Underground (Kensington Press) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: #1 in the Britton Bay Mystery Series
Publication: October 30, 2018—Kensington Press (Lyrical Underground)
Word of mouth was the fastest form of communication in any place with less than a dozen stoplights.
Sam’s smile made her feel like she’d just snuggled into a warm jacket on a cold day.
“We should do something fun this weekend. Do you like to camp?” Molly scrunched her nose up. “Only when I’m pretending I can’t afford a night in a hotel.”