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Murder by the Book–rare books

Murder by the Book

by Lauren Elliott

Murder by the BookIf 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.

Rating: 4/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: #1 in the Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery Series

Publication:   October 30, 2018—Kensington Press

When the Grits Hit the Fan–cozy mystery with a touch of thriller

When the Grits Hit the Fan

by Maddie Day

When the Grits Hit the FanThere is a little initial background, setting the scene for small town Indiana with a country store/café, Pans ‘N Pancakes, that appeals to both tourists and locals. We meet many of the characters as described through the eyes of owner Robbie Jordan. Only a few chapters into When the Grits Hit the Fan, a crime is discovered. The storyline moves along well, as any good cozy mystery should, until about one-third of the way into the book. Then, hold on to your hat! The plot becomes twisted and tangled, the tension increases exponentially, and you won’t want to put this book down.

If you are a “foodie,” you will enjoy the culinary descriptions, but they at no time overpower the mystery. Recipes are a bonus at the end of the book, including one shared by Georgeanne Ross, the Original Grit Girl, whose ground corn products are highly sought out by chefs and restauranteurs across the country.

Interesting characters and setting, suspense, a little romance, food, and Indiana dialogue combine into a cozy mystery you won’t want to miss!

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.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: This is the third book in the Country Store Mystery Series, but it worked well for me as a standalone. I am looking forward to the next book in the series, Biscuits and Slashed Browns, but I was unable to locate the anticipated publication date.

Publication:  March 28, 2017–Kensington Books

Memorable Lines:

A lot of people my age mostly read on their tablets, but I liked the heft of a real book in my hands, another way I was an anachronism in my generation. The smell of the paper, the crack of the binding, even the cover art–all of it appealed to me.

As usually happened, the repetitive motion of physical work, whether removing rubble or preparing biscuit dough, freed up my mind to work through problems.

My California upbringing had not included the simple mesmerizing joy of watching white stuff fall from the sky. Whether a steady straight-down storm like this one or a howling blizzard, I never tired of gazing at it. And I’d seen all forms in my four years in Indiana. I put on the outside lights so the flakes glistened in the illumination like fairies dancing. A gust of wind made them twirl and swirl before returning to their steady descent.

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