Series: Booklovers B&B #1
Published by Crooked Lane Books on August 11, 2020
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Format: Kindle or ebook
Source: the publisher through NetGalley
Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository | Bookshop | Barnes & Noble
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Also by this author: Shelved Under Murder, A Murder for the Books, Past Due for Murder, A Deadly Edition
From the critically acclaimed author of SIBA Okra Pick A Murder for the Books, Victoria Gilbert embarks with a new series for perfect for fans of Kate Carlisle and Juliet Blackwell.
A book lover's B&B in an idyllic waterfront village becomes the scene of a grisly murder--and a ruthless battle between treachery and the truth.
Nestled in the historic waterfront town of Beaufort, North Carolina, Chapters Bed-and-Breakfast is a reader's paradise. Built in 1770, the newly renovated inn hosts a roster of special events celebrating books, genres, and authors. It's the perfect literary retreat--until a rare book dealer turns up dead in the carriage house during a celebration of Golden Age mystery author Josephine Tey.
The victim's daughter points the finger at forty-two-year-old widow and former schoolteacher Charlotte Reed, who inherited the B&B from her great-aunt Isabella. Charlotte is shocked to discover that the book dealer suspected Isabella of being a thief who founded Chapters on her ill-gotten gains. Charlotte has successfully learned the B&B business in a year, but nothing has prepared her to handle a death on the premises.
Armed with intelligence and courage and assisted by her vibrant older neighbor, a visiting author, and members of a local book club, Charlotte is determined to prove her innocence and to clear her great-aunt's name. But the murderer is still at large, and equally determined to silence anyone who might discover the truth behind the book dealer's death. Now, Charlotte must outwit an unknown killer--or end up writing her own final chapter.
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
The start of an engaging new series!
What mystery lover wouldn’t enjoy a week with other booklovers at a coastal South Carolina B&B, celebrating the works of Josephine Tey with book discussions of Brat Farrar and other mysteries, and a costumed medieval feast in honor of Tey’s most famous book, The Daughter of Time? Innkeeper Charlotte Reed finds herself hosting not only a number of Tey fans, but also murder, when philandering Lincoln Delamont turns up dead in the carriage house of Chapters, her B&B.
Charlotte is an engaging narrator: a 42-year-old widow who inherited the B&B from her single, well-off, and somewhat mysterious great-aunt Isabella. Blessed—or cursed—with curiosity and a sharp mind, Charlotte begins to investigate Lincoln’s death mainly to ease her suspicions about her friends and the guests staying at Chapters. There are plenty of suspects, quite a few of whom seem to have had a motive for Lincoln’s death. So many, in fact, that at one time or another I suspected nearly everyone, with the exception of Charlotte and her neighbor’s Yorkie, Shandy. This being the first book, and my first introduction to the series’ likely “regulars” as well as the paying guests, I found it helpful to write out a “cast of characters” as each one was introduced, just so I could keep track of who was who.
Ms. Gilbert serves up a nicely balanced cozy mystery, with a plausible reason for Charlotte’s involvement. There’s also a side plot involving Great-Aunt Isabella’s mysterious past, and just enough description to make the setting (Beaufort, South Carolina) seem real, without overdoing it. The author also handles the mystery deftly, juggling suspects and clues and keeping most of the balls in the air until the denouement.
Nonetheless, one of the drawbacks of reading as many mysteries as I have is that you start to know which clues to pay especial attention to. This time, I pegged the culprit shortly before the half-way mark… although I kept my mind open in case I was wrong.
I’m a big fan of Victoria Gilbert’s Blue Ridge Library mysteries, and I’ll be following this series with interest, as well. I particularly enjoyed Charlotte, whom I suspect of being smarter and more daring than she knows. I look forward to seeing what Ms. Gilbert concocts for Charlotte’s next mystery!
Note: Booked for Death will be released on August 11, 2020, but you can preorder it now! Just click the buy links in the book details at the top of this page. I am not an affiliate of any of the retailers listed, so I don’t receive any fee or percentage; the links are just there for your convenience.
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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- COYER Quarantine Edition (2020)