For Whom the Book Tolls: An Antique Bookshop Mystery

For Whom the Book Tolls: An Antique Bookshop Mystery #1 by Laura Gail Black 

After some nasty business back home in Charlotte, Jenna receives an invitation from her Uncle Paul to come live with him and work at his bookstore.  When she finds Paul dead, crumpled at the bottom of a staircase, Jenna finds out she has inherited everything, putting her under suspicion.  Determined to clear her name and to start over again, Jenna starts investigating to find a killer.

Excellent start to a new series, with lots of twists and turns to throw you off the trail. I really liked Jenna and love the small town of Hokes Folly (I’d love to go stay at that inn!). There was plenty going on in this book, between Jenna’s troubles in Charlotte to finding her uncle dead and inheriting the bookstore to a man trying to usurp her inheritance and then winding up dead himself and it kept the pace moving quickly. The plot was very well done, I went back and forth between suspects throughout the book, so the ending was a bit of a surprise, but satisfying.

My only minus to this story is Sutter. I feel like the whole “bad cop” trope in cozy mysteries has been done to death; as a device to add tension to a story, all it manages to do is annoy me so much, I start flipping pages. And really Jenna, if you’ve already been falsely accused and arrested for a serious crime once, wouldn’t you realize that talking to a hostile detective without a lawyer present isn’t a good idea? And it takes her what, 3 times to do it? *sigh* Get it together, Jenna!

Overall, an excellent start to a new series and I look forward to reading more from Jenna and Hokes Folly.

Release Date: September 8, 2020

Little Bookshop of Murder

 Little Bookshop of Murder: A Beach Reads Mystery #1  by Maggie Blackburn

50253341. sy475 Summer is not having a good summer. After a minor scandal has her scurrying off to England to spend some time researching Shakespeare for an academic paper, she has to rush back home to North Carolina when her mother dies suddenly of a heart attack. Arriving back home in the small town she thought she’d left behind forever, Summer begins to suspect that her mother’s death wasn’t natural and after failing to convince the town’s police chief to investigate, takes on the challenge herself with her aunt and cousins. Can Summer uncover the truth before she ends up a victim in her own tragedy?

I saw this on Netgalley and couldn’t resist snagging it.  I really enjoyed this, equal parts engaging, heartbreaking, exciting, and heartwarming. Summer and her family are likeable and the story was rich in detail, making the setting and the characters seem so realistic it was like being there. But that came at the expense of the pacing, which lagged a bit in the middle and there was a fair amount of rehashing. I liked how organically and realistically Summer set out to investigate, especially when she followed in the footsteps of her mother’s last day. Took her a bit longer to see whodunit than it did me (and I thought the motive was a bit shaky) but that twisty, action-packed reveal and the surprise twist at the very end wrapped everything up nicely and left me wanting more.

Publication Date: September 8, 2020