Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Murder by the Book: A Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery

Murder by the Book by Lauren Elliott is the debut novel in A Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery.  Addie Greyborne has had a rough year with the murder of her fiancé and the death of her father.  Thanks to an inheritance from her great aunt, Anita Greyborne, Addie has relocated to Greyborne Harbor and is ready to open Beyond the Page Books & Curios.  Opening day begins by Addie almost getting run over by a black sedan.  After opening the bookshop, she meets Serena Chandler who owns SerenaTEA next door.  The day spirals out of control when someone uses a distraction to steal a 1961 copy of Alice in Wonderland.  Late that night, Addie awakens to a noise and finds that someone has broken into her home.  Several of the rooms have been ransacked but Addie has no clue what the thieves are after.  When her shop suffers another break in, the local shop owners are less than pleased with Addie.  The next day there is a commotion outside Fielding’s Department Store involving Serena.  She has been arrested for murdering Blain Fielding.  Addie uses her keen eye for detail and sleuthing skills from tracking down rare books and artwork to expose the guilty party behind this nefarious plot.  Can Addie clear Serena of the murder charges?  Come along for the investigation in Murder by the Book.
Murder by the Book is a book full of action.  It starts off with a bang with a car almost running down Addie.  Addie has lost her fiancé, father and a great aunt in one year.  She leaves her job at the Boston Library to start over in Greyborne Harbor.  In her new home, Greyborne Manor she discovers numerous books which gives her the idea to open a used bookstore.  Then someone starts breaking into her home and shop.  We are left wondering what the thieves are trying to locate.  Then there is the murder and slowly more details are revealed.  The mystery is complex yet simple at the same time.  There are hidden rooms, rare books, a secret staircase, a black sedan, and unknown thieves.  Some details/clues are provided as the story progresses, but others come to light just before the reveal with the remainder explained at the end.  I would have liked more clues interspersed throughout the book to allow a reader to play sleuth along with Addie (the best part of a mystery is solving it).  Most readers, though, will have no problem identifying the guilty party.  Addie quickly becomes friends with Serena and her new employee, Paige.  I thought the relationships developed too quickly.  It seems Serena became Addie’s instant friend and she trusts Paige despite her disagreeable mother.  For some reason, the bakery owner, Martha has taken a disliking to Addie.  We are not given Martha’s last name, the name of her establishment or why she dislikes Addie.  Actually, very little information is provided on Greyborne Harbor.  Addie has been in town three months and seems to have met no one.  A prequel to the series would have been beneficial or the author should have started the series with Addie receiving her inheritance.  I loved the description of Addie’s Queen Anne Victorian.  It sounds beautiful inside and out (period details with antique furnishing including a desk with hidden compartments).  I would like to know more about Addie (her growing up years).  I appreciated her enthusiasm for books and knowledge of rare books. I hope the author lets the romance build slowly between Addie and Marc especially since Addie is not over her fiancé.  I enjoyed reading Murder by the Book.  It captured and held my interest which few books have done recently.  My rating for Murder by the Book is 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it).  I thought it was a delightful beginning to A Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery series, and I look forward to reading Prologue to Murder (April 30, 2019). 

Thank you for joining me today.  I will be sharing my review of Thread Herrings by Lea Wait tomorrow as part of the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour.   I hope you have a fun yet safe Halloween.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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