Good Day! It is National Everything You Do is Right Day and Worldwide Quilting Day. On this day in 1926, Dr. Robert Goddard launched the world's first liquid fueled rocket. Courage of the Witch by Deanna Chase, the fifth book in Witches of Keating Hollow series, is now available (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks). Canyons, Caravans and Cadavers by Tonya Kappes releases on March 25. It is the sixth A Camper & Criminals Cozy Mystery. I wonder what Mae West is up to this time in Normal, Kentucky!
Trouble on the Books by Essie Lang is the first A Castle Bookshop Mystery. Shelby Cox returned home to Alexandria Bay, New York to help her aunt, Edie Cox, who is recovering from knee replacement surgery, with Bayside Books. Shelby has learned that she is part owner in the bookshop and will be running their new location on Blye Island inside Blye Castle. Loreena Swan, Curator of Exhibits, comes into the shop the day before the opening and complains that her guidebook is not in stock. They end up having a loud disagreement with Loreena leaving in a huff. Loreena wastes no time in complaining to Andrew Truelove, president of the Alexandria Bay Heritage Society who leases them the shop space. Later that day, Shelby is taking a walk before heading home on the ferry and finds herself in the grotto that was used in the 1920s by smugglers. Shelby soon discovers she is not alone in the grotto when she looks down to find Loreena floating in the water. When Edie’s friend and castle caretaker, Matthew Kessler becomes the prime suspect, she requests that Shelby do a little digging into the case. Shelby needs little encouragement since she has been curious about the case from the beginning especially after Special Agent Zack Griffin (US Coast Guard Investigative Services) stopped by to talk to her. She wonders if smugglers have taken to using the grotto as a hideout like Joe Cabana in the 20s. Follow Shelby as she assembles the clues to get a clear picture of Loreena’s killer in Trouble on the Books.
Trouble on the Books has an intriguing premise with a bookshop in an old castle on an island (love it). Shelby Cox is twenty-nine years old and has been working as an editor for Masspike House in Massachusetts. When Aunt Edie needs Shelby’s assistance, she takes a leave of absence and returns to Alexandria Bay. Shelby is living on a houseboat until winter and managing the new satellite location of Bayside Books on Blye Island inside the historic Blye Castle (it would have made more sense to live with Aunt Edie who needs her help getting around). I knew Loreena Swan would end up dead after the altercation with Shelby and the way she treats the volunteers at the castle. The murder occurs early in the book. There is little investigating by Shelby until later in the story when Shelby asks various people questions (people she does not know). I wish the mystery had been more of a focus with more complexity. I found it a snap to solve this crime. Shelby’s attention is split because she is determined to learn more about her mother. Her father would not discuss her mother who died when she was three, and Shelby is hoping to learn more about her from the people that knew her in town plus Edie. Shelby is searching the local cemeteries for her mother’s grave. I was curious why Shelby did not research her mother online (death certificate would pop up). The pacing of the book was lethargic which made it hard for me to stay interested. The author is a detail oriented which slowed down the pace (an example is making tea—getting the kettle, filling it with water, putting in on the stove, turning on the stove, etc.). Add in a daydreaming main character with a significant amount of internal dialogue and repetition of information. Shelby also has trouble remembering people’s names and figuring out a person’s age (makes it hard for a reader). She states she is not a people person, but Shelby is working in a bookshop frequented by tourists (an oxymoron). I felt that Trouble on the Books needed more pizzazz (oomph). The characters failed to come alive for me. We are not given many details on them which I found disappointing. I hope the characters will be fleshed out more in the next installment. I did enjoy the descriptions of the castle, island and bookshop (it sounds like a cozy space). Trouble on the Books could have benefited from further editing (there are inconsistencies). A Castle Bookshop Mystery series has potential which I hope the author will achieve.
Essie Lang aka Linda Wiken has also written A Dinner Club Mystery series. Under the non de plume of Erika Chase she has published The Ashton Corners Book Club Mysteries (I miss this series). I appreciate you visiting today and reading my review. I hope you have a day filled with joy and good books. Take care and Happy Reading!
The Avid Reader
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