Murder Outside the Lines by Krista Davis is the 3rd A Pen & Ink Mystery. It can be read as a standalone for those new to the series. Fans of the series will be happy to finally get this new installment (we have been waiting so long). There is a great cast of characters in this engaging series. I like the variety of quirky characters with the majority of them being book lovers. Florrie Fox will need to keep her wits about her if she is to solve the latest whodunit. The book starts with the arrival of a skull and then we have the psychic who believes she saw a foot sticking out of rolled up carpet. When Florrie and her beau, Sergeant Eric Jonquille arrive at the location, they find nary a thing. On her way back to the bookstore, Florrie overhears a disturbance inside a home. When she finally gets inside, she finds one of the store’s customers bleeding out on the floor. This is just the beginning. There are plenty of incidents to keep this book hopping. This was a fun whodunit to solve. It was complex with plenty of twists, surprises, whirls, and turns. The reveal was complete and answered all of my lingering questions.Murder Outside the Lines is well-written with developed characters. I love that Florrie is not only the manager of a bookstore but that she designs adult coloring books. There are several different elements happening in the beginning of the book. It had me feeling like I was in the middle of something. I just needed to be patient. It all comes together with a great reveal. There were a few too many conversations for my liking on whether ghosts were real. It began to feel repetitious. I like that the author gave us a list of characters at the beginning so readers can reacquaint themselves with the cast (it has been some time since the last book). I enjoyed the authors descriptions of the Georgetown neighborhood, Florrie’s cozy cottage, and the bookstore. The author was able to strike a balance between too much and not enough. I like the spooky Halloween atmosphere in the story with my favorite being the skull that did not stay in one place. There are tasty recipes at the end. I look forward to Florrie’s next adventure in A Colorful Scheme. Murder Outside the Lines is an eerie cozy mystery with a screaming skull, a prophetic psychic, a disappeared rug, ghost quarrels, tasty treats, and Halloween hijinks.
The Avid Reader