Friday, December 10, 2021

How to Book a Murder by Cynthia Kuhn: Review and Giveaway!


How to Book a Murder


About How to Book a Murder

How to Book a Murder (A Starlit Bookshop Mystery) 

Perfect for fans of Jenn McKinlay and Kate Carlisle, in award-winning author Cynthia Kuhn’s series debut, small-town bookseller and literary event planner Emma Starrs is out to close the book on a killer intent on crashing the party.

To help save her family’s floundering Colorado bookstore, Starlit Bookshop, newly minted Ph.D. Emma Starrs agrees to plan a mystery-themed dinner party for her wealthy, well-connected high school classmate Tabitha Baxter. It’s a delightful evening of cocktails and conjecture until Tabitha’s husband, Tip—hosting the affair in the guise of Edgar Allan Poe’s detective C. Auguste Dupin—winds up murdered.

In a heartbeat, Emma and her aunt Nora, a famous mystery writer, become suspects. Emma is sure the party’s over for Starlit events, until celebrated author Calliope Nightfall, whose gothic sensibilities are intrigued by the circumstances, implores the bookseller to create a Poe-themed launch event for her latest tome. Throwing a bash to die for while searching for additional clues is already enough to drive Emma stark raven mad, but another shocking crime soon reveals that Silvercrest has not yet reached the final chapter of the puzzling case.

Someone in this charming artistic community has murder on the mind, and if Emma cannot outwit the killer, she and her beloved aunt will land behind bars, to walk free nevermore.

About Cynthia Kuhn

Cynthia Kuhn is an English professor and author of the Starlit Bookshop Mysteries and the Lila Maclean Academic Mysteries. Her work has also appeared in Mystery Most Edible, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Copper Nickel, Prick of the Spindle, Mama PhD, and other publications. Honors include an Agatha Award, a William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic Grant, and Lefty Award nominations. Originally from upstate New York, she lives in Colorado with her family. For more information, please visit

Author Links


Twitter: @cynthiakuhn 

My Thoughts

Dr. Emma Starrs returns home to help her sister, Lucy run the family bookstore, Starlit Bookshop.  They need an influx of cash, so Emma steps in to help mean girl Tabitha with a murder mystery dinner.  The event is a hit until Emma finds Tabitha’s husband dead on the patio.  Emma’s aunt, Nora becomes the prime suspects with Emma in line behind her.  The pair set out to find the truth.  The killer, though, is not done with their slaying.  Can Emma and Nora identify the guilty party before they end up next on the hit list?  

How to Book a Murder by Cynthia Kuhn is the debut of A Starlit Bookshop Mystery series.  There are a variety of characters in this new cozy mystery.  I liked Emma’s sister, Lucy who is a sweetie as well as Emma’s eccentric aunt, Nora.  Nora has a lively personality and I like her unique attire.  There is a large cast of characters and I found it a challenge to keep them a straight.  Emma’s high school nemesis, Tabitha and her gaggle of followers are still in town.  They are still mean (worse than in high school because now they have influence) and now they are rich.  This might be a trigger for some people who had trouble with mean individuals in high school.  The author’s descriptive writing allows readers to envision the characters and the town.  Starlit Bookstore sounded like my type of place (where you could spend hours browsing through the books).  The murder of Tabitha’s husband, Tip has Emma and Nora becoming amateur sleuths.  Tabitha is openly accusing the pair of doing the deed.  They have no choice but to search for the killer.  They have an extensive list of suspects. Nora and Emma need to whittle down the list to figure out which individual committed the crime.  It is a frustrating venture since the mean girl clique is unhelpful and spreading heinous gossip.  In the end, all the clues come together for Emma.  She needs to step carefully, or she could end up the next victim.  I wish the wrap up had been more complete.  I was left with a couple of unanswered questions at the end of the book.  It also felt more like a recitation of information.  There were two secondary characters that I thought were a hit.  The caterer, Vivi Yang is a warm, friendly, and upbeat character who creates delectable food.  I liked her and I hope we see more of her in future books. I also enjoyed Calliope Nightfall.  She is an author with a flair for the dramatic.  How to Book a Murder is blithe cozy mystery with a bewitching bookstore, office obstruction, multiple murders, a Poe party, malicious mean females, exquisite culinary cuisine, academic afflictions, and a raven reveal.
How to Book a Murder is available from Amazon, B&NKobo, Google PlayIndieBound, and Bookshop.  The next A Starlit Bookshop Mystery is In the Event of Murder which publishes August 9, 2022.  You can find Cynthia Kuhn's other novels here.  As part of the tour, the author is giving away a digital copy of How to Book a Murder and a $20 Bookshop Gift Card.  You can enter by clicking here or use the Rafflecopter form below.  Leave a comment for an extra entry.  Good Luck!  Thank you for stopping by today.  Tomorrow I am featuring The Cowboy's Amish Haven by Pamela Desmond Wright.  I hope that you have a creative day.  I am off to dig out our Christmas tree and decorations out of storage.  I am way behind on my inside decorating (I spent too much time doing the outside--I got inspired to have a snowman choir).  Take care, be kind, and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Tour Participants

 December 6 – The Book Diva's Reads – SPOTLIGHT 

December 6 – The Book's the Thing – REVIEW 

December 7 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – CHARACTER GUEST POST 

December 7 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW 

December 8 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW 

December 9 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT 

December 10 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW 
December 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW 

December 11 – Maureen's Musings - SPOTLIGHT 

December 11 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews - REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW 

December 12 – Laura's Interests – SPOTLIGHT 

December 13 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT 

December 13 – Sapphyria's Book Reviews – REVIEW 

December 14 – Christy's Cozy Corners – AUTHOR INTERVIEW 
December 14 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW 

December 15 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT

December 15 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW 

December 16 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST 

December 16 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW 

December 17 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW 
December 17 – Diane Reviews Books – GUEST POST 

December 18 – Author Elena Taylor's Blog – REVIEW 

December 19 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT 

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  1. Sounds like a great new read. Can't wait to read.

  2. Thank you for reading and hosting How to Book a Murder!