Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Great Escapes Blog Tour, Review, and Giveaway: The Novel Art of Murder by V.M. Burns


Today I'm participating in the The Novel Art of Murder Blog Tour.  In this post you will find book and author information along with my review.

About the book . . .
  The Novel Art of Murder (Mystery Bookshop)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Kensington (November 27, 2018)
Paperback: 256 pages
ISBN-10: 1496711858
ISBN-13: 978-1496711854
Digital ASIN: B07B7B4C8Q

Synopsis . . . Mystery bookstore owner Samantha Washington is trying to keep her grandmother from spending her golden years in an orange jumpsuit . . .

The small town of North Harbor, Michigan, is just not big enough for the two of them: flamboyant phony Maria Romanov and feisty Nana Jo. The insufferable Maria claims she’s descended from Russian royalty and even had a fling with King Edward VIII back in the day. She’s not just a lousy liar, she’s a bad actress, so when she nabs the lead in the Shady Acres Senior Follies—a part Nana Jo plays every year in their retirement village production—Nana Jo blows a gasket and reads her the riot act in front of everyone.

Of course, when Maria is silenced with a bullet to the head, Nana Jo lands the leading role on the suspects list. Sam’s been writing her newest mystery, set in England between the wars, with her intrepid heroine Lady Daphne drawn into murder and scandal in the household of Winston Churchill. But now she has to prove that Nana Jo’s been framed. With help from her grandmother’s posse of rambunctious retirees, Sam shines a spotlight on Maria’s secrets, hoping to draw the real killer out of the shadow.

My review . . . In the latest installment of the Mystery Bookshop series, bookstore owner Samantha "Sam" Washington must clear the name of her grandmother Nana Jo, the prime suspect in the murder of Maria Romanov.  When Romanov, who recently secured the lead part in the Shady Acres Senior Follies play--the role Nana Jo has held for the last 10 years--dies from a bullet wound, the police turn their attention to Nana Jo, who is well known for her marksmanship.  After all, the feisty Nana Jo had publicly declared her displeasure at losing the starring role.

While Sam and Nana Jo's band of loyal, eccentric friends begin to investigate the crime, a second resident of the Shady Acres Retirement Village turns up dead.  Not much is known about Magnus von Braun, but his unexpected demise under suspicious circumstances raises questions about whether the two murders are related.  Are there unknown factors that tie the two victims to each other, or is more than one killer on the loose in sleepy North Harbor, Michigan?

Sam and Nana Jo's supporters are more than up to the task of discovering clues based on the research they conduct.  However, putting the pieces together to clear Nana Jo proves challenging.  Sam once again uses her writing skills as a budding mystery author to process both the clues and her thoughts, which ultimately leads to solving the murders.

In the Mystery Bookshop series, Burns has established a cozy bookstore setting and team of close-knit family members and friends.  Rounding out the cast of characters are Sam's two faithful poodles, Snickers and Oreo, who are prominently displayed on the series' book covers.  A major distinctive feature of the series is the "novel within a novel" technique, which has Sam writing cozy murder mysteries set in England between the two world wars.  It is thus that readers are actually following the developments in two murder mysteries--one in the present day and one in Edwardian times. The result is a satisfying experience for cozy mystery fans.

Giveaway . . . Enter the The Novel Art of Murder giveaway by clicking on this link.

About the author . . .
V.M. Burns was born in Northwestern Indiana and spent many years in Southwestern Michigan on the Lake Michigan shoreline. She is a lover of dogs, British historic cozies, and scones with clotted cream. After many years in the Midwest, she went in search of milder winters and currently lives in Eastern Tennessee with her poodles. Her debut novel, The Plot is Murder was nominated for a 2017 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and a lifetime member of  Sisters in Crime.

Author links . . .
Website:     http://www.vmburns.com/
Twitter:      @vmburns

Purchase links . . .

Tour participants . . .

January 30 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
January 30 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
January 31 – Laura`s Interests – REVIEW, GUEST POST
January 31 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 1 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
February 1 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
February 1 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – REVIEW
February 2 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW
February 2 – Mythical Books – SPOTLIGHT
February 2 – The Editing Pen – GUEST POST
February 3 – Babs Book Bistro – GUEST POST
February 4 – The Layaway Dragon – REVIEW
February 5 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW  
February 5 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
February 5 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 6 – Rae’s Books and Recipes – SPOTLIGHT
February 6 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST
February 6 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 7 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT
February 7 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST
February 7 – Jody’s Book Reviews, Book Tours & Giveaways – SPOTLIGHT
February 8 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
February 8 – Readeropolis – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 8 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW
February 9 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
February 9 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT
February 10 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 10 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
Note . . . I received a complimentary copy of The Novel Art of Murder from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This Blog Tour, Review, and Giveaway post was originally composed and/or compiled and published by Catherine for the blog, bookclublibrarian.com.  It cannot be republished without attribution.  Sharing this original post on Twitter and/or other blogs with appropriate recognition is appreciated. 


  1. This is something I'd enjoy reading. Great review Catherine.

    1. The series is a fun read, Margot. Hope you get the chance to try it.

  2. Met the author last year and she was a lot of fun to talk to. I have the first book, as yet unread, but I need to get moving on it because this is #3. Wow! Great job by this author!

  3. Lucky you, Kay! All the fun you had at last year's Malice Domestic conference have put it on my radar screen for this year. If all goes according to plan, I'll be there!

    1. Oh good! Sadly, I won't get to go this year or rather I'm choosing not to go. I'm going with my husband to a conference he attends each year that is taking place in Colorado. I'm excited and will do a series of blog posts about it afterwards. Malice is a fun, fun conference and there are lots of friendly people there. Enjoy! Maybe we'll cross paths another year...

    2. Enjoy your "alternate" travels. I'm sure you'll have some interesting things to post. Maybe 2020 will be our year to connect at MD!

  4. That first line of the synopsis... I love it. Haha. I love the sound of this series. I need to read it!