1st in Series
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (September 8, 2020)
Digital ASIN: B0818ZX2NY
Summer Merriweather's career as a Shakespeare professor hangs by a bookbinder's thread. Academic life at her Virginia university is a viper's pit, so Summer spends her summer in England, researching a scholarly paper that, with any luck, will finally get her published, impress the Dean, and save her job. But her English idyll ends when her mother, Hildy, shuffles off her mortal coil from an apparent heart attack.
Returning to Brigid's Island, NC, for the funeral, Summer is impatient to settle the estate, sell her mom's embarrassingly romance-themed bookstore, Beach Reads, and go home. But as she drops by Beach Reads, Summer finds threatening notes addressed to Hildy: "Sell the bookstore or die."
Clearly, something is rotten on Brigid's Island. What method is behind the madness? Was Hildy murdered? The police insist there's not enough evidence to launch a murder investigation. Instead, Summer and her Aunt Agatha screw their courage to the sticking place and start sleuthing, with the help of Hildy's beloved book club. But there are more suspects on Brigid's Island than are dreamt of in the Bard's darkest philosophizing. And if Summer can't find the villain, the town will be littered with a Shakespearean tragedy's worth of corpses—including her own.
As she awaits the results of Hildy’s autopsy, Summer and her family search for answers, despite the police chief’s assertion that there is no evidence of a crime. Summer soon discovers that Hildy received several offers for her bookstore, as well as threats if she refused to sell. And now Summer, the bookstore's heir apparent, is receiving similar threats. Is this the key to unlocking the mystery of Hildy’s death?
Little Bookshop of Murder is an engaging read beyond the elements of the murder mystery it presents. Its setting and characters add massive appeal factors. Notably, there’s the relatable recounting of the mother-daughter relationship between Hildy, a single mother and Summer, who doesn’t know the identity of her father. Their bond has always been strong, even though their life choices have led them down different paths. They were always supportive of each other, although as a Shakespeare scholar and college professor, Summer is a bit of a book snob. She’s proud of her mother’s creation, yet embarrassed by its inventory.
Hildy’s shop is the heart and soul of Little Bookshop of Murder, a popular tourist attraction and welcoming place just steps from the beach, and filled to the brim with romance and mystery novels, mermaid art, and author signatures on its walls and floors. This is the hub for the book’s literally colorful cast of characters, including women of a certain age with pink hair, floral tattoos, and vibrant eyeglass frames. There’s also a congenial book group—the Mermaid Pie Book Club—populated by many of these same women, whose warmth and moral support help Summer through vulnerable moments as she seeks closure related to her mother’s death and confronts her current career crisis. They are also witnesses to her flair for running the bookshop and evolving appreciation of the popular fiction Summer formerly thought of as inferior to the literature of her educational background.
In this first book of a delightful new series, Author Maggie Blackburn has created an inviting environment in which she has planted promising seeds for future story development. One can’t help but wonder what the future holds for Professor Summer Merriweather, her family and friends, and the residents of Brigid’s Island.
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Thanks so much for such a thoughtful review!ReplyDelete