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Monday, April 11, 2016

Review - Crime and Poetry

Amanda Flower, an Agatha Award-nominated author and writer of Amish Quilt Shop Mysteries, has a new mystery series out, the Magical Bookshop Mysteries. Check out her guest post (click here). I loved the blurb on the book so I had to read it.  Take a little trip with me to the Niagara Falls area on New York for a little Crime and Poetry.

Author: Amanda Flower

Copyright:  April 2016 (NAL) 368 pgs

Series: 1st in Magical Bookshop Mystery series

Sensuality: Mild

Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy, mildly paranormal

Main Characters:  Violet Waverly, graduate student in American Literature PhD program

Setting: Modern day, Cascade Springs - New York

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review

Violet left Cascade Springs (near Niagara Falls) twelve years ago and swore she would never return.  Until a phone call from her beloved grandmother, on her death bed, had her racing from Chicago.  After dropping everything in her life to be with her grandmother in her dire hour, she finds grandma healthy and running her bookstore.  Seems Grandma Daisy had decided it was time for Violet to come home and assume her responsibilities in the enchanted (literally) bookstore, Charmed Books.   It’s where the perfect book tends to fly off the shelf and pick you.

Violet plans on leaving in the morning since she is in no condition to drive back immediately, no matter how tempted she is.  But, in the morning Grandma Daisy's boyfriend, Benedict Raisin, is found strangled outside the Grandma Daisy's house in his carriage.  He was  a carriage driver.  He was strangled with one of Daisy's scarves and the first officer on the scene immediately believes Daisy is the prime suspect.  

Violet must stay and ensure her grandmother is cleared.  She has to contend with her teenage boyfriend who is now mayor, the attractive Chief David Rainwater, Benedict's orphaned tuxedo cat Emerson, the resident bookshop black bird that talks, and the memories of her teenage best friend who died suddenly twelve years ago.

Wonderful characters populate this book.  Violet is easy to like and her grandmother is a rascal.  I don't think I would have let the "on death's door" ploy be dismissed so easily, though.  The old rivalry between her high school boyfriend Nathan and his brother Grant was a good added touch.  Of course both Nathan and Chief Rainwater show interest in Violet keeps the interest high.   

A great job on the setting and incorporating Niagara Falls and local historical tidbits.  The plot was interesting and the enchantment of the bookshop plus what being the official caretaker of the shop and the tree that grows inside the shop kept the pacing steady.  The killer confrontation was handled with a dose of danger and tension.  The resolution had me routing for one of the two guys maneuvering for her attention and I wanted the next book immediately.

I hadn't read the author's other series (Amish Quilt Shop) so this was a delightful discovery for me.  Everything comes together for a captivating book that hooked me.

Rating:  Near Perfect - Buy two copies: one for you and one for a friend.

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