Review: Murder by the Book by Lauren Elliott

Review: Murder by the Book by Lauren Elliott
Murder by the Book by Lauren Elliott

Published by Kensington on October 30, 2018
Series: Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery #1
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Mystery
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: NetGalley

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I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley.

Addie Greyborne loved working with rare books at the Boston Public Library—she even got to play detective, tracking down clues about mysterious old volumes. But she didn't expect her sleuthing skills to come in so handy in a little seaside town . . .

Addie left some painful memories behind in the big city, including the unsolved murder of her fiancé and her father's fatal car accident. After an unexpected inheritance from a great aunt, she's moved to a small New England town founded by her ancestors back in colonial times—and living in spacious Greyborne Manor, on a hilltop overlooking the harbor. Best of all, her aunt also left her countless first editions and other treasures—providing an inventory to start her own store.

But there's trouble from day one, and not just from the grumpy woman who runs the bakery next door. A car nearly runs Addie down. Someone steals a copy of Alice in Wonderland. Then, Addie's friend Serena, who owns a nearby tea shop, is arrested—for killing another local merchant. The police seem pretty sure they've got the story in hand, but Addie's not going to let them close the book on this case without a fight . . .

Murder by the Book by Lauren Elliott sounded like the perfect read for me: a small-town cozy mystery that takes place in a bookshop. But I struggled with the writing as well as some very important plot points and I almost DNFed, but decided to stick with it. Unfortunately, the story didn’t get any better for me by the end.

Addie Greyborne previously specialized in rare books at the British Museum and Boston Library. Following a string of tragedies—her fiancé’s murder, her father’s fatal car crash, and the death of her great aunt—Addie relocates to the small town that her ancestors helped found.

An inheritance from her aunt leaves Addie with a sizable rare book collection, allowing Addie to open her own bookshop. She quickly makes friends with Serena, owner of the tea shop—and makes fast enemies with Martha, the crotchety bakery owner.

When a local man turns up dead, Serena is arrested. But Addie is determined to prove her new friend’s innocence. Interesting premise, but it’s the execution that I had issues with.

Addie is a good friend of the number one murder suspect. In addition, Addie is getting flirty with the police chief Marc, who’s also Serena’s brother. So no only does Marc arrest his own sister, but also he’s kept on the case…? How is this allowed?

Worse yet, throughout the investigation, Marc feeds Addie information about an active murder investigation. I’m no cop, but I’m pretty sure that’s…illegal. He even allows Addie access to active crime scenes AND gives her permission to remove evidence from one!

Lastly (and this is purely a stylistic gripe from me), but the characters in this book wink entirely too much. It happens in nearly every chapter.

Excessive winking aside, I really couldn’t get on board with the procedural inaccuracies/tampering of evidence/crime scene contamination. The central mystery became secondary for me, and unfortunately I just didn’t enjoy this. Murder by the Book is book #1 in the Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery series; sadly, I won’t be reading the next book.

Rating: 2 stars


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