Since I realized several months ago that my Nikki Nielsen series qualifies as “cozy,” (and maybe even before then) my taste in mysteries has shifted from gut-wrenching, head-spinning suspense (think James Patterson and Tami Hoag) to authors who imply violence and write romance that leaves something to the imagination.
I’ve raced through Laura Childs’ Tea Shop tales, struggled through a “Murder She Wrote” novel (loved the television series too much, I suppose), shivered through a Tinker’s Cove, Maine winter with Lucy Stone.
The problem with a series, of course, is the wait between installments. So I’ve taken to scouring my library shelves for new cozy authors. And that’s where I found The Plot is Murder, which launches the Mystery Bookshop series by Tennesseean V. M. Burns.
The author builds an engaging cast of characters twice in this mystery-within-a-mystery. Her amateur sleuth, Samantha Washington, lives my dream of owning and living above a mystery bookstore. Sam is a young widow, and Burns handles that aspect of the character with honesty and compassion. By the end of the book, I felt only admiration for this courageous new amateur detective and mystery author.
Burns includes excerpts from Sam’s first novel, something she works on when she’s troubled or can’t sleep. Note the parallels between the two plots and casts – they make the book even more entertaining.
And now I’m counting the days until the next Mystery Bookshop release, Red Herring Hunt, on April 24, 2018.