Happy Friday, friends!
Today I’m delighted to bring you my review of a cozy mystery by author V.M. Burns! Bookmarked for Murder is book #5 in her Mystery Bookshop series, which is considered a ‘clean read’ in the trusty cozy mystery formula of no excessive profanity and nothing explicit. Plus, I mean, it’s set in a BOOKSTORE so how can you go wrong? 😉
Bonus points: it can easily be read as a standalone
ABOUT THE BOOK
Amateur sleuth Samantha Washington’s shopping trip to Chicago takes a deadly detour when a man is murdered on her bus . . .
After some post-Christmas retail therapy in the Windy City, mystery bookshop owner and historical whodunit novelist Sam Washington is returning home to North Harbor, Michigan, on a chartered bus. With Nana Jo and her gal pals Irma, Dorothy, and Ruby Mae from Shady Acres Retirement Village along for the ride, it’s a lively trip. But one passenger is not so lively—a gentleman Irma befriended is found dead in his seat after an unscheduled stop. The ladies immediately shift gears to find out who punched his ticket, while Sam slips into the driver’s seat to make sure Nana Jo and her crew steer clear of fatal conclusions . . .
The Mystery Bookshop series is quickly becoming one of my fave cozy series, and the latest installment – Bookmarked for Murder – reminds me why. Witty, sweet, clean, and smartly written, it’s also lots of fun!
The delightful cast of characters is back and just as quirky as ever (Irma, I’m looking at you…), and they are definitely a big part of what makes the book so entertaining and endearing. I love Nana Jo & her Shady Acres gang of senior sleuths (picture a sort of Golden Girls ensemble cast), and Samantha is a strong protagonist that readers can easily relate to. These characters just make me smile as I get to know them, and add in the mystery bookstore setting & I’m a happy reader.
The mystery in Bookmarked for Murder is full of twists and turns and red herrings, as any good cozy should be. How it comes about is rather unique right from the beginning & that makes investigating it a little trickier than normal for Sam. There’s also an adorable little girl with a compelling story who will capture your emotion, adding an extra layer of heart to the plot.
As always, I love the mystery within a mystery that shows up when Sam works on her historical cozy mystery that I enjoy just as much as the current timeline’s story. It’s clear Burns has versatile talent, and this element to the story elevates this series a notch above other cozies. Readers get two-in-one, after all!
Bottom Line: Bookmarked for Murder thoroughly entertains and holds readers’ interest from beginning to end. The mystery itself is well-crafted and layered, and the characters are as well. Sam & Nana Jo & the Shady Acres sleuths are lots of fun, and I love the close community of family and friends that Sam has established around her mystery bookshop. You can’t go wrong with this series, and Bookmarked for Murder is even better than the last!
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
All views expressed are only my honest opinion.
This review first appeared on Reading Is My SuperPower
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. Readers can learn more by visiting her website at vmburns.com
Do you like cozy mysteries?
If you could run a bookstore, what genre would you focus on?