Mystery Books for Sale

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by Ellery Adams
Kensington, January 2020
224 pages
ISBN: 1496712439

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Ellery Adams continues to impress with her unique version of a cozy mystery. Yes, there is a mystery to be solved but the story is much richer as told through Adams' skill creating characters, relationships and interesting situations.

At the core of each book is a group of four women – Nora, Hester, Estella and June – who share their secrets, forming the Secret, Book & Scone Society to support each other and lend a hand in their community, Miracle Springs, when they can.

Consider the various story threads wending through this series' third book: a young man in a white t-shirt appears, then disappears and no one knows who he is; Sheldon Vega, an older man, enters Miracle Books and offers to help part-time after assessing Nora's situation and mood; Patti and Lou are renovating The Inn of Mist & Roses, a property with a fascinating and relevant history; a brick thrown through the bookshop's front window presents an interesting opportunity; how Nora's practice of bibliotherapy works ; why Estella is about to lose her business; and Nora finds Cherokee Danny's dead body floating down the river.

The four women's personal stories ground each book – their relationships with each other and the new relationships they develop through the book's subplots. The difficulty discussing situations in the book is in not giving too much away in the review. For instance, the young man in the white t-shirt throws a brick that totally takes out the front window of Miracle Books. But a very imaginative Sheldon creates a provocative display around the idea of banned books that results in good business. And the young man's story goes even deeper as more is revealed. Sheldon also suggests ways Estella might improve her business after understanding the challenges she currently faces.

Ellery Adams creates a cozy that is more complicated than most and relies on well-developed, complex characters, smart dialogue and a reliable pace to keep readers totally engaged.

Note: Readers will enjoy this series more if the books are read in order of publication.

§ Ruth Castleberry has worked as an investigator for Pinkerton’s, a city desk assistant on the Charlotte News, free-lance writer, marketing/business strategy consultant, competitive intelligence practitioner and digital marketing consultant.

Reviewed by Ruth Castleberry, February 2020

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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