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Ratings and Book Reviews (5 5 star ratings
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    First in a new series

    What would you do if a family member gave you a financial windfall? When Delta’s grandmother gives her some money rather than waiting for her to inherit it, she has some choices to make on how to spend it. So she quit her job and moved to Tundish. Montana to become her friend’s business partner at Wanted, a stationery and paper crafting store. Wanting her grandmother to see the return on her investment, Delta is eager to share pictures and updates to document her progress. But as soon as she arrives in town, her business partner is thrown in jail when she lies to protect her brother who is arrested for murder at a swanky party at the local hotel. Definitely not the story she wanted to share with her grandmother, but knowing she will see it eventually, she decides to tell her grandmother the truth. Soon Delta and the Paper Posse, the local crafting group, are hard at work trying to clear Hazel and her brother and find the real murderer. Old West ambiance adds to the charm of this new series and delivers a solid first entry. Looking forward to the next visit to Tundish!
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    Not quite there for me

    I have read other books by this author and really enjoyed them! Sadly, this one just really didn't work for me. There were aspects of the conversations that left me asking, "Would I really confide such personal information to a total stranger, to someone who has just arrived in town?" The end of the story came rather suddenly and felt a little predictable. The emotions and actions also felt a little at odds from the circumstances the main character found herself in. I am grateful to Netgalley, the publisher and the author for my advanced copy to review.
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    Debut of A Stationery Shop Mystery series

    Last Pen Standing by Vivian Conroy is the first book in A Stationery Shop Mystery series. Delta Douglas had been working as a graphic designer at an ad agency until she received a sizable check from her Gran on her thirtieth birthday. It allowed her to make her dream come true of owning a stationery shop where she can use her sketches to create a line of products. Delta invests in her best friend’s shop, Wanted in Tundish, Montana (the town with a heart of gold). While Delta is prepared for the creative aspects of the job, she seems to be lacking in business knowledge (or even how to run a cash register). When a dead body is found at Lodge Hotel, Sheriff West is quick to arrest Hazel’s brother, Finn. He also has Hazel spend the night in the jail because she lied. Sheriff West is portrayed as a small town know-it-all who seems to take rumors as fact (and plays fast and loose with the law). There are several viable suspects and I love how the author led us down the wrong path a time or two. Jonas Nord, a wildlife photographer and ex-cop, is drafted by Delta to help clear Hazel and Finn. Jonas is accompanied by Spud, a former K-9 dog, who has a good sniffer. Delta is also aided by the Paper Posse which is a group of crafters who live and work in town with Wild West nicknames (like Calamity Jane). I wish the author had taken the time to give us Delta’s background so we could get to know her. There are tidbits dropped here and there, but I wanted a more solid history so I could get to know Delta. We are also lacking details on Tundish and the Paper Posse. While reading Last Pen Standing you will need to suspend your disbelief now and then (an example is holding someone in jail overnight because they lied). My mother claimed I was overthinking things (maybe), so I will let you form your own opinion. There were some slow sections that I found myself speed reading to get through. Last Pen Standing has an interesting idea with a stationery shop housed in an old west type jail. I found Jonas to be a likeable character along with Mrs. Cassidy who runs the Paper Posse. I hope we learn more about Delta in the next book along with creating a line of products based on her designs. Last Pen Standing is a satisfying debut cozy mystery with endearing erasers, a villainous victim, glistening glitter, rogue rumors, a senseless sheriff and a determined designer.
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    Well-Plotted with Suspects-a-Plenty!

    I have read a fair amount of 'cosy' mysteries over the years; I'm happy to say this one is different altogether! Delta Douglas has packed up and moved to Tundish, Montana, having become part owner of a stationery shop - with a difference. As well as stocking all manner of paper craft goodies, there are also workshops to encourage their customers to make full use of the materials available. Arriving in time for the first evening workshop, Delta is shocked when a dead body is discovered at a nearby glittering event and, as her new partner is under suspicion, she cannot stop herself from investigating .. with a little help from her new friend Jonas and his dog. As I've come to expect from the author, this is a well-plotted tale with plenty of characters and, yes, suspects a-plenty! With a whole town to get acquainted with there are a great mix of characters to meet, each with their own idiosyncrasies. Set in a picturesque locations, I can see there will be lots of scope to expand this series. As you would expect, there are plenty of lighter moments and I just adored the nicknames of the 'Paper Posse'. The store is quirky and easily imaginable from the descriptions, and I'm already looking forward to the next in series. Nothing to complain about here, and I can find no reason not to award this one a full house of stars, with a recommendation to all lovers of good cosy mysteries to add this one to their list without delay!
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    Interesting!

    cozy-mystery, excop, small-business, small-town, friendship, women-sleuths Delta comes to small town Montana to get out of her rut and make her dream come true by partnering with her friend in operating a stationery store and giving classes. Just after the first class a rather wealthy woman with local connections is murdered and the friend's brother seems to be railroaded as primary suspect. Enter a former K9 handler/wildlife guide/photographer, a group of other shop owners who also want the right suspect arrested, and a substantial suspect pool. Let the sleuthing begin! Good plot complete with twists and red herrings. A good read! I requested and received a free ebook copy from Poisoned Pen Press via NetGalley.
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