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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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3.9 out of 5
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  • Painful

    I love a good cozy and mostly pick decent reads based on their brief overviews. However there are times that a book doesn’t meet the mark and this is one of those times. It just drags on, doesn’t have a solid mystery because you figure out whodunit easily. Sadly I have a list of a few authors I pass on and the list just received an addition.

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  • I really liked it!

    amateur-sleuth, professor, murder, arson, theft, family-dynamics, friendship, small-town, small-business, law-enforcement***** Summer is a Shakespearean scholar and professor who has returned to her former home on a North Carolina island to bury her mother who died totally unexpectedly. At her mother's bookshop she meets some of the people who meant much to her as well as her own aunt and cousins. The police call the death a coronary, but there are inconsistencies including threatening notes followed by a burglary at the shop, arson at the house while Summer sleeps, and later she was pushed and sustained a severe concussion. The police chief has a closed mind on the subject and the tox screen seems to take forever. Meanwhile Summer has a good deal of angst about so many things including her career. The mystery is quite well done, and the supporting characters are very well done. It's the main character who seems a little two-dimensional, partly because most non-academics don't realize the importance of things like Publish or Perish or how difficult things can still be for a woman in a field dominated by men. And still, image is everything in Academia. Basically, I really liked it! I requested and received a free ebook copy from Crooked Lane Books via NetGalley. Thank you!

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  • hard to stay interested

    I am voluntarily posting an honest review after reading an advance reader copy of this story. Little Bookshop Of Murder, by Maggie Blackburn, is available at booksellers on 9-8-2020. It's book one in new Beach Reads Mystery series. I wish I had a more positive review to give but...I almost didn't finish and skipped around missing a bunch of chapters. If the characters had stopped having conversations, internal & external, about the same thing over and over the book would be a novella. The main female character was very hard to like. Her Aunt Agatha was more loveable and the African Grey parrot was a lovey dove. #Netgalley #MaggieBlackburn #LittleBookshopOfMurder #BeachReadsMystery #CrookedLaneBooks

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  • Debut of A Beach Reads Mystery series

    Little Bookshop of Murder by Maggie Blackburn has Summer Merriweather returning home to Brigid’s Island, North Carolina after the death of her mother. Summer does not believe that her healthy mother suddenly dropped dead from a heart attack. Summer receives a threatening note the day of the funeral and learns her mother had been receiving them as well. Something wicked has come into their lives and Summer intends to get answers. Little Bookshop of Murder is the debut of A Beach Reads Mystery series. Summer Merriweather is a professor of Shakespearean Literature at a university in Virginia. She has been in England doing research for her latest book (publish or perish). She returns home just in time for her mother’s funeral. Summer is dubious from the beginning at the cause of her mother’s death. The police, though, cannot act without proof. So, Summer with help from her family sets out to get the truth. There is a large cast of characters that includes Summer, her cousin, her aunt, the chief of police, fire chief, and members of the Mermaid Pie Book Club. I would like to see the characters fleshed out. They felt a little flat except for Mr. Darcy, the chatty African Grey parrot. There are various incidents that help propel the story forward and reinforce the belief that Summer’s mother may have been killed by a duplicitous individual. The suspect list is small and there are distinctive clues. The killer can easily be identified long before Summer solves the case. I hope the author ups her game in the next book. I enjoyed the vivid descriptions of Beach Reads, the bookshop owned by Summer’s mother. It sounded like a haven for book lovers except for the smell of patchouli. There were some side stories like Summer’s spider phobia that never really went anywhere. I expected at least one spider episode. There is some foul language in this cozy. I am curious as to what changes Summer plans for Beach Reads which specializes in romances. I also wonder if Summer will find romance with a certain handsome fire chief. Little Bookshop of Murder transports readers to Brigid’s Island where there is a fluent fowl, a dubious death, a beautiful beach bungalow, a curious cousin, a flock of food, and one Shakespearean scholar turned sleuth.

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  • A Super Series Opener!

    I always look forward to starting a brand new cosy mystery series and this first instalment, Little Bookshop of Murder written by Maggie Blackburn certainly lived up to my expectations! The reader soon meets the star of the show, Summer Merriweather, who has temporarily waved goodbye to her life in Virginia as a Literature Professor specialising in Shakespeare and is currently working in England for the summer on a research project. She is hoping to impress her Dean, hoping to get her work published, thereby saving her job. However, she receives some sad news and must return to her hometown of Brigid's Island, North Carolina, as her mum, Hildy has died. Back on Brigid's Island, Summer wants to tie up all of the loose ends pertaining to Hildy's estate as quickly as possible, including selling the family shop, 'Beach Reads' but once there she finds some notes containing death threats... I thought this was a magnificent, really solid start to the series. I enjoyed Maggie Blackburn's characterisation of Summer. With a distinct lack of interest coming from the police, Summer was forced into doing some investigative work of her own and the outspoken, analytically-minded Summer was portrayed as being rather snobbish, preferring the classics over her mum's romance reads. This made for a refreshingly different main character than I generally find in a cozy novel. The author also laid the foundations of a cast of friends and others who offered their help including Aunt Agatha, and a circle of book club members, all adding a touch of fun and comedy. With plenty of potential killers, there was a palpable sense of uncertainty that upped the tension. This book was such a fun read and I enjoyed puzzling over the mystery. The writing was comfortably and smoothly paced, and the mystery itself was well executed with abundant red herrings to sustain my interest. I relished my time on Brigid’s Island where there was a fluent African Grey parrot, a beautiful beach house, and a Shakespearean scholar, turned sleuth. All in all, Little Bookshop of Murder is a great, humorous read and an outstanding series opener. Maggie Blackburn has left plenty of room for further character development and I will certainly be returning to see what Summer is getting herself into next in the second Beach Reads Mystery. Very highly recommended. I received a complimentary copy of this novel at my request from Crooked Lane Books via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.

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