“A ship may bob, safe at harbor, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t experienced the wide world – or won’t again.”
Escaping personal tragedy, former school teacher Charlotte Reed takes over her great-aunt’s book-themed Bed and Breakfast, Chapters, in the historic seaside town of Beaufort, North Carolina. Business is going well, especially due to the literary-themed events – that is, until an obnoxious rare book dealer turns up dead on the premises. Who would have motive to murder the man? Lots of people, it turns out – including Charlotte herself, when it’s revealed that the deceased had incriminating evidence of where the B&B’s investment money first came from…
Charlotte is of course determined to clear her name, and that of her great-aunt – and that of a few other suspects, friends and colleagues both. Can she do so without putting herself at more risk from the killer still at large?
I enjoyed Victoria Gilbert’s previous library-set cosy mystery series, so it was a no-brainer to give this one a go, too. And I’m so glad I did! The genre has certain boxes to tick, which this does, but the balance of elements suited my tastes perfectly. It’s high on mystery and a bit of danger, low on the soppy romance (there is a bit, but cleverly it’s a supporting character and doesn’t take over the main plot). And I absolutely love the idea of the book-themed B&B, it’s described wonderfully enough that I’d want to stay there!
The cast is done well, with even the secondary and background characters feeling real-but-appropriately-sketched rather than 2-dimensial. I liked the main character a lot, she’s quietly competent and down to earth.
The plot is done well, too, meaning this was a perfect blend of intrigue and cosy. The second in the series is due out next month (June 2021), so perfect time to give this a go if it’s your kind of thing 🙂
NetGalley eARC: 320 pages / 32 chapters
First published: 2020
Series: A Book Lover’s B&B Mystery book 1 – book 2 is out in June 2021
Read from 18th-21st February 2021 (I know, I know – trying hard to catch up on the review backlog!)
My rating: 8/10