Reserved for Murder – Victoria Gilbert

“When your neighbor is a retired spy, it’s easy to imagine innumerable dangers haunting the house next door.”

We first met Charlotte Reid, owner of the book-themed Chapters Bed and Breakfast, in Booked for DeathNow she’s back, hosting a famous author on her new book tour. But when the president of her fan club is found dead, suspicion falls on all of Charlotte’s guests – and a few of her friends, too.

I really enjoyed the first book in this series, and Victoria Gilbert’s other cosy mystery series, Blue Ridge Library. So I was looking forward to this for a nice, light break from other reading. I got that, mostly, but to be honest I was a bit disappointed compared to the first book.

The relationships between the author and her fans – several of whom, as competition winners, are staying in the B&B – never quite clicked for me. I did like the subplot mystery, surrounding her work and famous series (all about a dashing, time travelling pirate, of course, and now a globally popular TV show). I do like that these books are higher on the mystery than either the cosy or the – horror! – romance that so often creeps in to the genre.

However, we do have the stirrings of romance here, but that’s not what disappointed me. Book one established the mysterious background of Charlotte’s neighbour, and this time she’s been joined by a ‘cousin’ – of whom she seems really less than fond. This other subplot, all spies and covert intelligence, really didn’t work for me at all. I found a lot of the scenes with the ‘spy’ character felt really unbelievable, on several levels.

That said, it was still a fun read, and a nice palate cleanser between other books. I just hope book 3 – if there is one! – feels a bit less disjointed.

NetGalley eARC: 336 pages / 32 chapters
First published: June 2021
Series: A Book Lover’s B&B Mystery book 2
Read from 30th April – 3rd May 2021

My rating: 6/10

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