Tuesday, June 1, 2021

ARC Review: Reserved for Murder by Victoria Gilbert

Reserved for Murder

Victoria Gilbert
Series: A Book Lover's B&B Mystery (Book 2)
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (June 8, 2021)

Description: More bloodshed at a bibliophiles' bed-and-breakfast as Victoria Gilbert's delightful series continues.

Meeting your favorite author in the flesh can be the chance of a lifetime. But for one unlucky fan, her plum place in line at a book signing will lead to her untimely demise.

Beaufort, North Carolina, is home to Chapters Bed and Breakfast, owned and operated by former schoolteacher Charlotte Reed. This historic 18th-century inn draws in voracious readers from far and wide with its lovingly curated special events celebrating a host of genres and authors.

On this sunny July weekend, a visit by one of the biggest names in romantic fantasy attracts throngs of admirers to the quaint coastal village. That's not ideal, as the author retreated to Chapters to get away from it all for a while. No matter--she'll appease her fans with a "Tea and Talk" meet-and-greet at the B&B celebrating her bestselling series (starring a devilishly dashing, time-traveling pirate), follow that up with a quick book signing at Bookwaves, the hip indie bookstore across town, and spend the remainder of the weekend in delightful repose.

But when the president of the reclusive writer's fan club is found dead in the harbor by the Beaufort docks--done in by a blunt-force blow to the head--it's up to Charlotte Reed, her neighbor Ellen, and Ellen's trusty Yorkshire terrier to sniff out the killer. Because if they can't, a spectacularly successful book series--and its author--may come to a sudden, lethal conclusion.

My Thoughts: Charlotte Reed is a widowed former high school English teacher who inherited Chapters B&B after the death of her Great-Aunt Isabella. This week she is hosting Amanda Novel who is a best-selling author of historical fantasies and contest winners from her various fan clubs. Charlotte has only read one of her books and isn't a fan.

The first thing Charlotte notices when her guests arrive is the amount of tension between them all. Amanda and her publicity guy Tony are at odds. The three contest winners - Lisette, Harper, and Molly - aren't friends either. There are questions about Amanda's latest book which is the thirteenth in her series. There are discussions about scandals in the fan clubs with some references to fan fiction and possible plagiarism. 

There is also some tension with her neighbor Ellen and her unexpected houseguest Gavin. Ellen is a former spy and it seems apparent that Gavin is also a spy. Ellen and Charlotte has solved a murder mystery the previous year and Charlotte, at least, is hoping that had been a once in a lifetime experience.

But when Lisette is found dead, Charlotte knows that it is likely the killer is one of her guests. Along with Ellen they begin an investigation looking into the pasts and present of all of them while trying to figure out why Gavin has come to see Ellen.

The story was filled with lots of nice twists and turns and lots of information about fan clubs, fan fiction, publishing and even spycraft.

Favorite Quote:
I might only be a Watson, but like that fictional character, what I lacked in deductive brilliance, I made up for in sheer determination and persistence.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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