Tuesday, November 30, 2021

ARC Review: How to Book a Murder by Cynthia Kuhn

How to Book a Murder

Cynthia Kuhn
Series: A Starlit Bookshop Mystery
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (December 7, 2021)

Description: To help save her family’s floundering Colorado bookstore, Starlit Bookshop, newly minted Ph.D. Emma Starrs agrees to plan a mystery-themed dinner party for her wealthy, well-connected high school classmate Tabitha Baxter. It’s a delightful evening of cocktails and conjecture until Tabitha’s husband, Tip—hosting the affair in the guise of Edgar Allan Poe’s detective C. Auguste Dupin—winds up murdered.

In a heartbeat, Emma and her aunt Nora, a famous mystery writer, become suspects. Emma is sure the party’s over for Starlit events, until celebrated author Calliope Nightfall, whose gothic sensibilities are intrigued by the circumstances, implores the bookseller to create a Poe-themed launch event for her latest tome. Throwing a bash to die for while searching for additional clues is already enough to drive Emma stark raven mad, but another shocking crime soon reveals that Silvercrest has not yet reached the final chapter of the puzzling case.

Someone in this charming artistic community has murder on the mind, and if Emma cannot outwit the killer, she and her beloved aunt will land behind bars, to walk free nevermore.

My Thoughts: Emma Starrs, recently minted Ph.D. in English, is back at her home in Colorado helping her sister run the family bookstore which has hit hard times since their parents' deaths. When a former classmate comes into the store for a prop for her upcoming murder mystery dinner and complains that the organizer has backed out, Emma volunteers to step in and run the mystery part of the evening. 

Things do well despite the bad relationship between Emma and Tabitha Baxter until the body of Tabitha's husband Tip is discovered to have been strangled. Since Emma's aunt Nora was seen arguing with Tip earlier in the evening, she is considered a suspect. Emma becomes a suspect because Tabitha keeps blaming her. 

In order to clear their names and preserve their bookstore. Emma has to turn amateur sleuth. She has to delve into English Department politics since both Nora and Tip were engaged in a discussion there. She also has to look into other possible suspects including Tabitha and her cronies. Meantime, she is also planning a book launch event for Calliope Nightfall who is another very eccentric member of the English Department. 

There were lots of great characters in this story. There were also a number of clues and red herrings for everyone to try to solve. It was a fast-paced cozy and the beginning of a new series. 

Favorite Quote:
"You have to admit, it looks a little unusual."

"I agree, but I don't know how to prevent myself from finding something that I didn't set out to find, especially if I don't know that there's something to be found before finding it."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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