Tuesday, December 20, 2022

ARC Review: Bookclubbed to Death by V. M. Burns

Bookclubbed to Death

V. M. Burns
Series: Mystery Bookshop
Publication: Kensington Cozies (December 27, 2022)

Description: When a literary critic is found bludgeoned to death with a copy of The Complete Works of Agatha Christie, Michigan bookstore owner, author, and amateur sleuth Samantha Washington discovers there is such a thing as bad publicity in Agatha Award finalist V.M. Burns’ latest Mystery Bookshop novel.

After the local library in North Harbor, Michigan, is flooded in a storm, Sam offers her bookstore as a new venue for the Mystery Mavens Book Club. Unfortunately, she immediately runs afoul of the club leader, Delia Marshall, a book reviewer who can make or break careers—something Sam can ill afford with her debut historical mystery soon to be published. But the next morning, Sam opens her shop to find the unpleasant woman dead on the floor, bashed with a heavy—apparently lethal—tome: the Complete Works of Agatha Christie. While Sam is busy writing her latest British historical mystery in which the queen mother is suspected in the murder of a London Times correspondent, a pair of ambitious cops suspect Sam of the real-life crime. When she gathers Nano Jo and their friends from the Shady Acres Retirement Village to review the case, they discover every one of the Mavens had a motive. With her novel about to hit the stores, Sam must find out who clubbed Delia before a judge throws the book at her. . .

My Thoughts: Sam Washington finds herself in the middle of another murder investigation when critic Delia Marshall is found dead in her bookstore. She was bludgeoned to death with a copy of The Complete Works of Agatha Christie which she had asked Sam to order for her. Delia's syndicated book review column can make or break any author, and Sam's first historical mystery is due out soon. But Sam isn't the only author wary of Delia. 

The police seem convinced that Sam committed the crime. If she wants to stay out of jail, marry her fiancé, and celebrate the release of her new book, she has to find out who murdered Delia and find out fast. Luckily, she has the help of her grandmother Nana Jo and all the ladies at the Shady Rest Retirement Village to help her out. Her fiancé with his mysterious past is also very helpful. She has somewhat less help and support from her pessimistic older sister Jenna who is also her attorney.

I enjoyed this cozy story despite the fact that Sam seems to break down in tears awfully frequently. I liked that she worked out her thoughts by writing on her next historical mystery set in England just as World War II is about to begin. 

This was an entertaining story which is eighth in a series but works well as a standalone title. I have the first two in the series but haven't read them yet and felt that, while background might have added depth, it wasn't necessary to the enjoyment of this story.

Favorite Quote:
My issues were related to thirty-plus years of little sister torture. Jenna was almost four years older than me, and despite the fact that I am an adult, it's only recently that I've realized I don't have to do everything she tells me. I've even said, "You're not the boss of me." Okay, maybe I haven't said it out loud and to her face (Nana Jo says saying it to Snickers and Orea doesn't count), but I've certainly thought it.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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