Ellery Adams introduces her first Book Retreat mystery, Murder in the Mystery Suite, with a paragraph to delight the heart of any book lover. "There were books everywhere. Hundreds of books. Thousands of books. There were books of every size, shape, and color. They lined the walls from floor to ceiling, standing straight and rigid as soldiers on the polished mahogany shelves, the gilt lettering on their worn spines glinting in the soft light, the scent of supple leather and aging paper filling the air." And, after setting the perfect stage for a book lover, she invites us into a resort dedicated to books, Storyton Hall in Virginia. Who can resist?
Storyton Hall is home to widow Jane Steward, her six-year-old twin sons, Hem and Fitz, and her great-uncle and great-aunt. Jane's the general manager of the resort for book lovers, a place where people can escape to be pampered by a butler, librarian, chauffeur, and all the staff needed to run a high-class resort hotel. But, Jane knows even a high-class resort needs to repair a roof and pay the staff, so she suggests a Murder and Mayhem Week so that mystery fans can dress as their favorite literary detective, participate in mystery scavenger hunts, enjoy the delectable food, and relax and read. But, before the week even gets underway, a runaway horse on the streets of Storyton Village leads to death. And, when one of the participants in the week's scavenger hunt is murdered, Jane thinks her mystery week may end in horror.
With each new series, the versatile Adams, author of the Books by the Bay series and the Charmed Pie Shoppe mysteries, manages to create a new world and a cast of charming characters. Murder in the Mystery Suite brings readers into a fascinating world of books and secrets, literary secrets known only to a select few. There's an entertaining group of merchants who form a book club, the Cover Girls. And, the members of the support staff at Storyton Hall are intriguing, with their own secrets.
What librarian can resist this resort, and Jane Steward's respect for books and all the libraries in Storyton Hall? Jane tells Mr. Sinclair, the librarian there, "You're a librarian. To me, that makes you a bigger hero than Saint George, Sir William Wallace, and all the Knights of the Round Table put together." There may be Murder in the Mystery Suite, but Ellery Adams and Jane Steward manage to welcome readers into their world. It's a world of books, wonderful characters, and secrets.
Ellery Adams' website is www.elleryadamsmysteries.com
Murder in the Mystery Suite by Ellery Adams. Berkley Prime Crime. 2014. ISBN 9780425265598 (paperback), 292p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.