Samantha Washington's late husband always dreamt of opening a mystery bookstore in North Harbor, Michigan. It was her dream to write a British cozy mystery. Now, she's running a mystery bookstore, while writing her mystery at night.
Market Street Mysteries is to open in the brownstone she bought after a legal battle with the realtor, Clayton Parker. Her problems with Clayton only grow worse when she refuses to let him in the building, and finds his body the next morning. The investigating officer is convinced Samantha had reasons to kill Parker. However, Sam's grandmother, Nana Jo, has other ideas. She and her friends, "the girls" from the her retirement village, team up with Samantha to discover the unsavory history of Clayton and the Parker family.
Burns cleverly handles two storylines as she tells the story of the contemporary cozy mystery, while also including Sam's historical mystery, set in the 1930s. The historical cozy has a parallel storyline. The chapters alternate, but the two plots are dissimilar enough to be easily recognizable. In both storylines, the elder characters shine. Unlike stereotypes of older people, as written in so many books of all genres, these characters are refreshingly witty and robust, with formidable connections and investigative skills.
The lively seniors, the humor, and the bookstore environment, as well as Sam's cozy historical mystery are enough to attract any mystery reader who enjoys bookstores as a setting.
If The Plot is Murder appeals, you'll want to check out the second book, Read Herring Hunt. I'm looking forward to Sam's second manuscript, a story that includes the Duchess of Windsor.
V.M. Burns' website is www.vmburns.com
The Plot is Murder by V.M. Burns. Kensington, 2017. ISBN 9781496711816 (paperback), 256p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I originally received this book to review for a journal.