Sunday, March 24, 2019

Trouble on the Books by Essie Lang

I love the setting of Essie Lang's new mystery and series. Trouble on the Books is a Castle Bookshop Mystery. Bayside Books is located in Alexandria Bay in upstate New York. The second location for the store is in Blye Castle on Blye Island. The setting is more appealing than the amateur sleuth or the mystery itself, though.

Shelby Cox returns to her childhood home when her Aunt Edie needs help following surgery. Shelby is now part owner of Bayside Books, and she'll be running the one on Blye Island in the castle. Soon after she has a run-in with Loreen Swan, the castle curator, Shelby discovers Loreen's body in the island grotto. Aunt Edie worries that the local police chief will try to railroad the groundskeeper at the castle, so she asks Shelby to poke around. Because Shelby just moved back, she doesn't know many people in town, but that doesn't stop her from asking questions, annoying townspeople, the police chief, the state police, and even a handsome Coast Guard agent.

Shelby is convinced the murder may be linked to the castle's history of smuggling. Her imagination runs wild with ideas that many of the people she encounters could be suspects. As an amateur sleuth, Shelby lacks people skills. She also doesn't quite fit the cozy mystery image of an insider asking questions of everyone she knows. She isn't part of the local community, and it's hard to suspend disbelief and accept that everyone would answer a nosy stranger's questions.

The author has written other cozy mysteries under the names Linda Wiken and Erika Chase. This first one in the new series just falls flat for me. Readers might be better off to try Eva Gates or Jenn McKinlay's books if they're looking for mysteries with books and appealing amateur sleuths.

The author's website is

Trouble on the Books by Essie Lang. Crooked Lane Books, 2019. ISBN 9781683319818 (hardcover), 336p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.


Diane said...

Just finished Murder at the Mill by MC Shaw which you recommended some time ago. I have to tell you how much I loved it and can't wait for the next in the series.
I guess you would call it a cozy but it seemed a little more sophisticated than many cozyies I have tried to read. That particular genre is not my favorite although I do like some.
Thanks so much for another great recommendation!

Sharon said...

Than you for this Lesa. With an overflowing pile of library books to read, I think I will pass on this one and return it unread.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Netteanne said...

I may get it from the library because Alexander Bay is one of my very favorite places to visit. The whole Thousand Island area is just wonderful. If the book is lousy, I will not blame you as you have given us plenty of warning.

Lesa said...

Can I just say how much I love all of you as readers? Diane, you came back to mention your impression of a book I talked about earlier. Sharon, you commented that you're going to pass, and Netteanne, you have a reason for trying the book. My judgement isn't final or perfect. Others may enjoy a book that I didn't. Netteanne, you have a perfect reason for trying it, and you may love it because of the location. I like to hear others' reasons for reading or liking or not liking a book. Thanks for sharing!

Gram said...

I am currently working my way through Jenn McKinlay's library series (with recipes) and enjoying them greatly.

Lesa said...

A fun series, Gram.