Sunday, March 24, 2019
Trouble on the Books by Essie Lang
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 www.Lindawiken.com
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.