(Blurb for The Bookshop Murder From GoodReads) Bookshop owner Flora Steele escapes the sleepy English village of Abbeymead through the adventures in the stories she sells. Until one morning, everything changes when she discovers a body amongst her own bookshelves…
The young man with the shock of white-blond hair lay spread-eagled on the floor, surrounded by fallen books. His hand reached out to the scattered pages, as though he was trying to tell her something.
But who is he? How did he come to be killed in Flora’s ordinary little bookshop? Flora finds out he was staying at the Priory Hotel, and when the gardener suddenly dies in its beautiful grounds only a few days later, she is certain that something untoward is happening in her quiet village by the sea.
But are the two deaths connected? And is someone at the hotel responsible – the nervous cook, the money-obsessed receptionist, or the formidable manageress?
Determined to save her beloved bookshop’s reputation and solve the murder mystery, Flora enlists the help of handsome and brooding Jack Carrington: crime writer, recluse and her most reliable customer.
As the unlikely duo set about investigating the baffling case, guilty faces greet them at every door. And they soon realise there’s more than one person hiding secrets in Abbeymead…
The start of a brand-new murder mystery series featuring bookshop owner Flora Steele and crime writer Jack Carrington. Fans of Agatha Christie, Faith Martin and Joy Ellis will love this perfect cozy murder mystery novel. An utterly addictive story that will have you guessing until the very end.
The Bookshop Murder by Merryn Allingham sits firmly in the cosy mystery genre. To be fair it ticks along at a pretty gentle pace. Set in the sleepy village of Abbeymead in the 1950s, Flora Steele finds the body of a young man in her bookshop All’s Well. The deceased, a guest at the Priory hotel seems to have broken into her shop and subsequently died from a heart attack. In fact, the pathologist has concluded it was death by natural causes even though the man was only twenty-one.
Being a small village, rumours soon begin to surface that there must be something wrong with the All’s Well’s building. How else could a fit young man die without explanation? Although the shop was initially busy after the incident (curiosity piquing people’s interest), villagers have started to stay away from the shop. Things are getting so desperate that Flora decides that she needs to investigate further if she is to convince the locals that the death was not a freak occurrence but something that had outside help. Also, why had the man broken into her shop in the first place?
To help with the investigation, Flora enlists the help of Jack Carrington, a reclusive crime writer who was at the scene when the body was discovered. Together they resolve to work out this mystery.
I liked the characters of Flora and Jack. Flora is a very determined woman who has an obvious interest in keeping her shop afloat. Jack is a loner, who even hires a young lad to collect his orders, avoiding the need to meet people. However, Jack is persuaded by Flora’s drive to help solve the mystery. You can see that there is some chemistry between them, and if this is to be the first in a series, I would hope to see this expanded. My big concern with Jack is that although he is a crime writer he doesn’t bring too much to the table in the detecting stakes. But hey, it’s only their first case…
As I mentioned earlier, The Bookshop Murder flows at a pretty gentle stroll. This is certainly true at the beginning of the book. Fortunately, the plot picks up its pace the further you delve into the story. I would however have liked a few more twists to the plot and maybe the odd red-herring here or there. But it was still an entertaining read.
If you like a gentle murder mystery, then I think you will like The Bookshop Murder.
My thanks to Bookouture via NetGalley for providing a copy of The Bookshop Murder in exchange for an honest review.