Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am so thankful this series has found a new home at Crooked Lane Books!
Murders and Metaphors: A Magical Bookshop Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – New York
Crooked Lane Books (February 12, 2019)
Hardcover: 320 pages
Kindle ASIN: B07D2H5M28
Niagara region booksellers Violet Waverly and Grandma Daisy sleuth the slaying of a sommelier whose book signing turned into her sayonara.
January means ice wine season in the Niagara Falls region, but the festivities leave Charming Books owner Violet Waverly cold, still reeling from a past heartbreak. A past heartbreak who will be present at the annual midnight grape-harvest festival, and no magic in the world or incantation powerful enough could get Violet to attend. But Grandma Daisy, an omniscient force all on her own, informs Violet that she’s already arranged for the mystical Charming Books to host celebrity sommelier Belinda Perkins’s book signing at the party. Little do either Waverly women know, the ice wine festival will turn colder still when Violet finds Belinda in the middle of the frozen vineyard—with a grape harvest knife protruding from her chest.
Belinda grew up in Cascade Springs, but she left town years ago after a huge falling-out with her three sisters. One of those sisters, Violet’s high school friend Lacey Dupont, attends the book signing in the hope of making amends with her sister, but Belinda and Lacey end up disrupting the signing with a very public shouting match and Lacey quickly becomes the prime suspect in the sommelier’s murder.
Violet is sure Lacey is innocent, and to keep her friend out of prison, Violet asks for guidance from her magical bookshop. The shop’s ethereal essence points her to Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, but what have the four March sisters to do with the four Perkins sisters? If she can’t figure it out, Violet, herself, may turn as cold as ice. Violet, Grandma Daisy, Emerson the tuxedo cat, and resident crow Faulkner are back on the case in Murders and Metaphors, USA Today bestselling author Amanda Flower’s enchanting third Magical Bookshop mystery.
I was very upset when this unique series ended after just 2 stories. I am so happy that the people at Crooked Lane Books saw its promise and gave the series new life.
This 3rd story takes place in January and Violet and her Grandma Daisy will be selling books at a book signing for Belinda Perkins, a well-known sommelier, and author. The event is taking place at Morton Vineyard right before their midnight ice grape harvest. That means Violet will not be able to avoid her ex and the mayor of Cascade Springs, Nathan Morton or his mother.
The author’s estranged sister and Violet’s best friend Lacey is also present for the party, helping her husband with the catering. But Lacey can’t just stay in the kitchen. She badly wants to reconnect with her sister, but her sister creates a scene and demands Lacey be removed from the premises. From there the event quickly goes downhill when the upset author leaves the event.
But Violet makes a chilling discovery outside the winery. Belinda Perkins’ dead body at the edge of the vineyard and the standoff with her sister and evidence at the scene make Lacey the number one suspect. Violet knows her friend is innocent and plans to find the real killer and her magical bookshop is going to help her.
If you are new to this series I do recommend starting at the beginning with Crime and Poetry and Prose and Cons but the author does give some background in this book so new readers won’t feel lost. The series revolves around a wonderful, magical bookshop, where the right book will find you. There is a magical live tree in the middle of the shop and the female members of Violet’s family have always been the caretakers of the shop and the tree. Violet has recently replaced her Grandma Daisy as the caretaker. The shop and its “essence” is truly one of the starring characters.
This time to solve the murder, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women plays a key role. Violet just has to figure out which part of the tome will help her get the answers she needs.
The characters the author has created are excellent. Violet, Grandma Daisy, Emerson the tuxedo cat, and the very verbal crow Faulkner all return to draw us into a story that is both enchanting and intriguing. Violet is growing into her job as caretaker and Grandma Daisy is at a bit of loose ends. Violet does need to fine tune her sleuthing skills a bit and Daisy needs to find new ways to fill her time. The relationship between the two women is getting stronger as they find their way in their new roles. I love sneaky little Emerson and who wouldn’t love an intellectual crow. The supporting cast all have a purpose and have grown right along with the main characters.
I found the ice wine and winter midnight harvest to be very interesting even though I was no fan of the entitled Morton family.
Charming Books is my favorite bookstore out of all the cozy bookstores I have fictionally visited. It is unique, magical and memorable. I love everything about it. To avoid spoiling anything for new readers I can say more but it is a true treasure.
The story is very well-plotted with the main plots and subplots falling easily together. There were several suspects and I was on the trail of the correct person but the climatic finish still surprised me. I enjoy the book group that meets at Charming Books too. It really adds to the story.
I call this series “paranormal light” due to its magical setting. Ms. Flowers has taken a very imaginative idea and run with it all while making readers believe what happens within the pages real and believable.
What a marvelous mystery! I am so excited for the next book in this series after the little cliffhanger at the end. Looks like Grandma Daisy is going to shake things up.
About This Author
Amanda Flower, a two-time Agatha Award-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth-grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. She also writes mysteries as national bestselling author Isabella Alan. In addition to being an author, Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”