On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
The first book in this series received my Paradise Rating but
I made a huge mistake with this book and scheduled its release date on my calendar wrong.
My calendar was packed and I finally gave up trying to fit it into the regular schedule and scheduled it for the Flashback Friday feature so I could read the book that wasn’t
just screaming at me it was reaching out and hitting me over the head.
My apologies to Krista Davis for my delay in sharing this wonderful book with you.
The Coloring Crook (Pen & Ink)
2nd in Series
Setting – Washington D.C.
Kensington (November 27, 2018)
Paperback: 304 pages
Kindle ASIN: B07B78THTP
Includes A Front and Back Cover for You to Color!
Life is looking rosy for Florrie Fox, manager of the Color Me Read bookstore in Georgetown, Washington D.C. She’s working on an adult coloring book of gardens, her romance with Sergeant Eric Jonquille has entered a new chapter, and the bookstore’s weekly coloring club is a source of friendship and entertainment. No member is more vibrant than Dolly Cavanaugh. Dolly likes to say she was blessed with beauty and cursed with lousy husbands, but at least she has a grown daughter and a stunning brownstone to show for it!
When Dolly’s love of garage sales results in her showing up at Color Me Read with a rare book in hand, Florrie is astounded. The Florist, the earliest known coloring book, was first published in 1760. An original copy would be worth a fortune—and someone else knows it. That same evening, Florrie finds Dolly dead on the floor of her apartment, a corner of a coloring book page clutched in her hand. As Florrie delves into Dolly’s past and her personal effects, she discovers a skeleton in the closet—literally—and a whole lot of shady suspects. One of them is an expert in the fine art of murder, but can Florrie draw the right conclusion?
Florrie Fox is happy. She is working a Color Me Read where she has started a coloring book club. She looks over and sees coloring books she has created on the shelves. She is working on one now featuring beautiful gardens. Her relationship with Sergeant Eric Jonquille is entering a new phase, and she has settled in nicely to her boss John Maxwell’s guest house.
In The Coloring Crook, Dolly Cavanaugh, a member of the coloring book group, takes Florrie to an estate sale. Later Dolly comes into the bookstore showing off one of her purchases. A very rare coloring book, which Florrie does her best to authenticate. This book could be worth a fortune. Dolly makes a HUGE mistake by touting her amazing purchase on social media. People start coming out of the woodwork wanting to buy this book, including the woman who sold the book at the estate sale.
Florrie stops by Dolly’s home after work and finds poor Dolly on the floor dead with a piece of a page of the 1760 coloring book in her hand. The rest of the book is missing. The police believe she died of natural causes but Florrie believes it was clearly murder. She feels responsible for not warning Dolly to keep her prize safe and secret until it could be sold through a reputable party. She decides to do a little sleuthing on her own and she makes some surprising discoveries. She also has compiled a good list of suspects. When the police finally get on board she thinks their suspect is being set up. She must be right because now she has a target on her back.
Because we share a name, this Dolly immediately had a soft spot for Dolly Cavanaugh. We have a few things in common but I am very close to my children and have one wonderful husband. I do like a good garage sale find and am enjoying the adult coloring book craze. I was sorry she had to be the victim but I loved that story the evolved from her death.
The book had a perfect pace and was well-written. The characters were very engaging and developed. The author has taken the core characters in a very pleasing direction. The story was complex with more than one mystery to solve. Ms. Davis did take a few legal sidesteps with no will being produced or read while Dolly’s daughter started disposing of her mother’s belongings and was giving tenants notice because she was selling the house very quickly. The case was still open and one new discovery should have stopped her actions in their tracks. That aside I truly enjoyed the story and am looking forward to the next book.
The author informs readers that the coloring book referenced in her story, The Florist is real and that one of the copies is at the Peter F. Raven Library/Missouri Botanical Gardens. So short of a lengthy road trip I just had to look the book up online and found several pages. You can check out pictures here. I love reading fiction stories where I can learn something too.
This book can be read on its own but I recommend starting with Color Me Murder. Both books have covers ready for you to color.
Krista Davis is the New York Times bestselling author of the Domestic Diva Mysteries, the Paws & Claws Mysteries, and the Pen & Ink Mysteries. Several of her books have been nominated for the Agatha Award. Krista lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with two cats and a brood of dogs. Her friends and family complain about being guinea pigs for her recipes, but she notices they keep coming back for more.
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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.”