Murder by Page One: A Peach Coast Library Mystery
by Olivia Matthews
About Murder Page One
Murder by Page One: A Peach Coast Library Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Georgia
Publisher: Hallmark Publishing (March 23, 2021)
Print length: 328 pages
Digital ASIN: B08KHPBDBS
If you love Hallmark mystery movies,
you’ll love this cozy mystery with humor, intrigue, and a librarian amateur sleuth.
Marvey, a librarian, has moved from Brooklyn to a quirky small town in Georgia. When she’s not at the library organizing events for readers, she’s handcrafting book-themed jewelry and looking after her cranky cat. At times, her new life in the South still feels strange…and that’s before the discovery of the dead body in the bookstore.
After one of her friends becomes a suspect, Marvey sets out to solve the murder mystery. She even convinces Spence, the wealthy and charming newspaper owner, to help. With his ties to the community, her talents for research, and her fellow librarians’ knowledge, Marvey pursues the truth. But as she gets closer to it, could she be facing a deadly plot twist?
This first in series cozy mystery includes a free Hallmark original recipe for Classic Peach Cobbler.
Do you have a library card? is a question you will be asked if you meet Marvey Harris. Her job is to increase community involvement at the library so the council will continue to fund it and hopefully increase their budget and she takes her job very seriously.
Marvey has made two great friends since her big move from Brooklyn, Spence, publisher of the Peach Coast Crier, and Jo, owner of the To Be Read Bookstore. The bookstore is where this story starts off for a book signing for local authors. One of the authors wanted to handle her set up herself but fails to do so before the event begins. In fact, it appears she never left the storeroom where her books were kept. When Jo, Spence, and Marvey try to track her down they make a horrific discovery. Author Fiona Lyle-Hayes is dead. She was brutally murdered right there at To Be Read. They are all stunned when the police quickly decide Jo is the killer. Jo begs for help and Marvey and Spence vow to find more relevant suspects. The killer starts to feel the heat and sets up some chilling events to try to get Marvey off the case. But she doesn’t back down, she gets even more determined to catch the killer.
As a cozy mystery lover Hallmark’s Movies and Mystery channel is a popular one on my television. I can easily see Murder by Page One as the start of a new series on their channel. I love that they are now publishing books.
Peach Coast appears to be a typical Southern town filled with genuine people including those that like to gossip and get all mixed up in everybody’s business. New girl in town, Marvey Harris already has a daily routine that puts her in the heart of gossip central. After the murder, a few folks are not afraid to speak their mind without any facts and get right in Marvey’s face to do so. All the characters are cleverly crafted. I really enjoyed Marvey’s confidence in almost everything she does. She is a little uncertain about getting involved in a murder investigation at first but she soon has the support of not only her friends but the entire library staff. Ms. Matthews has done an excellent job of fleshing out her characters while leaving plenty of room for them to grow over the course of what I hope will be a long-running series.
There was a very interesting subplot woven throughout the story. Marvey has a gray tabby cat named Phoenix who not adjusting well to the move from Brooklyn. His behavior was unique and at times funny but his person is taking the behavior to heart seeing one veterinarian and then another to try to find answers and ways to help her pet. It really gives us insight into Marvey but more so how what we do in our lives affects our lovable cats and dogs.
I found the police handling the case to be simpletons that took the easy way out without really doing any investigation or following leads to didn’t agree with their theory. Of course, that set up Marvey and Spence’s investigation nicely. The author plotted the mystery with plenty of twists and a few red herrings. My thinking was on the right track and the lead-up to the reveal refined everything for me. The pace was comfortable at first and then became more intense the further we read into the story.
I do have a couple of peeves. The book is full of southern charm and well-known sayings. Marvey is a very intelligent woman so I couldn’t believe she needed to keep track of the classic sayings and their true meanings and that she had to refer to her notes often. I also noticed that there was an overabundance of peach references from food, to clothes, and even the way people looked. And don’t get me wrong I know peaches are a big thing in Georgia and Peach Coast and I love peach cobbler but there is no way I could eat it every day. I did like that it was even part of a race event, but I think the reaction by Marvey proves my point.
I do love mysteries with libraries as a theme. Murder by Page One has set the Peach Coast Library Mysteries off to a splendid start. The core characters are very engaging and I want to get to know them better so I am looking forward to the second book in this series.
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About Olivia Matthews
Olivia Matthews is the cozy mystery pseudonym for Patricia Sargeant, a national best-selling, award-winning author. Her work has been featured in national publications such as Publishers Weekly, USA Today, Kirkus Reviews, Suspense Magazine, Mystery Scene Magazine, Library Journal and RT Book Reviews. For more information about Patricia and her work, visit PatriciaSargeant.com.
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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.”