#FlashbackFriday – Verse and Vengeance: A Magical Bookshop Mystery by Amanda Flower #Review / #Giveaway

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.

Verse and Vengeance: A Magical Bookshop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – New York
Crooked Lane Books (December 10, 2019)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1643851519
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1643851518
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 336 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1643856812
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1643856810
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B07NTYQQM4

With the help of Walt Whitman’s works, magical bookshop owner Violet Waverly puts her pedal to the metal to sleuth a bicycle-race murder that tests her mettle.

A bicycle race is not Charming Books proprietor Violet Waverly’s idea of a pleasant pastime. But police chief David Rainwater wheelie wants them to enter the Tour de Cascade as a couple, so she reluctantly consents.

The Tour de Cascade is the brainchild of Violet’s Grandma Daisy. The race is a fundraiser to build the Cascade Springs Underground Railroad Museum. But not everyone in this Niagara Region village supports the race. As if the bike race weren’t tiring enough, pesky private investigator Joel Redding is snooping around Charming Books. It takes all of Violet’s and Grandma Daisy’s ingenuity to keep Redding from discovering the shop’s magical essence–which communicates with Violet through books.

When Redding perishes in an accident during the race, David discovers that the brake line of the private eye’s bike was cut. Worse, Violet tops his list of suspects. As Emerson the tuxedo cat and resident crow Faulkner look on, Charming Books steers Violet to the works of Walt Whitman to solve the crime. But no other names ring a bell as culprits, and as David’s investigation picks up speed, Violet will have to get in gear to clear her name.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We arrive in Cascade Springs just in time for the Tour de Cascade. The bike race is a fundraiser to raise funds to build an Underground Railroad Museum. It is one of the grand ideas of Mayor Daisy aka Grandma Daisy to Violet Waverly, caretaker of the magical Charming Books. Violet hadn’t planned on participating but her boyfriend police chief David Rainwater wants them to ride the course together. She just hopes she can make it the whole way.

As if keeping up with David wasn’t hard enough Private Investigator Joel Redding is making a nuisance of himself by riding right by her trying to take her picture. He has been outside the bookshop for days spying on her too. He is convinced there is something strange going on in the shop and if he discovers what it is he will have a cash windfall spreading the news. Violet and Grandma Daisy are determined to keep their secret especially from the likes of a man like Joel Redding.

In the last bit of the race a man crashes and dies. That man turns out to be Joel Redding and David notices the brake lines on the bike were cut, Someone wanted this man to get hurt and maybe even die and that person got their wish. Sadly, Violet finds herself on that list of suspects. So she has to do something to clear her name. Hopefully, the Essense will be able to help and point her in the right direction.

I am not a fan of Walt Whitman but I am a huge fan of Amanda Flower so I was happy to finally read this book.

I love everything about Charming Books including the mischievous tuxedo cat Emerson and the staunch crow Faulkner. It is the place where the right book will find you. And when it does there are plenty of places to curl up with it and start reading. The tree growing in the middle of the shop guards over the books and gives Faulkner a great place to perch and invoke his wisdom. I am sure if I was ever blessed to enter the shop I would read book after book and never leave.

Ms. Flower has created characters that have a lot of layers and it is nice to see them revealed slowly over the course of the series. Grandma Daisy is a woman on a mission and she will not stop until she succeeds. She is truly a force to be reckoned with, sometimes a little too bull in the china shop but her heart is always in the right place. With Daisy taking on the responsibility of the mayor’s office, Violet has realized she must take the job of caretaker of the shop on fully and learn truly what that job entails. I was thrilled that we learned more about the bookshop’s history. With the murder to investigate and all the summer tourists coming soon, she brings in college professor Richard to take some hours. He has no idea of the magic within the walls but the Essence sure helps him make some wonderful discoveries. Police Chief David Rainwater and Violet don’t get to spend a lot of time together but he knows she is hiding something so their relationship is not just sailing along.

The mystery was well-crafted. At first, I was a little frustrated that a key individual keep disappearing but then I accepted it and like Violet was worried. Walt Whitman’s connection was interesting but I do not enjoy his poetry. Seeing Violet’s frustrations at trying to figure out the clues took me back to the English classes where we studied his works and my frustration and trying to decipher his words for a grade. I passed that section by the skin of my teeth just like I figured out this mystery. I was totally in the dark and solved it when the reveal hit me in the face. LOL

I do love this series and can’t believe I had not read this book when it was released. I truly thought I had until I checked all my lists and saw it was still on my To-Be-Read list. I am so glad that I have now corrected that oversight.

Verse and Vengeance was a delightful way to spend two evenings. I couldn’t wait to get done with work each day so I could escape into this story. No spoiler but the ending made me smile and really excited for the next book in the series. Due to my delay in reading this one I don’t have as long to wait. Crimes and Covers will be out on January 11, 2022.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent


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.

Author Links:

Website  Pen Name Website     Facebook    Twitter    Goodreads    Pinterest

Coming January 11, 2022

Also by Amanda Flower

Coming November 30, 2021

Amish Quilt Shop Mystery Series (writing as Isabella Alan)

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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.”

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