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.
Reserved for Murder: A Booklover’s B&B Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – North Carolina
Crooked Lane Books (June 8, 2021)
Hardcover : 336 pages
ISBN-10 : 1643855905
ISBN-13 : 978-1643855905
Paperback : 336 pages
ISBN-10 : 164385979X
ISBN-13 : 978-1643859798
Kindle ASIN : B08HXZVXVL
More bloodshed at a bibliophiles’ bed-and-breakfast as Victoria Gilbert’s delightful series continues.
Meeting your favorite author in the flesh can be the chance of a lifetime. But for one unlucky fan, her plum place in line at a book signing will lead to her untimely demise.
Beaufort, North Carolina, is home to Chapters Bed and Breakfast, owned and operated by former schoolteacher Charlotte Reed. This historic 18th-century inn draws in voracious readers from far and wide with its lovingly curated special events celebrating a host of genres and authors.
On this sunny July weekend, a visit by one of the biggest names in romantic fantasy attracts throngs of admirers to the quaint coastal village. That’s not ideal, as the author retreated to Chapters to get away from it all for a while. No matter–she’ll appease her fans with a “Tea and Talk” meet-and-greet at the B&B celebrating her bestselling series (starring a devilishly dashing, time-traveling pirate), follow that up with a quick book signing at Bookwaves, the hip indie bookstore across town, and spend the remainder of the weekend in delightful repose.
But when the president of the reclusive writer’s fan club is found dead in the harbor by the Beaufort docks–done in by a blunt-force blow to the head–it’s up to Charlotte Reed, her neighbor Ellen, and Ellen’s trusty Yorkshire terrier to sniff out the killer. Because if they can’t, a spectacularly successful book series–and its author–may come to a sudden, lethal conclusion.
Chapters Bed and Breakfast is all set to welcome popular romantic fantasy author Amanda Nobel. The author is really coming to get some downtime but has agreed to a book signing at Bookwaves, a meet-and-greet tea, and a small cocktail party to promote her new release. Three of her fans have won a stay at the B&B and some one one-on-one time with the famous author. Lisette Bradford is the head of a major Amanda Nobel fan club and a fan fiction author. Harper Gregg and Mollie Zeleski are huge fans of the author. All three are excited about their win.
After the meet and greet, Charlotte’s guests go their separate ways but Lisette was the only one that didn’t return. The next morning Detective Amber Johnson calls with bad news. Lisette’s body was pulled out of the water near the Beaufort docks. There was obvious trauma to her head not consistent with a fall. The police and Charlotte already have a suspect in Lisette’s ex-husband but they quickly find there are others that could have killed her. Charlotte and her neighbor Ellen along with Ellen’s Yorkshire terrier, Shandy quickly start their own investigation to ferret out the killer.
Charlotte has one more concern . . . Who is the man staying with Ellen? She never lets anyone stay at her house.
Former school teacher Charlotte Reed is a strong protagonist. Her years as an English teacher have prepared her well for hosting authors from various genres. The skills also aid her when she starts sleuthing. Her neighbor, Ellen has some great skills from her previous job as well. They make a great team when trying to catch a killer. Charlotte has Alicia to help her at the B&B. She kinda came with the place and they are finally figuring out how to work together and even become friends. Damian is a wonderful chef who works for Charlotte when there are guests at the B & B and at most of the events she hosts. Julie Rivera owns Bookwaves. She and Charlotte are friends who work together on literary events. We meet several new characters and revisit others who were in the first book, Booked for Death. All of Ms. Gilbert’s characters are cleverly crafted, have a purpose in the story, and feel true to life.
I was entertained by the mysteries that unfolded in this book. As an avid reader, I found the themes of fan fiction, ghostwriters, pitfalls in publishing, and stress when writing a long-running series to be very captivating. Ms. Gilbert did an excellent job of blending them all together in a compelling murder mystery. I did my best to follow all the clues but I was surprised when the guilty party was revealed. The showdown was tense and a little help came in an unexpected way that made me smile.
A subplot deals with something from Ellen’s and Charlotte’s great-aunt Isabella’s past. That was interesting too. It gives us a little more of Ellen’s backstory but does detract just a bit from the main mystery.
If Chapters Bed and Breakfast were a real place I would visit often and probably stay until they kicked me out. Being surrounded by Isabella’s collection of books would be absolutely fabulous. Add to that the visits by authors and all the other literary events and it would make me very happy and content. Helping to solve a murder mystery or two would be icing on the cake.
Reserved for Murder was a very enjoyable read. I am excited to see who visits Chapters Bed and Breakfast next and what Ms. Gilbert has in store for them.
Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent
About the Author
Raised in a historic small town at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Victoria Gilbert turned her early obsession with books into a dual career as an author and librarian. Now retired after over 30 years in the library field, she’s worked as a reference librarian, research librarian, and university library director.
Victoria writes the Blue Ridge Library Mystery series, the Booklover’s B&B Mystery series, and the Hunter and Clewe traditional mystery series for Crooked Lane Books. A member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers, Victoria lives in North Carolina.
Also written by Victoria Gilbert
I am giving away a Kindle Copy!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.
Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.
You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.
Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Following My Facebook Fan Page.
Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.
If you share the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive 5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.
The Contest Will End November 3, 2023, at 11:59 PM CST
The Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
The Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.
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.”