How to Book a Murder (A Starlit Bookshop Mystery)
by Cynthia Kuhn
Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
It is my pleasure to share my thoughts today about
How to Book A Murder by Cynthia Kuhn!
About How to Book a Murder
How to Book a Murder (A Starlit Bookshop Mystery)
1st in Series
Setting – Colorado
Publisher : Crooked Lane Books (December 7, 2021)
Hardcover : 336 pages
ISBN-10 : 1643858599
ISBN-13 : 978-1643858593
Digital ASIN : B08QVJFZZK
Perfect for fans of Jenn McKinlay and Kate Carlisle, in award-winning author Cynthia Kuhn’s series debut, small-town bookseller and literary event planner Emma Starrs is out to close the book on a killer intent on crashing the party.
To help save her family’s floundering Colorado bookstore, Starlit Bookshop, newly minted Ph.D. Emma Starrs agrees to plan a mystery-themed dinner party for her wealthy, well-connected high school classmate Tabitha Baxter. It’s a delightful evening of cocktails and conjecture until Tabitha’s husband, Tip—hosting the affair in the guise of Edgar Allan Poe’s detective C. Auguste Dupin—winds up murdered.
In a heartbeat, Emma and her aunt Nora, a famous mystery writer, become suspects. Emma is sure the party’s over for Starlit events, until celebrated author Calliope Nightfall, whose gothic sensibilities are intrigued by the circumstances, implores the bookseller to create a Poe-themed launch event for her latest tome. Throwing a bash to die for while searching for additional clues is already enough to drive Emma stark raven mad, but another shocking crime soon reveals that Silvercrest has not yet reached the final chapter of the puzzling case.
Someone in this charming artistic community has murder on the mind, and if Emma cannot outwit the killer, she and her beloved aunt will land behind bars, to walk free nevermore.
Colorado’s Starlit Bookshop may be on its last legs so Emma Starrs comes home hoping to save the family store. To help line the store’s coffers Emma agrees to step in to plan a mystery-themed party for one of her high school classmates when the original planner quits. Tabitha Baxter has the kind of friends and acquaintances that may want to host similar events and that would be good for the shop’s bottom line. The hostess’s husband is really into the works of Edwin Allan Poe, so he will be playing Detective C. Auguste Dupin in the game. But he soon finds himself playing the role of the deceased when he is found dead and the murder in the game goes unsolved, This is definitely not good for the host, it could also mean the end of the Starlit Bookshop when Tabitha accuses both Emma and her aunt, a famous author and college professor, of the murder to anyone who will listen. Of course, everyone at the event is on the suspect list including Tabitha Baxter.
While trying to book the real killer, gothic author and colleague of Emma’s aunt, Calliope Nightfall requests a book signing at the Starlit Bookshop to launch her new book that also has a Poe connection. Knowing this may be her chance to pin down a few suspects Emma can’t refuse. But will she push someone too far in her quest to book the murderer? Will the killer have the last word?
In How To Book A Murder we meet Emma Starrs, her sister Lucy and their aunt Nora. All three are trying to save the bookshop but Nora also teaches at the local college. I found all three to be likable and genuine.
Beyond the main characters, readers will find a large supporting cast. What I came to think of Tabitha and her posse – Her 3 BFFs and their husbands. Tabitha calls the shots and they fall in line. We also meet Nora’s college colleagues. They were all at the party when their host was killed so they are suspects. Even the catering team is called into question.
The author has basically written a closed room mystery unless someone snuck onto the patio to do the deed and Emma has to take that into account. She does have a hard time getting anyone to talk. because Tabitha and her friends just keep accusing Emma and Nora even going so far as saying since Nora wrote a cozy mystery with a similar crime she must be guilty. This theory had me giggling. Look out, my cozy author friends!!
I did enjoy the way Ms. Kuhn plotted out this mystery. I had a lot of fun following the clues right along with Emma. My original theory was found false early and I found myself caught up in the whole story and was totally surprised when all was revealed.
I have to tell you that I have come across a few bookstores in my cozy mystery reading history that I would love to visit in real life if that was actually possible. Well, I have added the Starlit Bookshop to that list. The way the place was transformed for Calliope Nightfall’s reading and signing as well as the wonderful shopkeepers really piqued my interest.
There is so much to entertain readers in How To Book A Murder. Unique characters, a marvelous setting and a really stirring mystery all come together for a very intriguing read. I am excited to see where the author takes these characters next after this enjoyable debut.
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About Cynthia Kuhn
Cynthia Kuhn is an English professor and author of the Starlit Bookshop Mysteries and the Lila Maclean Academic Mysteries. Her work has also appeared in Mystery Most Edible, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Copper Nickel, Prick of the Spindle, Mama PhD, and other publications. Honors include an Agatha Award, a William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic Grant, and Lefty Award nominations. Originally from upstate New York, she lives in Colorado with her family. For more information, please visit cynthiakuhn.net.
Great Escapes Praise for How to Book a Murder (A Starlit Bookshop Mystery)
by Cynthia Kuhn
This was a very promising start to a new series – great characters, interesting writing, and a wonderful setting. I wasn’t a big fan of Tabitha, but I do think that was the point! I really enjoyed this mystery and can’t wait for more of this series.
~The Book’s the Thing
HOW TO BOOK A MURDER is written in true cozy mystery fashion, which means it’s perfect for fans of all ages. I’m highly looking forward to the next book in this series!
~Lisa Ks Book Reviews
How to Book a Murder is a blithe cozy mystery with a bewitching bookstore, office obstruction, multiple murders, a Poe party, malicious mean females, exquisite culinary cuisine, academic afflictions, and a raven reveal.
~The Avid Reader
HOW TO BOOK A MURDER takes on mean girls and murder in a solid start to a new series.
~Cozy Up With Kathy
Set in an adorable small town we get a wide variety of characters to keep your interest while also falling in love with Emma and her bookshop. Sure to delight cozy fans. I really liked it so I give it 4/5 stars.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews
The book is full of twists, turns, double-crosses, and deceit. I was surprised at the reveal of the murderer, but not at all surprised about who the person hung around with. There was a lot going on and sorting out what was part of the murder plot and what wasn’t, kept me on my toes. I look forward to the next book in the series.
This first book in the Starlit Bookshop mystery series is a delightful read. It nicely plants the seeds for future developments between characters and the reader’s interest in upcoming installments. The next book can’t come soon enough.
~Book Club Librarian
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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.”