A Dark and Stormy Murder

A Dark and Stormy Murder

4.5 11
by Julia Buckley

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An aspiring suspense novelist lands in the middle of a real crime, in the first in a captivating new series by the author of the Undercover Dish Mysteries.
Lena London's literary dreams are coming true—as long as she can avoid any real-life villains...
Camilla Graham’s bestselling suspense novels


An aspiring suspense novelist lands in the middle of a real crime, in the first in a captivating new series by the author of the Undercover Dish Mysteries.
Lena London's literary dreams are coming true—as long as she can avoid any real-life villains...
Camilla Graham’s bestselling suspense novels inspired Lena London to become a writer, so when she lands a job as Camilla’s new assistant, she can’t believe her luck. Not only will she help her idol craft an enchanting new mystery, she’ll get to live rent-free in Camilla’s gorgeous Victorian home in the quaint town of Blue Lake, Indiana.
But Lena’s fortune soon changes for the worse. First, she lands in the center of small town gossip for befriending the local recluse. Then, she stumbles across one thing that a Camilla Graham novel is never without—a dead body, found on her new boss’s lakefront property.
Now Lena must take a page out of one of Camilla’s books to hunt down clues in a real crime that seems to be connected to the novelist’s mysterious estate—before the killer writes them both out of the story for good...

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for the A Dark and Stormy Murder
“I can't remember when I've been so enthralled in a story and its characters.”—New York Times Bestselling Author Miranda James
“A Dark and Stormy Murder has it all: plenty of action, a dash of romance, and lots of heart.”— Julie Hyzy, New York Times bestselling author of the White House Chef Mysteries
“A not-to-be-missed page turner.”—Terrie Farley Moran, Agatha award–winning author of the Read ‘Em and Eat Mysteries

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
A Writer's Apprentice Mystery Series , #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.10(h) x 1.00(d)

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Meet the Author

Julia Buckley is the author of the Undercover Dish Mystery series, including The Big Chili, and the Writer’s Apprentice Mysteries, including A Dark and Stormy Murder. She is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Romance Writers of America, along with the Chicago Writer’s Association. Julia has taught high school English for twenty-seven years. She lives in Chicago with her husband, two sons and three cats.

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A Dark and Stormy Murder 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Zuzi912 5 months ago
One of the best books in a new series I've read in a long time. Can't wait for the next.
ReadYourWrites 5 months ago
The setup for A Dark and Stormy Murder is the dream of every book lover. Lena London is offered and accepts the personal assistant position for her favorite author, Camilla Graham. The added benefit is she will move into Camilla’s house and Camilla will allow her to help write some of the books she knows and loves so well. Set in the small, picturesque town of Blue Lake, Indiana, A Dark and Stormy Murder brings two women who love to write about mystery and suspense face to face with a real life true crime or two. On her very first day in Blue Lake, Lena discovers the body of a man on the beach outside of Camilla’s house. She can’t help but to wonder who would kill the man and why. Lena starts to make new friends rather quickly, from Camilla’s next door neighbor (Sam West) who seems to have the attention of the police himself to a stay-at-home mom (Laney Waldrop) who is just a little too friendly. She soon discovers almost everyone she comes in contact with is curious about Camilla’s house. Lena also catches the eye of her neighbor Sam and Detective Doug Heller. A Dark and Stormy Murder not only gives you a murder mystery to solve, but there’s also the case of Sam’s missing wife, Victoria. Rest assured when two mystery writers are on the case, things will definitely be discovered. I can’t begin to explain how much this book captivated my attention. I loved getting the opportunity to learn about the characters and follow Lena and Camilla as they put all the clues together. I have to point out not everything gets solved in this book and that was a little frustrating. But it definitely has me wondering what’s going to happen next. **Received a copy from Berkley in exchange for an honest unbiased opinion.**
ekehlet 6 months ago
This cozy mystery is dedicated to Mary Stewart, and that should tell you something! A fan of gothic romantic suspense, the author has done a great job of incorporating the common elements of that genre into a cozy mystery. I've always loved Mary Stewart, Phyllis Whitney, Victoria Holt, and similar authors, so I was very excited to hear about this cozy. I was not disappointed. There's the young heroine, living in an unfamiliar house, the "is he good or is he bad" guy, and the "he must be good but there's something we don't like about him" guy, and lots of other suspicious characters for us to distrust. All of these elements, combined with a modern mystery and a likable amateur sleuth, created a story I didn't want to put down. This one also wrapped up a little differently than most cozies - the reader is left with a pretty good idea of what the characters will be doing at the beginning of the next book. I can't wait for it! :)
SewWrite 5 days ago
A great start to this wonderful new series. I had a hard time putting this story down. I picked it back up every time I had a few minutes that i could read a couple of more pages. Lena London gets a job as her favorite authors assistant. This involves moving to Blue Lake, Indiana and living in the huge home with Camilla Graham herself. Lena quickly becomes interested in the town and it's many unique characters including Sam West who is trying to lay low after is wife's disappearance/suspected murder. Lena's good fortune changes when she finds the body of a man from town on the beach below Camilla grand house. Lena and Camilla must find the killer before they become victims themselves.
BeckyMcF 6 days ago
I liked the premise of this book and the mystery part was well-done. My big problem was the romance part. It just did not make sense and seemed much too hasty. There was no way the main character could know either of those men well enough to make such a decision! It seemed especially untimely since the book is one of those "to be continued" ones.
Samantha1020 3 months ago
A Dark and Stormy Murder is easily one of the best beginnings to a cozy mystery series that I've read in a long time. It was pretty much a given that I would adore this one after I realized that it paid homage to older gothic romances. Barbara Michaels anyone?? I have a special place in my heart for her books and for many other authors like her so I was just thrilled to find this book. I loved how the author made this book almost feel like one of those books with the large, rambling house and the mysterious but handsome neighbor. Plus the author included at the beginning of each chapter a part of the book that Camilla was currently working on (which of course is a gothic romance). I'm grinning even now just thinking about how perfectly this book was set up. Then you factor in that there is a mystery as well and you probably can already see why I loved this book so much! I also really enjoyed the characters in this book. Lena is an aspiring author herself but it was her love of Camilla's books that really helped me to connect with her. It was all so bookish and perfect and I loved every minute of it. I loved the parts of the book where Lena and Camilla were working together on Camilla's current work in progress. I liked that we were given a chance to see the writing process but through this book as well. I also enjoyed the mystery which was just suspenseful enough to help me want to read this book even faster. I tried to go slowly with this one since I was enjoying it so much but I also didn't want to stop reading. I found myself finishing it way too quickly for my taste but also very excited for the next book. I feel like I desperately need the next book because I loved this one so much. I really liked how the author ended this one because there was a complete ending but she also set up book two perfectly. And left me wishing that I had book two in my hands right now! Overall, it should be easy to tell that I just loved this one. I am really excited about it and am already thinking of some of my blogging friends that I want to recommend this one to. If you love Mary Stewart, Barbara Michaels, or Phyllis Whitney then give this book a try. I'm betting that you will enjoy it as much as I did. I am just pumped about this series, and since I have a wait until book two, I've decided to try this authors other books in the meantime. I've got a list of favorite cozy mystery authors and Julia Buckley is going on this list. Highly recommended! Bottom Line: I adored this book from beginning to end! Disclosure: I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher and NetGalley.
MasonCanyon 6 months ago
Author Julia Buckley addresses the dream of many readers and some writers – to be the assistant to their favorite author. The plot is fresh and intriguing with crafty new characters. The small town setting will draw you in as the secondary characters add depth to the story. With a mystery in a mystery, readers will be pulled in as the story unfolds. A DARK AND STORMY MURDER has a plausible cast of characters in a setting you’d want to visit (minus the murder of course). The story moves at a good pace with twists and turns to keep you guessing. This is a fun start to a fascinating new series that promises to keep us on our toes as fantasies of our dreams play out. FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.
KrisAnderson_TAR 7 months ago
A Dark and Stormy Murder by Julia Buckley is the first book in A Writer’s Apprentice Mystery series. Lena London has finished graduate school and is looking for a job when she receives a call from her friend, Allison. Allison has the perfect job for Lena. Allison happens to be in a knitting group with Lena’s favorite writer, Camilla Graham. Camilla is looking for a ghost writer (of sorts). Camilla is a writer of romantic suspense and Lena has been a fan since she was a teenager. Camilla needs someone to brainstorm with her, do research, and do some writing. Lena is the perfect candidate. She did her graduate thesis on Camilla and her work. After a phone interview, Lena is hired. She will get to live in Graham House with Camilla. Lena arrives and quickly settles in. She is looking out a window and notices someone on the beach—and they are not moving. Camilla and Lena go to check and find Martin Jonas dead. Martin was a waiter at Wheatgrass, a restaurant owned by Adam Rayburn (who visits Camilla regularly). This is just the first incident. It seems that someone is coming onto the property at night. If it was not for Camilla’s dogs, they would never know. However, whenever they investigate the person (or persons) have disappeared. What is going on? Then Lena hears about a “secret” regarding Graham House. Does the house have a secret? Then there is the matter of Sam West. Sam is Camilla’s closest neighbor. He came to Blue Lake, Indiana to get away from the press and rumors in New York. A year ago Sam’s wife disappeared. Sam was accused of the crime, but there is no proof (and no body). Now people are accusing Sam of Martin’s death. Lena does not believe that Sam is guilty and is quite vocal on the matter. Then blood is found in Sam’s New York apartment and it belongs to his wife, Victoria (and Sam was in New York recently). Lena wants to find a way to prove Sam innocent. Looks like life is not so quiet in Blue Lake as Allison indicated. Join Lena as she sets out to get answers. A Dark and Stormy Murder was not bad for a first book in a new series. The book is easy to read, but had some slow parts (especially when Lena got off on her thinking tangents). The murder occurred too early in the book which made the novel seem really long (thought it was not). There was one thing that I found just odd. I did not understand Lena defending Sam so vehemently. She had just met the man, but she was absolutely convinced of his innocence. How can you be certain a man is innocent if you just met him (and know nothing about him)? I give A Dark and Stormy Murder 3.5 out of 5 stars. There was some repetition of information (an example is Camilla’s books and how much Lena enjoyed them). I enjoyed the two mysteries especially the one regarding the murder of Martin Jonas. They were interesting (if I say more it would be a spoiler) and complicated (especially the Sam West case). Unfortunately, only one case gets wrapped up in A Dark and Stormy Murder. We will have to wait for the next book to see what happens regarding Sam West and his missing wife. A Writer’s Apprentice Mystery series has potential. I think with more character development it can be a good series to enjoy. I will be reading the next book. I received a complimentary copy of A Dark and Stormy Murder from NetGalley (and the publisher) in exchange for an honest evaluation of the book.
chefdt 7 months ago
A Dark And Storm Murder is the first book in the A Writer's Apprentice Mystery series. Lena London has just gotten her dream job. Her friend, Allison, called to let her know that Camilla Graham, one of Lena's favorite authors was looking for an assistant. Lena immediately called and a week later is heading for Blue Lake, IN to start a job she had only hoped to have. The day after arriving, Lena decides to take Graham's two German Shepherd for a walk and to take a look at the town of Blue Lake. As she begins her walk, she meets Sam West, a neighbor to Graham, who seems very unfriendly and recluse like. She soon learns that he had been accused of murdering his wife, but the police were never able to find her body or enough information to charge him. Most of the residents of Blue Lake have shunned him, but something tells Lena that he is not guilty of anything. Then later the same day, as Lena is looking out the window of her room, she sees what appears to be a body on the beach of Blue Lake. When Camilla and Lena go down to the lake they find the lifeless body of Martin Jonas. Then strange noises begin to be heard in Graham's house, some are even enough to set the dogs on edge. This is enough for two mystery writers to start to investigate where the strange noises are coming from and if they might have anything to do with the body of Jonas. In the meantime, Lena has begun to search the internet for information on Sam West and what might have happened to his estranged wife. Two suspenseful mysteries to solved in this exciting new series. A little more suspense and excitement than most of the cozy type books that I read and it was quite nice to read a more serious story. Not really dark, more like dusk. Buckley provides the readers with interesting and enjoyable characters and I hope that we will learn more about some of the local residents. I feel there is more to learn about Sam West and am looking forward to seeing where his character goes and also with Doug Heller, a detective with the Blue Lake Police. Most definitely will be watching for the next book in this exciting series.
LisaKsBooksReviews 7 months ago
There are many things I can say about this first book in the new series by author Julia Buckley. The first thing that comes to mind? That would be . . . WOW! A DARK AND STORMY MURDER is a brilliant mix of the feel of Agatha Christie, Caroline Keene, and also a little bit Hitchcocky, but wonderfully balanced by Julia Buckley. This extraordinary story is cozy in all senses of the word, but with a certain something that makes it stand apart. From the third page I had already clicked with protagonist Lena London, and her friend Allison. By the end of chapter two, I was fascinated with Lena’s writing hero, Camilla Graham. As I kept reading, I couldn’t wait to see who I was going to meet next! Ms. Buckley has penned an amazing story of classic mystery, suspense, and intrigue. Her writing is so on point, I could smell the rain hanging in the dark clouds. Every description pulled me further in, leading me through more than one mystery, and holding my in its grip until the wonderful conclusion. With the way this book ended, the next installment promises to be just as amazing! Check out the back of the book for an excerpt from, THE BIG CHILI, book one in Julia Buckley’s Under Cover Dish Mysteries.
KimHeniadis 7 months ago
I love finding new authors, and if they happen to write Cozies (or Urban Fantasy), I’m even more ecstatic. A Dark and Stormy Murder is the first book in A Writer’s Apprentice Mystery series, and I’m looking forward to the next one. Especially since Buckley left us with a huge cliffhanger at the end of this one. There are actually two mysteries in the book, and while we find out who the bad guys are for one mystery, the second one will hopefully be revealed in the next book. Although the way Buckley wrote it, I could see this mystery going on for a few books. I know that’s really vague, but it would be a huge spoiler if I said anything more. The premise for this series is awesome! I’m sure many fellow readers (who are often writers too), would love to be an assistant to one of their writing idols, I know I would. Besides the great pay that Lena receives, she also gets to live in a gorgeous home, eat meals prepared by a professional, and enjoy the company of two dogs (along with her cat). If I wasn’t married, this would be my ideal situation. The way Buckley weaves the two mysteries together is done expertly, and so is her character building. I felt so much emotion from each character that I felt as if I knew the secondary characters as well as the main ones. And her description of the town’s architecture (inside and outside of the buildings) is done with a master’s hand. Just an excellent book all the way around, and I will be the next in the series to my list, so I make sure to keep an eye out for it’s release date.