Includes A Front and Back Cover for You to Color!
By day, Florrie Fox manages Color Me Read bookstore in Georgetown, Washington D.C. By night, she creates her own intricately detailed coloring books for adults, filling the pages with objects that catch her eye. There’s plenty of inspiration in her new apartment—a beautiful carriage house belonging to Professor John Maxwell, Florrie’s boss. He offers the property to Florrie rent-free with one condition—she must move in immediately to prevent his covetous sister and nephew from trying to claim it.
When the professor’s nephew, Delbert, arrives, he proves just as sketchy as Florrie feared. But the following morning, Delbert has vanished. It’s not until she visits the third floor of the store that Florrie makes a tragic discovery—there’s a trap door in the landing, and a dead Delbert inside. The esteemed Professor Maxwell is an obvious suspect, but Florrie is certain this case isn’t so black and white. Doodling clues, she begins to consider other colorful characters on the scene, all with a motive for murder. With a killer drawing closer, Florrie will need to think outside the lines . . . before death makes his mark again.
"Clearly this book was written by a genius." --Buzzfeed
About the Author
Krista Davis is the New York Times bestselling author of the Domestic Diva Mysteries and the Paws & Claws Mysteries. Several of her books have been nominated for the Agatha Award. Krista lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with two cats and a brood of dogs. Her friends and family complain about being guinea pigs for her recipes, but she notices they keep coming back for more. Please visit her at www.kristadavis.com.
Read an Excerpt
"Florrie? Is that you?"
I had just stepped inside the front door of Color Me Read, the bookstore I managed. The owner, Professor John Maxwell, bounded down the stairs. During the four years I had worked at the store, Professor Maxwell had arrived early to contemplate curious matters of history and missing treasures. Sometimes he slept in his office or arrived in the dead of night to pursue some theory in his vast library of uncommon books.
He rubbed his salt-and-pepper beard with one hand. Along his sideburns, his hair turned snowy white. But black pepper crept back in and nearly took over on the top of his head. I guessed him to be about sixty-five. His bronzed skin was as wrinkled as the old maps he constantly perused. I had tried to sketch his face at home, but he would have to model for me to get those creases exactly right. The skin just under his eyebrows had drooped, covering the outer edges of his upper eyelids. The effect was enchanting. His violet eyes were spirited but kind, as though he had discovered secrets as yet unknown to mankind, like a wizard. I had seen a photo of him as a young man and there was no doubt that women must have chased him. Even now, he exuded a powerful presence.
"Florrie! My little artiste. Have you found a place to live yet?"
For years I had rented a tiny apartment in Reston, Virginia, but I longed to live closer to work in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC. I had looked around but rent in the city was high, and I had blown past my roommate years. I looked at every miserable, tiny studio as it came on the market but the dark, dreary holes in the wall were expensive and far too depressing for me. "No. Do you have a lead?"
"How would you like to live in my carriage house? It's an easy walk to work and quite private."
I didn't know what to say. "That, that would be great," I stammered. But a cloud of doubt descended on me fast. "How much is the rent?" Georgetown prices were well beyond my means.
Professor Maxwell's mouth shifted, and he scratched his head. "My sister is pressing me to let her son live in the carriage house behind our family home. I am very sorry to say that her son is a thoroughly odious young man whom I detest. I won't charge you so much as one penny of rent if you'll do me this favor."
Sold! Professor Maxwell had taught history for several decades. I assumed he had interacted with enough young men to know whereof he spoke. But I couldn't quite believe my good luck. "Are you sure? It doesn't seem right to freeload."
"Nonsense. It would be a personal favor to me. And frankly, it would be better for all of us if you lived closer to the store. Snow days, late events, and such, you know."
"I have a cat," I said doubtfully. Peaches was like a baby to me. I wouldn't dream of moving without her.
"Okay!" How could I pass up an offer like that?
"Wonderful." He smiled, clearly pleased, and turned to go. He didn't even take one step before he turned back to me and raised his forefinger. "But there is one caveat."
"You must have it looking like you live there by six this afternoon."
It was nine thirty on a Saturday morning, and I was scheduled to work until five.
As though he read my thoughts, he said, "I'll cover for you. Get going!"
I rushed out the door before he could change his mind. It wasn't until I was on Interstate 66 frantically calling my sister and parents for their assistance that it dawned on me that I had never seen the carriage house. It could be as dreary as the other rentals I had hated.
My father offered to procure a small U-Haul. My mother and sister agreed to meet me at the apartment. By noon, it looked like my home had been ransacked. We sat on the floor to eat Chinese takeout.
My father, who usually approved of my life decisions, shook his head. "I can't believe you would take the place without seeing it first. It must be a dump. Maybe I should check it out before we go to the trouble of hauling everything over there."
My sister, Veronica, protested vehemently. "This is so exciting. It's just like Florrie to move into a home she has never seen. No one else would ever do that. She's such a free spirit."
I had never understood how Veronica and I came out of the same gene pool. A long-legged natural blonde, my sister looked just like my mother had in her youth. Mom was pudgier now but they were both energetic, long-legged extroverts. They had been homecoming queens and popular cheerleaders. I, on the other hand, was quiet and had been accused by my mother more than once of being retiring. I much preferred to pull out my sketch pad and draw, or curl up with a good mystery. I wasn't anti-social but some days I liked my cat, Peaches, more than most people. Unlike Mom and Veronica, I had long brown hair and could reach five feet two inches if I tried to stretch a bit.
"I don't know, Mike," said Mom. "The Maxwell family goes back generations in Washington and the house in which the professor lives is on the historic register."
"How do you know that?" I asked.
"Everyone who grew up in Washington back then knew about the Maxwell family. John was quite dashing and frequently in the news. I remember when his little girl was kidnapped. It was huge news in Washington. Such a sad story."
"Did they find her?" I helped myself to more lo mein.
"It was so long ago. Seems like they didn't. She was with another little girl at a birthday party. The kind of safe place where parents drop off their children all the time. Parents all over Washington were having second thoughts about where they left their children."
"Weren't original carriage houses for horses?" my father asked, clearly not listening to Mom's story.
Mom cringed a little when she said, "I suppose it could be like an old stable."
My father, the sensible one, offered again to check it out and report back. "It's probably a studio above a garage."
There really wasn't time for that, though, and we needed Dad to help us move the bulkier items like the sofa and mattress. In the end, it took longer to pack my art supplies than my clothes.
At three o'clock, with Peaches secure in her carrier, our motley caravan set off for my new home.
A uniformed butler met us at the driveway to the white brick Maxwell mansion. He gestured for us to drive through and past the main house to a one-and-a-half- story building painted vibrant Key West pink.
When we stepped out of our vehicles, the butler introduced himself as Mr. DuBois. A petite man, he appeared older than Professor Maxwell, but he stood quite straight and held his chin high. A man with dignity. He shook each of our hands and welcomed me. "Thank you for rescuing us, Miss Florrie. I fear Delbert, the dreaded nephew, would likely have slit our throats as we slept."
My mother gasped.
The excitement drained out of me. What had I done? Mostly, I was angry with Professor Maxwell for not having mentioned that his nephew might be violent. It wasn't too late to turn around and go back to Reston and the security of my old apartment. Or I could sleep over at my parents' house.
My father wrapped a protective arm around my shoulder. "I hope you jest."
Mr. DuBois did not smile. "I would sooner have the Joker living in the carriage house." He cast a scowling glance at Peaches in her carrier. "I abhor felines, yet I'm willing to deal with yours in order to avoid Delbert the devil. Take care to keep your cat in your quarters."
Mr. DuBois led us to a white door flanked by bluish-green shutters. A brass mail slot reminded me of a mouth in the middle of the door and two small quarter round windows peered at us like eyes.
My dad whispered to me, "I'll stay over with you until we straighten out this Delbert problem."
"Dad! I'm sure that was an exaggeration." At least I hoped it was. Any fears I had burst like overfilled balloons as soon as I stepped inside.
The living room and kitchen had been combined into one large space. On the side away from the main house, the wall was fitted with six sets of eight-foot-tall French doors. A stone fireplace was flanked by what appeared to be ancient and perhaps original columns crafted from finely hewn giant tree trunks so big that I wouldn't have been able to circle one with my arms. The ceiling over the living area was lofted and held up by wooden beams of the same bleached pine shade as the columns and the hardwood floor. I turned slowly, taking in the built-in bookcases that surrounded the fireplace and lined the long wall that faced the main house. The kitchen had been updated with silver-white granite countertops and a substantial refrigerator. The baker in me noted the exquisite oven and cooktop.
Beyond the French doors lay the most amazing part of all. I drifted toward them for a better look. The property had been enclosed with a high wooden fence that barely peeked through a carefully planted forest. Trees, bushes, and flowering vines had grown together so tightly that it was like a private garden in the woods. Slate stones formed a dining patio and a pergola offered shade over it. Narrow slate paths led to far corners and in the middle of it all, the sun caught flashes of goldfish as they swam in a pond.
"I'm sorry, Mr. DuBois," I choked. "There must be a mistake."
"Not at all. Now, may I lend a hand with unpacking so you will be settled before Delbert and his mother arrive? It would be best if the U-Haul were not here then. Professor Maxwell's sister can be quite disagreeable."
By five in the afternoon, the living room and kitchen brimmed with my belongings. The bookshelves had been filled, a bit haphazardly because of our hurry, but my art collection punctuated the spaces between books nicely. My bed had been set up in the single bedroom upstairs over the kitchen, and we had even tossed some clothes into a hamper to make it look lived in.
My father and Veronica took off to return the U-Haul. I had just put on water for tea when my mom screamed.
I looked up just in time to see a portly woman and a man retreat from the French doors and disappear around the side of the carriage house.
Mom's face had gone pasty. "Did you see them? They cupped their hands against the glass and peered in here. Oh, Florrie." She shook her head. "I don't know what kind of mess is going on in Professor Maxwell's family, but maybe you should make other arrangements. I won't sleep a wink knowing that you're here by yourself."
I had to admit that I harbored doubts, too. But I had known the professor for five years and it wouldn't have been at all like him to put me in peril. "Why would Professor Maxwell offer me the carriage house if he thought it would be dangerous?"
Mom swallowed hard. "Some people always put themselves first."
I gazed around the beautiful room. The thing was — I wanted to stay. I wanted to walk two blocks to work. I wanted to be part of the Georgetown scene. And most of all, I wanted to sketch in the serene garden. Why did it have to turn out this way? Feeling melancholy, I poured tea for both of us. I had just handed a mug to my mom when someone knocked on the door.
"Don't answer it," she hissed.
"Mom!" I approached the door slowly, which made no sense but seemed like the right thing to do. As I drew closer, I saw Professor Maxwell standing outside. "It's okay, Mom. It's the professor."
I opened the door and Professor Maxwell stepped inside. "Ah! Linda Fox," he said to my mom, "how lovely to see you." He pecked my mother on both cheeks in a very European way. "I have come to apologize for the rude behavior of my sister and her offspring. They had no business sneaking around the carriage house. Alas, I obviously anticipated that they would not believe me when I said I had a tenant. I expected their boorish manners would lead them to poke around. My sister knows better than that, but I fear her husband has taught her and their son his coarse ways."
"Mr. DuBois said your nephew would kill you in the middle of the night." My mom looked him straight in the eyes when she spoke. I had no idea she had that kind of moxie.
To my utter surprise, Professor Maxwell burst into laughter. "That DuBois. Always prone to drama. I'm sorry if he frightened you." He lowered his voice as though he was confiding in us. "He watches entirely too many true crime programs on TV. DuBois sees murder everywhere. Frankly, my nephew Delbert barely has the grit to tie his own shoes. I have tried to take him with me on trips, but he's uncomfortable if he's more than a mile from a Starbucks. Must have gotten those genes from his father. He's a con artist, for sure, but not violent. In any event, as my sister and her son were thwarted in their plan to appropriate the carriage house, they have now departed to inspect other lodging. You needn't worry about them. DuBois refuses to cook for them, so I shall entertain them in a restaurant this evening. Now that their plans have been dashed, I trust they will be on their merry way after dinner."
"So it's safe for Florrie to stay here?"
At twenty-eight, I felt foolish when I heard my mother ask that question as though I were a child. Nevertheless, part of me was glad she inquired, as I wasn't sure I'd have been bold enough to ask such a thing of my employer.
"Of course. Color Me Read would be a disaster without Florrie running the show. She's like a daughter to me. I would never put her in a dangerous situation. DuBois showed up the moment you arrived, right?"
"Yes," I said.
Professor Maxwell grinned. "DuBois has been with my family a very long time but he's a bit of a worrywart. Not much happens here without his knowledge. I tease him about being part hawk. He'll know if Florrie so much as sneezes. I dare say that with DuBois on top of things, we're safer here than at the bookstore."
"That's a relief. It's such a beautiful spot. Florrie's sister is sorry there aren't two bedrooms."
Frankly, I was relieved about that feature. I looked forward to drawing in the peaceful backyard. Considering our differences, Veronica and I got along very well together. But I cherished my quiet time and Veronica was always lively.
"I'm very sorry if DuBois frightened you. He's a splendid man. You'll grow to like him, Florrie."
My father returned just as the professor left. They shook hands and spoke a minute before Dad barreled into my new quarters. "I hear that was all nonsense about the nephew. You know the professor better than any of us, Florrie. What do you think? Do you want me to stay overnight?"
I could tell he wanted to go home and sleep in his own bed. I assured Dad that I would be fine and sent my parents on their way.
No doubt exhausted by the move, Peaches, a tabby with markings all colors of chocolate and an exotic smattering of peach, had curled up in her favorite plush leopard print bed. One paw draped across her eye as though she meant to block out the world.
I checked the large atomic clock that reset itself daily and was always correct. Fifteen past six. The store would be open until ten to catch the evening crowds of browsers. I had been scheduled to work and felt like I should go in for the remainder of the day.
I dashed up the stairs and hopped in the shower, glad to freshen up after the move. The shower helped me find a second wind after the busy day. I stepped into a skirt printed with scenes of Paris in shades of turquoise and matched it with a square-necked white top and white sandals.
In spite of Professor Maxwell's assurances about dreadful Delbert, I checked to be absolutely certain that all the French doors were locked. Satisfied that Peaches would be safe, I locked the front door and walked the two blocks to the store. I felt thoroughly spoiled to be living so close.
The second I entered the front door, Helen Osgood descended upon me.
"Where have you been? I've been filling in for you all day!" She tapped the golden watch on her wrist. "I have plans tonight." She stopped being agitated for a moment and beamed. "That cute guy I like so much was here again today."
Behind her, Bob Turpin, who was always starting a diet the next day, turned his eyes up to the ceiling and stuck out his tongue. It was all I could do not to laugh.
Helen hurried behind the register and retrieved her purse. She tossed her glorious mane of rich copper hair over her shoulder. Helen was frustrated by her job at the bookstore. I had trouble relating to that, but I noticed that she didn't read much. She had become the store expert on children's books, though, and had even instituted an hour on Saturday mornings when she read to children. She seemed happiest when she was surrounded by kids.
Excerpted from "Color Me Murder"
Copyright © 2018 Krista Davis.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Good cozy, interesting characters and she kept me guessing till the end. Love to escape into the world's she creates. Looking forward to the next one.
When Professor Maxwell, owner of the bookstore Color Me Read, offers Florrie Fox a timely place to live, within walking distance of the bookstore, she jumps on it. There is one caveat, she has to move in immediately so he can prove to his unsavory nephew and sister that someone is really living in the carriage house behind his mansion. This is the first in a new series and is off to a good start. I liked getting to know Florrie, Sergeant Jonquille, the various customers and workers at the bookstore. Florrie's family is also close by, providing a golden for companionship when needed. I thought there was a good bit of information about the history of older homes in Georgetown and the twists that kept coming (along with multiple sightings of varied people) kept me guessing until the very end. I will look for the next one in the series.
I loved it. Since I bought this book, I now have the pleasure of getting to color the cover. I really enjoyed all the characters, and think it's the great start to a new series. In the meantime, I now can go and read other books in other series by Ms. Davis.
I loved this book and I do all Ms. Davis' books. Florrie is the manager of a bookstore that not only sells books but also coloring books that Florrie herself has designed. When her boss Professor Maxwell offers her his guest house which will solve two problems, she lives close to work and it keeps is nephew out. This seems like a good idea until she finds a dead body and her boss is accused of murder. I love the characters, people that you meet everyday. The mystery was excellent, it kept me guessing until the end, I did not figure it out. There is plenty going on in the story that keeps you turning the page. I will definitely continue on with this series.
This is the first book in a news cozy mystery series by Krista Davis. I enjoy her other series, so I thought I would give this one a try. The additional piece of fun with this book, is that you can colour the cover. Florrie Fox works at a bookshop, Color Me Read, in Georgetown. Professor John Maxwell owns the shop. When his daughter was kidnapped years ago, his marriage fell apart and he became an adventurer, traveling to exotic places. His family is also very wealthy and well known in Georgetown. When his sister wants his nephew Delbert to move into his carriage house, he panics and begs Florrie to move in, free of charge, so he can say that it is already occupied. Needless to say, he does not care much for his spoiled nephew. For Florrie, this is a windfall, she will be only two blocks from work and have no rent. It is also a beautiful place with lovely gardens. Shortly after Florrie is moved in, Delbert shows up making fantastic statements insinuating that he is going to inherit everything and Florrie will be out on her ear. When Florrie is worried that Delbert is trying to break in to the carriage house, she tells Professor Maxwell. He tells her he will take care of Delbert and when he is found dead in the book store the next day, the Professor is arrested for the murder. Florrie is sure that the Professor is innocent, so she begins to investigate in order to get him out of jail. There are a lot of twists, revealing situations, people who did not like Delbert and a pretty big suspect pool. I really enjoyed this book!! Florrie is an artist and publishes adult coloring books which are sold at the shop. When she's thinking and gathering clues she draws in her sketchbook, which becomes useful to the police. As the main protagonist, she is intelligent, strong and loyal. Add in some interesting and quirky side characters, a bit of romance with the police detective, a relatively close knit family and a bookshop and yo have a good start to a new series. The plot moved quickly and I enjoyed the story and getting to know this group of characters. I am looking forward to the next one in the Pen and Ink Mystery Series. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.
COLOR ME MURDER by Krista Davis is the first book in the Pen & Ink Mysteries Series. From the way this series has started out, I can’t wait to read every book in the series. The story revolves around Professor John Maxwell, adventurer and owner of the book store Color Me Read who is charged and jailed for the murder of his nephew, Delbert Woodley, and the manager for the book store Florrie Fox, who he not only trust with running the store but who he has placed his faith in to get him out of jail and clear his name. Some of the other colorful characters are Dr. Dubois who is Professor Maxwell’s butler and all ‘n’ all runner of the Maxwell estate, fellow Color Me Read employees, Bob and Helen, Norman Spratt who has a gosh awful crush on Florrie and makes a nuisance of himself, Jim the homeless man that Florrie befriends, Jacquie Liebhaber the Professor’s 2nd wife, Delbert’s two old roommates Lance, Scott and officers of the law Sergeant Eric Jonquille and Detective/Sergeant Guy Zielony and Florrie’s Mom, Dad and sister Veronica. Oh and let’s not forget Florrie’s cat, Peaches, and Florrie’s folks golden retriever, Frodo. After Florrie finds Delbert dead under an old trap door on the landing of the third floor, things start to look bad for Professor Maxwell and he’s arrested. However, Florrie and everyone that knows the professor, knows without a doubt that he couldn’t have possible been the murderer. It seems that there is more than one person that disliked Delbert and would be happy to see him dead. It’s an adventure trying to get through the suspects list, finding clues to whodunit and staying safe along the way. Florrie works at the book store, but her passion is drawing. She has even had some of her intricately detailed coloring books for adults published and they sell them at the store. It’s through her doodling the things on her mind or that she has seen that she tries to figure things out. Along with some snooping on the part of some of the regular patrons of the book store, Jim the homeless man, fellow employees and help from past wife of the professor, friends, family and even a certain policeman that she’s gotten kind of attracted to, Flossie is hot on the trail to getting the Professor sprung from a crime he didn’t commit. The characters in the book are believable. Some you love, some you can relate to and some are like the one person that grates your nerves but put them all together and you have an absolutely wonderful cast for this book. COLOR ME MURDER is a very well written book that will have your quickly turning the pages. It’s interesting, engaging, and out and out fun to read. It will have you guessing to the very end on whodunit and even then you’re totally surprised. I highly recommend COLOR ME MURDER to anyone that loves a wonderfully written mystery book that will leave you knowing the answers but have you wanting to move right in onto the Maxwell estate with your new bunch of friends. With this being the first book, my only question is how long do we have to wait for book #2?
Dollycas’s Thoughts What a unique cover idea. Adult coloring books are huge right now. I gave away quite a few to my family for Christmas with sets of colored pencils. This book brings two favorite things together, a fantastic cozy mystery and color-it-yourself cover art. When you venture beyond the cover you do find a fantastic mystery. We meet Florrie Fox, manager of the Color Me Read bookstore in Georgetown, Washington D.C. The cool thing, she doesn’t just sell adult coloring books in the store, she has also published several herself. Florrie is quite a doodler and the pictures she creates are truly art. Professor John Maxwell owns the store. He is a traveler, his adventures take him all around the world. His office is full of treasures from his travels. He lives on a huge estate with a butler, Mr. DuBois, who runs the household and keep his friend Maxwell on track. There is a guest house on the estate and Professor Maxwell offers the place to Florrie. She is unhappy in her small apartment and Maxwell would rather have her for a tenant than his unsavory nephew Delbert. Delbert shows up at the bookstore and Florrie dislikes him instantly. She understands why his uncle doesn’t want him around. When she arrives that next day a wrinkle in the carpet catches her attention, she discovers the carpeting in covering a trap door, but when she lifts it she is shocked to find a very dead Delbert. There is no way to color this picture any other way but tragic and gruesome. I want to shout about this book from the rooftops! Krista Davis is a great writer, but she has topped herself with this series debut! The characters are so smart, engaging, witty, charming, interesting and fun. I love them already and want to know them better. Heck, I want to move into Professor Maxwell’s guest house so I can be a part of their lives every day. I have only visited Washington D.C. once, but with the author’s descriptions of the area and the bookstore, I could transport myself so easily. All the little details were wonderful. I would love to get lost in all the Color Me Read bookstore has to offer. The plot was rich and flowed at the perfect pace. I found myself so immersed in the story that I realized I didn’t highlight any parts or make any little notes like I do with most books to help me solve the mystery and write my reviews. I sat down and started reading and didn’t put it down until I reached the final word. Well written and well plotted this book has everything I look for in a story and more. A charming and compelling read with an ending that surprised me. A perfect escape, no this one was a trip to Paradise. It deserves more than 5 stars!
I did not want this book to end....I Loved these characters!! When Flossie Fox, the manager of Color Me Read bookstore is asked if she would like to live in the carriage house of her boss Professor John Maxwell, the hitch is she needs to move in right away to keep his nephew from moving in. Delbert the nephew is a huge trouble maker. His mother wants Maxwell to put him up in the carriage house. When Delbert is found dead in the book store, there is a lot of people on the suspect list, but Maxwell is the main one and booked into jail. Flossie knows he is not guilty but must find a way to prove it before it's too late. With the help of all her friends she might just be able to pull it off. Maybe a romance will bloom between Flossie and Sergeant Jonquille. Hope for many more books in this new series.
Florrie Fox, manager of Color Me Read bookstore in Georgetown, Washington, D.C. is looking for a better apartment. She is stunned when her boss, Professor John Maxwell, offers her the carriage house in the back of his property. When she realizes his nephew wants the carriage house for himself, Florrie starts wondering if she made a good move. When Maxwell’s nephew is found murdered and Maxwell is the prime suspect, Florrie decides to investigate. Without the help of a delicious looking cop and some delectable desserts, Florrie may be next on the murderer’s hit list. This was a great start to a new cozy mystery series. I loved Florrie’s independence and compassion, and the way she didn’t always need to fight with other characters. She seemed very mature. I also found the way the main characters helped a homeless man in his plight to be very kindhearted. Overall, the characters were clearly defined and individualistic. Some of them you loved, and some you loved to hate. The plot of the story was very twisty, but not confusing. The only thing was I didn’t know who the culprit was until the end. I literally stayed up most of the night finishing this wonderful book. An advanced reader’s copy was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.
I was given a digital copy of this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Back of the book: “By day, Florrie Fox manages Color Me Read bookstore in Georgetown, Washington D.C. By night, she creates her own intricately detailed coloring books for adults, filling the pages with objects that catch her eye. There's plenty of inspiration in her new apartment--a beautiful carriage house belonging to Professor John Maxwell, Florrie's boss. He offers the property to Florrie rent-free with one condition--she must move in immediately to prevent his covetous sister and nephew from trying to claim it. When the professor's nephew, Delbert, arrives, he proves just as sketchy as Florrie feared. But the following morning, Delbert has vanished. It's not until she visits the third floor of the store that Florrie makes a tragic discovery--there's a trap door in the landing, and a dead Delbert inside. The esteemed Professor Maxwell is an obvious suspect, but Florrie is certain this case isn't so black and white. Doodling clues, she begins to consider other colorful characters on the scene, all with a motive for murder. With a killer drawing closer, Florrie will need to think outside the lines . . . before death makes his mark again. ” Rating: (5/5) Solvability: (5/5) My Opinion: This may be the prefect book. I don't feel like I'm exaggerating when I say that either. Florrie and company were charming. She is loyal and loving, kind to a fault. When her boss ends up in prison Florrie begins questioning things. She doesn't intentionally set out to investigate just to see what she can do to help. Her actions fit her personality to a T. Florrie's sister is the socialite of the family but Florrie catches the eye of one of the detectives. The budding romance was well balanced, it kept the story going without being overbearing. The mystery is perfect. When the last clue slides into place the whole thing suddenly makes sense. The clues were there and when you can see everything together at the end it's wonderful I loved this book. It was amazing and I can't wait for more from this author!
Established cozy author Krista Davis (The Domestic Diva Mysteries and the Paws and Claws Mysteries) has another hit on her hands with this first installment in her new Pen & Ink Mystery Series, Color Me Murder. Florrie Fox is a coloring book artist and the manager of Color Me Read, a bookstore in the tony Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC. When not-so-nice guy Delbert is found brutally murdered and stuffed into a hiding place in the bookstore, Florrie must work to solve the murder and clear the name of Professor Maxwell - bookstore owner, Florrie's landlord, and Delbert's uncle. Lots of suspects - Delbert's former roommates, his coworkers, even Florrie's sister! Very nicely written, and plenty of room for future installments. Many interesting characters as well, and I really look forward to (hopefully) additional books in the series. Very highly recommended!
Florrie Fox is delighted when her boss offers his carriage house as a place for her to live. It’s only a few blocks from the bookstore she manages. Her boss, Professor Maxwell, doesn’t want his nephew, Delbert, to move in, so it is perfect. Florrie begins to have her doubt when she meets Delbert, but the last thing she expects to find is his dead body. With Professor Maxwell arrested for the crime, Florrie needs to work fast to prove his innocence. This is a delightful start to a new series. Florrie is a strong main character, and I love her friends and family as well. I already can’t wait to visit them again. The plot is complex with multiple twists and turns that surprised me. I did feel the climax was a bit weak, but it certainly did explain everything that had happened. Florrie also designs adult coloring books, and as an added bonus, the physical book features a front and back cover ready to be colored. NOTE: I received an ARC of this book
As I read this book, a quote by Oscar Wilde (by way of Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory) kept going through my head: "The suspense is terrible**. I hope it'll last." (**By "terrible," of course, I mean fantastic.) I found myself alternately trying to speed read to find out what would happen next, and slowing down so I wouldn't finish the book too quickly. Because this is a new series, we get to learn a lot about protagonist Florrie, her family, friends, and coworkers, her workplace, and their neighborhood. But this book is more than descriptions, providing not one, but two missing people, some questionable characters, and a few strong suspects. This book moves at a good pace, and has a good balance of mystery and Florrie's regular life. Because Florrie creates beautiful, intricate coloring books, we get a peek into the creative process and descriptions of colors she uses in her sketches. This book would appeal to any mystery lover who enjoys reading about bookstores, coloring/art, sweet treats, and pets. Readers who are already fans of Krista Davis will appreciate that Florrie, with her love of pets and baking, shares interests with Davis's other protagonists. I was so excited when I learned I was approved for an advance copy of this book! Krista Davis is one of my favorite authors and this is the first of her series that I was able to start as it debuted. All in all, I loved this book and am really looking forward to reading more about Florrie and her Georgetown world! I received a free advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Color Me Murder by Krista Davis is the first book in the new A Pen & Ink Mystery series. Florrie Fox is the manager of Color Me Read in the Georgetown area of Washington, D.C. At night she uses her artistic skills to create adult coloring books. When Florrie arrives at work, Professor John Maxwell (her boss) asks if she is still looking for an apartment. Florrie wishes to move closer to work to cut down on her commute. Professor Maxwell offers Florrie his carriage house (rent free) on the condition that she move in that day. Liddy Woodley, Professor Maxwell’s sister, wants her son, Delbert to live in the carriage house. The last thing Professor Maxwell wants is his odious nephew living on the property. After meeting Delbert, Florrie can understand Professor Maxwell’s feelings. That night someone tries to break into the carriage house. The next morning Florrie stumbles on the third-floor landing. The carpet was not lying flat. Upon investigation, she finds a trap door which opens to reveal a hidden compartment. Inside is Delbert with a spear sticking out of his back. Professor Maxwell is arrested for Delbert’s murder, and he is relying on Florrie to solve the crime. There are many people who disliked Delbert due to his various schemes. Florrie, with the aid of her friends and her sketches, works to cover a killer and free Professor Maxwell. Color Me Murder was an entertaining cozy mystery. The story drew me in right away. I thought Color Me Murder was well-written and had a steady pace (and good flow) which made it easy to read. Krista Davis has an appealing writing style. Florrie Fox is a delightful character. She works at the bookstore and designs adult coloring books which I found unique. While working on solving the murder, she uses sketches (instead of notes). Florrie interprets what she is told into visual images which aid her in solving the crime. Florrie is creative, intelligent, loyal, likeable and she rolls with the punches. There are a couple of quirky characters in the story. Mr. DuBois, the butler, is a hoot. Professors Rosca, Goldblum and Bankhouse are friends of Professor Maxwell’s and are helpful in gathering intel for Florrie. I do hope we get to see more of Professor Maxwell in the next installment (he is a lively gentleman). The author provided lovely descriptions of Georgetown where the bookshop is located and Florrie’s new residence. The mystery is well-constructed and clever. Many readers will be surprised by the culprit’s identity. All the loose ends tie together and are wrapped up neatly at the end of the book. I appreciated that the focus of the book was on the mystery. There is a touch of romance, two adorable animals (a cat and a dog), a beautiful old home with some hidden secrets, an unwanted admirer, humor, a gorgeous necklace and an unexpected ally for Florrie in Color Me Murder. The cover of Color Me Murder (for those that purchase a hard copy) can be colored which ties into the story. There are recipes at the end of the book. I finished Color Me Murder with a grin on my face (no silly characters or inane antics in this story). My rating for Color Me Murder is 5 out of 5 stars (I loved it). I am eager to read to the next A Pen & Ink Mystery.
Color Me Murder by Krista Davis is, I hope, the first in a long running new cozy series. I enjoyed reading every page of this book. Florrie Fox is the manager of the Color Me Read bookstore and a coloring book artist. I found her to be likable, efficient in her management of the bookstore and a little naive about life. Ms. Davis' descriptive writing made me feel like I was in the bookstore or in her carriage house on Professor Maxwell's estate with Florrie. The secondary characters were quirky and fun to meet or diabolical and sad. The characters are developing nicely and I hope to know them better as the series progresses (hopefully). The plot was quickly paced and the twists kept me guessing until the reveal. Simply, I was happy reading this book from start to finish and felt like I had found a new "home" to spend time in. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from Kensington via NetGalley. All of the above opinions are my own.
I love that I have a fantastic new cozy series and new characters to love! The protagonist, Florrie Fox, manages the Color Me Read bookstore, sketches in her free time, and has her own adult coloring book line! How awesome is that! She moves into a gorgeous carriage house owned by her nice, wealthy employer, Professor John Maxwell, and becomes friends with his butler, Mr. DuBois, who has a flair for the dramatic! I chuckled at a lot of his scenes. The story provides a compelling mystery which is all solved neatly at the end. I enjoyed all the secrets that come to light during the book. There’s humor, and a cute cat and dog to love. The book is a page-turner, and thrilling to lose yourself in, and I highly recommend this Debut to Cozy Mystery fans! The author includes delicious sounding recipes at the end. I reviewed a digital arc provided by NetGalley.
Color Me Murder has everything that makes a great mystery--setting, plot with many layers, cast of suspects and of course a body. Color Me Read is a bookstore in the area of Georgetown in Washington, DC where artist and adult coloring book designer Florrie Fox is the manager and where the owner's nephew, Delbert, is found with a spear in his back. The shop is in an old building with a secret compartment in the staircase dating back to prohibition. The only reason that Florrie found the body is because the rug was not lying flat and when she pulled it back, she found a hidden door in the floor. When she opened the door, the body was in the compartment. Delbert was very cunning, devious and lived off the success of others and generally not liked. Lots of people could have wanted him dead but his uncle and bookstore owner, Professor John Maxwell, is the prime suspect. Florrie doesn't believe that Professor Maxwell killed Delbert and sets out to prove his innocence. Ms. Davis does a great job spinning a tale of twists and turns that involves many suspects with a reason to get rid of Delbert. I love the setting of a murder in a bookstore in Georgetown. Florrie is an interesting person with her artistic ability to draw people and things that she sees. She compiles them in a sketchbook of the crime that is helpful for an overview. The ending has a twist that I didn't see coming. I am hoping that this is a new series since there is a large cast of interesting and quirky characters that I could see needing their own story. And maybe a little romance with Florrie and a certain police officer that was a great help to her during this dangerous and tense time is in the future. This is my first book by Krista Davis but I want to go back and check out her other series. Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Publishing for giving me the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Color Me Murder is the first book in the A Pen And Ink Mystery series. This is a great start to a new series by Krista Davis. A well-plotted and told story with a developed and interesting cast of characters. At 9:30 on a Saturday morning, Florrie Fox gets a frantic phone call from her boss Professor John Maxwell owner of Colored Me Read bookstore, asking her if she has found a different place to live yet. Florrie answers in the negative and Maxwell offer her the carriage house with the understanding that she can be done moving in by 6:00 PM. Maxwell’s sister, Liddy, wants the carriage house for her son, Delbert to have. Delbert is the ultimate “spoiled child” and has a history of being a con man and Maxwell wants nothing to do with him. After getting moved in Florrie heads to Color Me Read to work until the store closes. Showing a gentleman upstairs for a book on Churchill, she starts to head for downstairs but hears noise from the third floor. When she goes to investigate, she finds someone sitting at Maxwell’s desk. She informs him that this a private office. The person replies that when he owns the business, she will be toast. Florrie had just met the worthless Delbert. When she tells Maxwell of the encounter, he says he will have it handled by Monday. On Sunday, as Florrie was heading to the rare book room to check on a couple books that a customer called about, she trips on the carpet of the landing going to the third floor. She didn’t remember the carpeting being like that yesterday and upon close examination, she finds that there is a trapdoor in the landing. Wondering if Professor Maxwell knows about this she proceeds to open the trapdoor and is shocked to find the lifeless body of Delbert, stabbed by a spear. Once the police learn of Maxwell’s comment about taking care of the problem, he is arrested for the murder of his nephew. So, with the help of Bob Turpin, an employee at Color Me Read, Florrie sets out to find who really murdered Delbert and clear Maxwell. Also helping Florrie are several of Maxwell’s professor friends and Jim, a homeless man, who is always sitting on a bench in front of Color Me Read. I particularly enjoyed a most interesting cast of characters, the professors are all interesting and prove to be a great help to Florrie. I also liked the character of Jim. A man of few words, for the most part, but for but being a shabby homeless fellow he is pretty much ignored which allows him to see a lot without being caught looking. I’m looking forward to seeing where the author will take this character. Delicious sounding recipes are also included. I am looking forward to the next book in this series.