Last Pen Standing

Last Pen Standing

by Vivian Conroy

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Will this paper trail run cold?

As the new co-owner of Tundish Montana's stationery shop WANTED, Delta Douglas knows how to organize a killer crafting event. Creativity and cardstock are all she needs to move one step closer to her ultimate dream: developing her own line of crafting products. But on the night of the workshop, at the swanky hotel venue, glitter isn't the only thing found sprawled on the floor. A hotel guest is discovered dead in the bar, and amid the confusion, Delta's best friend is suspected of the crime.

Enlisting the help of her Paper Posse and Spud, her canine sidekick, Delta dives into the investigation. But with many high-powered suspects on the line, Delta soon realizes her sleuthing may come with deadly consequences.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781492684039
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication date: 09/24/2019
Series: Stationery Shop Mystery Series , #1
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 110,722
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 0.80(d)

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Stream Title 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
TheCozyReview 8 months ago
Series: Stationery Shop Mystery - Book 1 Author: Vivian Conroy Genre: Cozy Mystery/Craft/Hobby Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press Page Count: 288 From Poisoned Pen Press comes a new cozy mystery series “Stationery Shop Mystery “ Last Pen Standing by author Vivian Conroy. This book is a nice start to a new series that will grab the reader’s interest. The stationary business is captivating and unusual, which should keep readers, especially crafters, enthusiastic, and happy. Delta is a great character to start a new cozy mystery series. She is filled with hope for the future. She cares deeply for her friends and family, and she wants to be herself, creative, and at peace. There is little to dislike about Delta. Other characters, such as Hazel and Jonas, are noteworthy. I hope we get to learn more about them as the series progresses. I would also love to find out more about Gran. The location of Montana should be a splendid backdrop for this cozy mystery series. The town of Tundish is where a mining state of mind is alive and well, rich with history, and filled with a future of charming descriptiveness that will have readers craving a look at an old west mining town. The victim, suspects, and law enforcement are memorable. The victim is not someone readers will empathize with. But most of the suspects and the killer will have readers on edge and worried about their favorite character. It's easy to like almost all of them, including the murderer, it would be nice if they remain in the series to keep Delta on her toes. Overall, this book is a good start for a new cozy mystery series. That is not to say that I didn’t find fault with Last Pen Standing. I felt that the story needed more and better information regarding the background of the main characters. Some of the situations that Delta gets into were not entirely believable. To top it off, I had a real issue with the local sheriff. In general, law enforcement, even in a very remote and small-town would never arrest someone based on the evidence presented at the time of the murder. Due to the aforementioned issues, I can’t give this book five stars. However, I look forward to seeing the characters and the situations expand in future volumes.
neptune75 9 months ago
Delta receives a monetary gift from her grandmother that she then uses to buy into a partnership of a store with her friend in a tourist town in Montana. She just gets to town and immediately there is a murder at the lodge during a party. Her friend Hazel is arrested along with Hazel's brother, for the murder. I found the story to be stilted and stiff. The characters were either stereotypes or interchangable. I honestly had a hard time remembering which was Delta and which was Hazel. None of them are particularly interesting. Hazel and her brother are arrested so fast that is it unbelievable. Many of the situations that they characters are involved in are unbelievable.
Dollycas 10 months ago
Dollycas’s Thoughts Delta Douglas has come to Tundish, Montana to follow her dreams. Her grandmother has gifted her inheritance early so she can go into business with her best friend Hazel as co-owner of a stationary store set up in an old sheriff’s office, complete with jail cells. Hazel has fittingly named the store WANTED. Delta’s plans include developing her own line of crafting supplies and products. Delta arrives in town just in time to help Hazel host a workshop at The Lodge Hotel. The hotel is a busy place with a huge party in the ballroom while the WANTED workshop takes place in a large conference room. The hotel manager is adamant the two groups remain separate clearly favoring the well to do guests attending the party. One of the exclusive guests apparently didn’t get the memo because she wanders into the workshop clearly taken with the crafts especially some very special notebooks. She asks that they are set aside for her until she can return to pay for them. The workshop ends without the woman returning so Delta and Hazel decide to leave the notebooks at the front desk. Before they can leave the building they learn someone has been murdered. Hazel and Delta find themselves wrapped up in the chaos and the crush of people as the police arrive. The police pay special attention to Hazel and her brother Finn, who is employed by the hotel and involved with the owner’s daughter. In fact, the siblings are quickly loaded into police cars and taken in for questioning. Not sure what has really happened Delta enlists the help of the ladies from the workshop, also known as the Paper Posse. They are familiar with the town and its residents but she can get away with being the new girl in town to ask some pointed questions too. She knows she is on the right track when she receives her first threat. ___ Welcome to Tundish, Montana. The author introduces readers to a vast number of characters keeping each one unique and memorable. Delta Douglas in a talented artist ready to make her break into the world. She and Hazel were college roommates then quickly became best friends. Hazel was not fully truthful with Delta on a very important topic and that gave me pause. We also meet Jonas Nord, a retired Detective, and his dog Spud also retired from law enforcement. He seems to have a good head on his shoulders, the opposite of the police chief who just wants to arrest someone. There is a large number of supporting characters, mostly the owners, staff, and guests at the hotel. People with secrets make fabulous suspects. I really didn’t have a favorite character in this story, they are just too new. But I am looking forward to the next book to get to know them better. I especially want to get to know that Paper Posse better, they seem to be a very interesting group. I love where this story takes place. A wild-west town that tourists love to visit. I am not sure yet if I have a complete picture of the stationery store in my head yet. Hazel has tried to keep the sheriff’s office intact as much as possible while displaying some artifacts to show the town’s history while also displaying all the goods for sale in a way to draw her customer in and entice them to make a purchase. The hotel was easy for me to envision and I would love to visit the gold mining museum. The mystery had its share of twists and turns to keep those pages turning. The flow dipped a few times though and some of the characters actions were a little out there, but the author
Anonymous 10 months ago
Delta Douglas is thrilled to be the new co-owner of a stationary shop with her best friend, Hazel. However, on her first night in her new hometown, a guest is murdered in the hotel where they are hosting a crafting workshop. The police immediately arrest Hazel's brother Finn, who was seen behaving suspiciously at the crime scene. Hazel tries her best to protect her brother, which results in her also being arrested. With the help of her new friends, Delta is determined to catch the real culprit and get her friend out of jail. This is a wonderful introduction to a new series. It is an entertaining, easy to read cozy set in a charming old western town in Montana. The characters are fun and unique. I really liked the Paper Posse ladies and hope to see more of them in the upcoming books The mystery is suspenseful and well crafted. This is an excellent debut cozy and I look forward to the next book. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Last Pen Standing by Vivian Conroy is the first book in A Stationery Shop Mystery series. I enjoyed this debut and look forward to the next in series. The author has written a smart, fun cozy series with interesting charcters and a fun sleuth. Thank you to the Publisher and to Net Galley for the ARC. My review opinions are my own. Delta Douglas had been working as a graphic designer at an ad agency until she received a inheritance from her Grandmother. Now her dream is to come true of owning a stationery shop to create a line of products. Delta invests in her best friend’s shop, "Wanted" in Tundish, Montana . The shop is described as being part of a old west building that was a jail . I loved the western feel to this series ! This gives the series a fun small town atmospheric feel that I enjoyed. When a dead body is found at nearby Lodge Hotel, Sheriff West right away arrested her friend Hazel’s brother, Finn. He also has Hazel spend the night in the jail because she lied. The Sheriff is determined to hold Finn as the primary suspect. Our protagonist steps up to investigate with a little help from her friends. A interesting addition is Jonas Nord, a wildlife photographer and ex-cop, who Delta ask to help clear Hazel and Finn. Jonas has a endearing dog that is a fun part of this series and I hope to see both Delta and his dog in further books. Delta is also helped in her quest to free Hazel's Brother by her group of crafter friends. All the supporting charcters add to the fun of the story . I loved the old west theme, the friendships and our new protagonist. The sleuth was well crafted with twists and turns to keep me guessing until the conclusion. I enjoyed this fun debut and look forward to the next in series.
4GranJan 10 months ago
Cozy Mystery in the Bitterroot Valley, Montana This book is the first in a series. It is a good story that has so many moving pieces that I found it hard to keep track of everything. There are a significant number of secrets surrounding the victim. Many of the others in the story also have significant secrets. The cast is topped off with a former K-9 officer with his dogs. That alone should have sold me on the story, but it didn't. I'm hopeful that the next in this series is better. I received this ARC book for free from Net Galley and this is my honest review.
the_judylwd 10 months ago
Last Pen Standing is the first novel in a new series and it was one heck of a debut! I LOVED this book! Delta gives up her job to become co-owner of Wanted, a stationary shop. The store is in what was once an old jail, which is very original. Her arrival doesn't go smoothly when her best friend's brother is arrested for murder. It is up to Delta, Jonas (along with Spud & King) and the rest of the Paper Posse to figure out the real murderer. I got such a kick out of The Paper Posse and their nicknames. I think Rattlesnake Rita was my favorite! I also loved that I did not figure out who the murderer was right away. The author did such a great job with the suspects; any one of them could have done it. I am eagerly looking forward to the next book! Thank you to Netgalley and Poisoned Pen Press for the ARC. All opinions expressed are my own.
KrisAnderson_TAR 10 months ago
Last Pen Standing by Vivian Conroy is the first book in A Stationery Shop Mystery series. Delta Douglas had been working as a graphic designer at an ad agency until she received a sizable check from her Gran on her thirtieth birthday. It allowed her to make her dream come true of owning a stationery shop where she can use her sketches to create a line of products. Delta invests in her best friend’s shop, Wanted in Tundish, Montana (the town with a heart of gold). While Delta is prepared for the creative aspects of the job, she seems to be lacking in business knowledge (or even how to run a cash register). When a dead body is found at Lodge Hotel, Sheriff West is quick to arrest Hazel’s brother, Finn. He also has Hazel spend the night in the jail because she lied. Sheriff West is portrayed as a small town know-it-all who seems to take rumors as fact (and plays fast and loose with the law). There are several viable suspects and I love how the author led us down the wrong path a time or two. Jonas Nord, a wildlife photographer and ex-cop, is drafted by Delta to help clear Hazel and Finn. Jonas is accompanied by Spud, a former K-9 dog, who has a good sniffer. Delta is also aided by the Paper Posse which is a group of crafters who live and work in town with Wild West nicknames (like Calamity Jane). I wish the author had taken the time to give us Delta’s background so we could get to know her. There are tidbits dropped here and there, but I wanted a more solid history so I could get to know Delta. We are also lacking details on Tundish and the Paper Posse. While reading Last Pen Standing you will need to suspend your disbelief now and then (an example is holding someone in jail overnight because they lied). My mother claimed I was overthinking things (maybe), so I will let you form your own opinion. There were some slow sections that I found myself speed reading to get through. Last Pen Standing has an interesting idea with a stationery shop housed in an old west type jail. I found Jonas to be a likeable character along with Mrs. Cassidy who runs the Paper Posse. I hope we learn more about Delta in the next book along with creating a line of products based on her designs. Last Pen Standing is a satisfying debut cozy mystery with endearing erasers, a villainous victim, glistening glitter, rogue rumors, a senseless sheriff and a determined designer.
Chatting-About-Cozies 10 months ago
I’m a fan of stationery, pens, ink stamps, cards, and journals, so I knew this book would appeal to me. The gorgeous cover had me at Hello! I liked the concept for the setup of this debut cozy series and enjoyed the rural autumn descriptions in the foothills of Washington State. Protagonist Delta Douglas uses a monetary gift from her Gran to purchase co-ownership in a stationery shop run by her friend, Hazel. Delta and Hazel present a craft workshop at a local hotel owned by the Taylor family on the same night a gold miners party is being held. When a murder occurs, it becomes apparent that the Taylor family is in turmoil and that nearly all members have problems which may, or may not be, connected to the victim. Several times during the story, I found my attention wandering after some far-fetched actions by one of the characters (the sheriff, for example, and how he handled suspects). By the time the author glues all the clues together at the end, the killer reveal didn’t surprise me, and left me feeling a bit let down. My review is 3.5 Stars rounded up to 4 stars. I reviewed an unedited digital ARC provided by NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for an honest review. Thank you.
chefdt 10 months ago
Last Pen Standing is the first book in the A Stationery Shop Mystery series. Delta Douglas’s lifetime dream is to take the many, many sketches she has made over the years and have them reproduced on various stationery items. Her Gran has decided to give Delta her inheritance now so Delta can buy a share in her best friend, Hazel, a stationery store in Tundish, Montana, and Gran can watch Delta’s dream come true. The evening of Delta’s arrival, Hazel suggests that they go to the Lodge Hotel. The hotel is having their annual gold miners party and Hazel wants Delta to check out the hotel for future craft classes that their stationery store, Wanted, could sponsor there. While checking out the rooms, Delta overhears a rather vocal argument between two ladies one of whom she recognizes. Later as they are in the lobby, Hazel’s brother Finn comes out the bar saying that there is a dead woman in the bar. The sheriff soon arrests Finn in the later and holds Hazel in jail for trying to cover-up for Finn. Delta is anxious to clear her friends and starts to investigate. She is soon joined by Jonas a retired K-9 police officer and an interesting group of women who are friends of Hazel who now calls themselves the Paper Posse. I found this to be a very interesting beginning to the new series. I thought it is well-written and plotted with interesting characters and plenty of red herrings that kept me guessing to the end. I’m looking forward to learning more about some of the characters. I will be watching for the next book in this interesting series.
Tangen 10 months ago
cozy-mystery, excop, small-business, small-town, friendship, women-sleuths Delta comes to small town Montana to get out of her rut and make her dream come true by partnering with her friend in operating a stationery store and giving classes. Just after the first class a rather wealthy woman with local connections is murdered and the friend's brother seems to be railroaded as primary suspect. Enter a former K9 handler/wildlife guide/photographer, a group of other shop owners who also want the right suspect arrested, and a substantial suspect pool. Let the sleuthing begin! Good plot complete with twists and red herrings. A good read! I requested and received a free ebook copy from Poisoned Pen Press via NetGalley.
Nancy0708 10 months ago
A strong start to a new series. Delta Douglas moves to Tundish, Montana to live her life's dream of producing her own line of stationery products while also being a co-owner of a stationery shop. Immediately things go from "glitter to murder" and now Delta needs to help clear her friend and her friend's brother from bogus charges. I look forward to getting to know the characters better in future books. Thanks to Poisoned Pen Press and NetGalley for an ARC. The opinions expressed are my own.
Katherinestamps 10 months ago
I really enjoyed this book in the new Stationery Shop Mysteries series. This is the first in the series. Delta, the co-owner of the stationery shop Wanted in Tundish, Montana is new in town. Her longtime friend Hazel lives in town and when Delta had a change in careers, Hazel welcomed Delta as her partner in the venture. Delta's first workshop at a local hotel is more than she expected. A hotel guest is found dead. Delta, along with the friends calling themselves the Paper Posse, jump in to solve the crime when Hazel's brother Finn is the primary suspect and Hazel has been arrested, too! I enjoyed the descriptive writing of Ms. Conroy in this book, as I have never been to Montana myself, it seemed magical. I thought the paper posse was fun and I would enjoy further books in the series. Thanks to #NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
Splashesintobooks1 10 months ago
This is the first book in a new series by this talented author. It features Delta Douglas as the lynchpin of the investigation into the death of a guest at the local hotel. Her grandmother decided to give Delta most of her inheritance whilst she is still alive, hoping to see who Delta will use the money to follow her dreams. Delta has gone into partnership with her friend, owning and running a stationery shop in Tundish, Montana. When she moved to the small town location, she never dreamed that someone would be killed or that her partner would be arrested as part of the investigation. Determined to prove her partner is innocent and to bring the real murderer to justice, Delta embarks on investigating just what happened. As she does so, she uncovers secrets, lies and danger. She is helped by the Paper Posse, an ex-policeman and a retired K9 officer, Spud. It is a story filled with intrigue, a great read. I can't wait to read more in this series in future to discover just what happens in this close knit community and to see if romance will develop between Delta and someone in this story. I requested and was gifted a copy of this book via NetGalley and this is my honest review after choosing to read it.
Karen-Hollins 10 months ago
Last Pen Standing” is the 1st book in Vivian Conroy's new “Stationery Shop Mystery” series and it’s off to a great start! Our protagonist Delta Douglas resigns from her graphic design career only to end up co-owner of a stationery shop with long-time best friend Hazel. On the night of the crafting workshop, at the swanky hotel venue, glitter isn't the only thing found sprawled on the floor. A hotel guest is discovered dead in the bar, and amid the confusion, Delta's best friend is suspected of the crime. Can Delta and her sidekicks solve the crime. Both these characters could be a little more fleshed out but I am assuming this will come in the next instalment. I enjoyed the side characters like the Paper Posse ladies as well as former police detective Jonas and his former K-9 officer Spud! The mystery is interesting and there are plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing. The story moves at a steady pace, and I had a hard time putting it down. I recommend this book to all my cozy lover friends. I requested and received an Advanced Reader Copy from the Poison Pen Publishing and NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Anonymous 10 months ago
I have read other books by this author and really enjoyed them! Sadly, this one just really didn't work for me. There were aspects of the conversations that left me asking, "Would I really confide such personal information to a total stranger, to someone who has just arrived in town?" The end of the story came rather suddenly and felt a little predictable. The emotions and actions also felt a little at odds from the circumstances the main character found herself in. I am grateful to Netgalley, the publisher and the author for my advanced copy to review.
CozyOnUp 10 months ago
What would you do if a family member gave you a financial windfall? When Delta’s grandmother gives her some money rather than waiting for her to inherit it, she has some choices to make on how to spend it. So she quit her job and moved to Tundish. Montana to become her friend’s business partner at Wanted, a stationery and paper crafting store. Wanting her grandmother to see the return on her investment, Delta is eager to share pictures and updates to document her progress. But as soon as she arrives in town, her business partner is thrown in jail when she lies to protect her brother who is arrested for murder at a swanky party at the local hotel. Definitely not the story she wanted to share with her grandmother, but knowing she will see it eventually, she decides to tell her grandmother the truth. Soon Delta and the Paper Posse, the local crafting group, are hard at work trying to clear Hazel and her brother and find the real murderer. Old West ambiance adds to the charm of this new series and delivers a solid first entry. Looking forward to the next visit to Tundish!
TPulyer 10 months ago
Last Pen Standing is a delightful new cozy series by Vivian Conroy with an unexpected wild west twist. Reading the novel is like sitting down with your favorite unsolved puzzle - as fascinating to experience as it is to solve. Despite a slow start, once the Paper Posse is introduced, the pace picks up, and the excitement begins. What I Liked: The classic catch-the-murderer trap utilized. Delta and Jonah create a simple trap to catch the murderer, and though the killer realizes it is a gotcha moment, it is still is a lot of fun. I haven't seen that technique used in a while, and I realize how much I enjoy that particular plot device. I really connected to the character of Jonah (and his dog Spud), as well as the Paper Posse. One provides professionalism to the story while the other provides laugh out loud humor. Both elements are beneficial to keep the story entertaining. Wild West references and the overall setting result in a unique tone to the story. Both fun and yet serious at the same time, the play on nicknames and the store being an old jailhouse is simply delightful and unique. What I Wish: The first 25-30% of the novel captured my attention more. I almost did not read further, but after looking at other reviews, I felt it must get much better. I am so glad I forged on because it really is a great mystery and enjoyable read. The sheriff was more redeemable instead of completely and unequivocally odious. I disliked him so much that I was hoping he would get murdered. I don't think that he really adds to the story at all even though he probably should. There had been something in Delta's character that made her stand out more. Delta Douglas is, so far, very vanilla. I just wanted something more from her – even a quirk or bad habit would have created more interest. Perhaps, as the series progresses, we will see some of her unique traits. To Read or Not to Read Even though the novel has a slow beginning, it picks up and becomes a fun read that shouldn't be missed. I can't wait to see more of Delta Douglas, Jonah, Spud, and the Paper Posse in the future. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
MKF 10 months ago
Delta is new to Tundish, Montana, where she's become a co-owner of the stationary shop with her friend Hazel. Don't you love reading the first in a new series? Fans of crafting cozys will enjoy this one for the fun details involving paper and for the mystery, of course. Hazel and Delta host a crafting event at the local hotel but unfortunately, Vera is murdered. And then Hazel's brother Finn is arrested for the crime and she also ends up in jail as a result of her efforts to free him. Loved the Paper Posse of crafts and Jonas, a retired detective and his dog Spud. Thanks to netgalley for the ARC. Some twists, some turns, and it's a good set up for future installments.
GraceJReviewerlady 10 months ago
I have read a fair amount of ‘cosy’ mysteries over the years; I’m happy to say this one is different altogether! Delta Douglas has packed up and moved to Tundish, Montana, having become part owner of a stationery shop – with a difference. As well as stocking all manner of paper craft goodies, there are also workshops to encourage their customers to make full use of the materials available. Arriving in time for the first evening workshop, Delta is shocked when a dead body is discovered at a nearby glittering event and, as her new partner is under suspicion, she cannot stop herself from investigating .. with a little help from her new friend Jonas and his dog. As I’ve come to expect from the author, this is a well-plotted tale with plenty of characters and, yes, suspects a-plenty! With a whole town to get acquainted with there are a great mix of characters to meet, each with their own idiosyncrasies. Set in a picturesque locations, I can see there will be lots of scope to expand this series. As you would expect, there are plenty of lighter moments and I just adored the nicknames of the ‘Paper Posse’. The store is quirky and easily imaginable from the descriptions, and I’m already looking forward to the next in series. Nothing to complain about here, and I can find no reason not to award this one a full house of stars, with a recommendation to all lovers of good cosy mysteries to add this one to their list without delay!
MoCarney 10 months ago
A solid start to a new cozy series! This one is set in a stationery shop in Montana. Delta Douglas has used the money her grandmother gave her to buy into a stationery store with her best friend from college, Hazel. Their place is full of gold mine themes and is housed in a former sheriff's building/jail. Someone is murdered at a local hotel on the night Delta and Hazel are running a workshop in a conference room. When Hazel ends up behind bars, Delta starts investigating to clear her friend's name. It's so great to catch the first in a new series when it's actually published! This is a good mystery with likable characters. However, there's too much about investigating and not enough about the town or the characters. I don't feel like I really know Delta and don't know Hazel at all. A bit more about their day-to-day life, outside of the mystery, would have been great. I will definitely read any future books in this series. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book.