Addie left some painful memories behind in the big city, including the unsolved murder of her fiancé and her father’s fatal car accident. After an unexpected inheritance from a great aunt, she’s moved to a small New England town founded by her ancestors back in colonial times—and living in spacious Greyborne Manor, on a hilltop overlooking the harbor. Best of all, her aunt also left her countless first editions and other treasures—providing an inventory to start her own store.
But there’s trouble from day one, and not just from the grumpy woman who runs the bakery next door. A car nearly runs Addie down. Someone steals a copy of Alice in Wonderland. Then, Addie’s friend Serena, who owns a nearby tea shop, is arrested—for killing another local merchant. The police seem pretty sure they’ve got the story in hand, but Addie’s not going to let them close the book on this case without a fight . .
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Addison Greyborne breathed in the intoxicating scents of tangy sea air and New England autumn leaves infused with the comforting aroma of fresh-baked bread. Of course, standing on the sidewalk admiring her newly installed red awning with its overhead sign, "Beyond the Page — Books & Curios," contributed to her giddy state of mind, and she pinched herself to make sure it was all real.
Her eyes rested on the bay windows on either side of the glazed entrance. The one to her left displayed knickknacks, gemstones, and candles, and the one on the right was her beloved used bookshop. Both windows were decked out in the fall harvest displays that she'd created herself. She inched backward on the sidewalk, marveling at how eye-catching they would be to passersby. Images of all the other seasonal showcases she'd be able to create flashed through her mind, but then her shoe heel slipped over the curbing.
She teetered backward. Feet spread-eagle, arms pinwheeling in the air, she glanced over her shoulder. A car was coming directly toward her. To her horror, it sped up instead of slowing down. She scrambled and regained her footing. The rush of air across her back rocked her as the black sedan swooshed by. "Slow down!" Addison shouted, but the Honda sped to the next corner, squealed around the sharp left turn, and disappeared down the back side of Town Square Road.
"I guess there are idiots everywhere," she mumbled, taking a deep breath. Addison straightened her navy boyfriend jacket, brushed dust from her dark gray, skinny ankle jeans and rummaged through her purse for the key. Her hand trembled as she tried to fit it into the lock. She gritted her teeth, counted to ten, calmed herself, and tried again. The door swung open. Bells rang overhead, and she let out a comforted sigh. The door chime was a sound she knew she'd never tire of hearing. Excitement bubbled through her as she stepped across the threshold into Beyond the Page.
I'm proud of you, pumpkin, she envisioned her father saying, imagining him standing next to her smiling. A chill quivered across her shoulders. "Thanks, Dad." She smiled, disarmed the alarm, and flipped on the lights.
She scanned the large room, pleased with the past months of hard work. It was done. Perfect. Her best-loved books were prominently displayed along the wall shelves, while standing bookshelves, varying in height and with books arranged by genre, stood in orderly rows in the center of the room. She'd even managed to tuck soft leather armchairs into every nook and cranny, arranging them on small, richly woven area carpets to create cozy reading spaces.
Addison eyed the large glass curio cabinet by the window filled with her beloved collectibles. It fit perfectly at the end of the restored, ornately carved Victorian bar she used as a cash and coffee counter. She wrapped her arms around her chest, hugged tight, grabbed the "Now Open" sandwich board, and dashed outside to erect it on the sidewalk beside the front door. She stood back, and grinned.
"Is this your new shop, then?" called a plump, white-haired woman from the bakery entrance next door.
"Yes. Yes, it is," Addison said, sweeping long strands of hair from her eyes. "Hi. I'm Addison. My friends call me Addie." She walked toward the woman, her hand outstretched.
"Hum." The woman nodded, but didn't reach for her hand. "Thought I heard someone yelling out here a few minutes ago." She cocked her eyebrow.
"Oh. Sorry, yes, that was me. A car almo —"
The woman sneered and walked back into the bakery, smoothing wrinkles from her stained apron.
"Um, I didn't catch your name," Addie called cheerfully, but the woman had disappeared inside.
"Don't worry about her," said an amiable voice behind her.
Addie spun around and came face-to-face with a rather attractive, petite, fiery-haired young woman sporting a poncho as brightly-colored as her hair.
"Martha's just getting crotchety in her old age. She can be pleasant enough, sometimes." The woman laughed.
"Good to know. I was afraid I'd offended her."
"Naw, she's just being Martha. I'm Serena, by the way." "Hi, I'm Addison," she said, extending her hand. "Call me Addie."
"Will do." Serena shook her hand and gestured with her head. "I'm just on the other side of you."
Addie turned. "SerenaTEA — how perfect for a tea shop name."
"Kind of clever, isn't it?" Serena chuckled. "I like yours, too."
"I had a hard time thinking of one — you know, something that said I sold more than books — so Beyond the Page it was."
"I like it ... especially the graphic of the steaming coffee cup on the glass door."
"Thanks. I designed it myself."
Serena cast her eyes downward. "So you sell books, curios, coffee, and ... what?" She shuffled her feet; her toe kicked at a pebble. "Food, too?"
"No, just coffee, and I don't sell it. It's free and just for customers who want to sit and read or browse. Come in, I'll show you around."
"I'd love to." Serena's face lit up. "I've been curious this past month, but there wasn't a sign up, and the windows were covered with newspaper." She laughed. "No one could figure out what was going on in there during all hours of the day and night."
"You should have knocked. I'd have loved the company."
"I did, a few times, but there wasn't any answer."
"Sorry, I must not have heard you." Addie smiled and held the door open. "I was pretty focused."
"Wow, this is fantastic." Serena looked around. "It's so comfortable and homey. The carved wood beams and pillar post finishes are amazing. Are they original?"
"Yes, I had a restoration specialist come up from Boston to — "
"And look." Serena pointed. "You have a huge section on murder and mystery. That's my favorite reading. I love Agatha Christie." Her visual review of the shop took in the gleaming, wide-planked wooden flooring, which Addie recently had restored and came to rest on the Victorian counter.
Addie, who had been following Serena's inspection of the room, blurted out, "that piece isn't original to the store. I found it and had it restored. It made such a perfect cash and coffee bar, I couldn't resist." Serena smiled and then her eyes focused on the coffee maker on the far end of it.
"And see, that's only one of those one-cup pod dispensers. You know, just to make readers and customers feel at home. We could work out something between us. I don't want to take away any of your business."
"Naw, I'm not worried." A smile crept across Serena's lips as she continued to scan the storefront. "There's a big difference between tea and coffee drinkers. I was just a bit afraid when I saw your sign that it was an actual coffeehouse, too. I do sell some pastries."
"No, don't worry. Books and collectibles are all I can manage."
"Good. With the new restaurant down the street, I already have enough competition." Her smile broadened. "So we should get along just fine. Welcome to the neighborhood."
"Thanks. I don't know anyone in town, so ... hopefully we'll become friends, too?"
"Well, we've gotten off to a good start." Serena's dark brown eyes flashed with amusement. "We have an enemy in common with Martha." She chuckled, tossing back her long, crimped red mane. "I've been on this street for almost five years, and she'll still hardly speak to me. She actually called me a 'wannabe hippie' one day. Can you believe that?" "Oh dear, that bad, hey —?"
"Shh." Serena's gaze shot to the back of the shop. "Do you hear that?"
Addie's skin prickled at the scraping sounds, then a voice yelling and a loud thud. "What the —?" She dashed toward the back room, Serena at her heels. After a quick glance around the empty storage area, Addie flung the metal door open, burst into the alley and skidded to a stop. Serena thudded into her, sending Addie staggering forward into a strewn bag of garbage.
"Oh God, sorry," Serena said as she offered a helping hand.
"Not your fault." Addie hauled herself to her feet. "I really should have brake lights installed." She grimaced, wiping trash off her jacket and slacks. "And it looks like I'll need to know the name of a dry cleaner in town, too." "I'll pay for it, but it really was an accident." Serena's face crumbled as she helped remove bits of bread and other unidentifiable matter off Addie's clothing.
"No, you won't. It's just been one of those mornings, and it started long before this."
"Hum," huffed Martha, who stood in the back door of her bakery. "If you girls are finished gabbing about clothes, and you're interested," she said, crossing her plump arms, "an intruder had a crowbar wedged in your door when I came out with the trash. I chased him off when I threw that bag at his head."
Addie eyed the scratches by the latch. Her eyes trailed up to the garbage drizzling down the door. "Yes, good thing you came out here in time to throw the bag and stop him. Thank you."
Martha took a deep breath. "He ran that way, down the alley toward Birch Road." Her ample chest puffed in and out as she turned back toward her shop. "Oh, you should probably call the police." She called over her shoulder, "I've never seen him around here before. Too many strangers comin' and goin' these days." Martha looked back at the two women and shook her white head. "And I expect you gals will clean that up." The bakery door slammed shut behind her.
Wide-eyed, Addie nodded and looked at Serena, then back at her door and the mess on the ground. "Does this kind of thing happen often around here?"
"No, this is a quiet town ... usually. I'm guessing maybe it was Old Bill? He hangs out back here looking for scraps from Martha's, but he's harmless and he's never been known to try to break in anywhere. Martha would've recognized him, though."
Addie scanned the lane and shook her head. "I'll go get some garbage bags and a broom, but you don't have to help. It's my shop."
"Nonsense, we're in this together. It's the least I can do."
"See if you've got any rubber gloves while you're at it." Serena cringed and gingerly picked through the garbage.
"Sure thing." Addie popped into her shop. "Oh no!" she shrieked. "Come look at this."
"What, what, what?" Serena sprinted to her side, stopped short, and gasped.
The sight of the disheveled bookcases brought a lump to the back of Addie's throat as she eyed their contents, which had been pitched across the floor. She glanced at the venetian glass display in the showcase by the window and breathed a sigh of relief that it was still intact. Now, hopefully, she'd find that her beloved books weren't damaged either.CHAPTER 2
"I really appreciate you helping me clean up all the mess this morning, but what about your shop? Won't your customers wonder why you haven't opened yet?"
"No worries." Serena laughed. "My customers know I don't keep regular hours. They'll come back later, and this is the least I can do for a new friend on her not-so-welcoming first day." She placed the last three books on the bottom shelf. "There, we're done." Serena stood up and stretched her back. "Besides, you needed a witness aside from Martha for the police statement."
"Yes, and it helped having a friend who is related to the investigating officer." Addie winked.
"And he's taunted me my whole life, as you saw. Brothers." Serena shuddered. "Well, I'd best be off."
"You know, before you go, think about this and tell me if I'm crazy or not — but I'm thinking now ... and wondering ... if there were perhaps, um ... two people involved, not just the fellow Martha chased off."
"What makes you say that?" Serena's hand paused on the door latch.
"'Cause she said he ran off, not drove toward Birch Road, and we weren't outside long enough for him to run around the two blocks and come back in the front door."
"What are you saying? That it was planned?"
"Yes, and the guy in the lane was just a diversion to get us outside. That there was someone else on the street waiting till we were distracted."
"Hum, but why? It was only the books that were messed up, and the only one that you said appears to be missing is a copy of Alice in Wonderland, and none of your collectibles were stolen, so I don't get it."
"Neither do I." Addie frowned. "The 1961 edition that seems to be gone wasn't worth much. So I don't know why they would break in to steal that."
Serena's brows knit.
Addie shook her head. "I don't even know if it is missing." She shrugged. "It might still be in one of the crates I haven't brought in yet, although ..." She bit her lip and frowned. "Oh, never mind, it's not worth much anyway."
"If you think of anything else, give me a shout, and we'll call my brother. Maybe he's aware of a crime ring operating in these parts I don't know about. But, personally, I think it was just a crime of opportunity or kids messing around. Don't worry." Serena's brow rose. "I'm sure it's fine. Cheers, see you later."
"Yes, thanks again. See you later."
Addie leaned against the counter waiting for her cup of coffee to finish brewing. She gnawed on her lower lip as the events of the morning ran through her mind like a slowmotion movie reel.
Why didn't the bells chime?
She strode toward the front door and opened it inch by inch. When it was ajar by about a foot, the bells rang out. "That's it," she said aloud. Addie grabbed her purse and keys, locked the door behind her, and dashed next door into SerenaTEA.
Breathless, she bolted into the small, empty tea shop. "Serena," she called, "are you here?"
"I'm back here." Serena's red head appeared around the doorjamb leading to the storeroom. "You okay? You're flushed."
"I'm fine, but I think I just figured something out."
Serena stepped out and tossed the kitchen towel she'd been holding into the room behind her before walking over to a kettle steaming on a side table. "Really? What? Take a seat." She motioned to a counter stool. "I was just going to make a pot of Heavenly Delight tea. Want some?"
"Please, sounds perfect," Addie, said glancing at the variety of large, wooden storage bins behind the counter. She noted the sidewall shelves held silver bags in varying sizes, all bearing the red SerenaTEA label. "Do you make all your own tea blends?" Addie inhaled the heady scents of spices and herbs that enveloped her. "It smells wonderful in here," she said as she settled onto a high counter stool.
"Yes, as you can see, the prepackaged ones of my most popular blends come in small, medium, or large bags, but custom blends are my trademark. It's what makes me different from other tea shops around here." Serena smiled as she poured hot water into a stoneware teapot. "So what's up? Have you figured out what he was after?"
"No, not yet. But I'm certain now someone must have been watching me, or us, enter the shop this morning to know about the door chimes. Unless you heard them jingling when we ran into the alley?"
"No, I don't remember hearing anything."
"I don't either, and I know I didn't hear them when I went back in to get the garbage bags, which must have been when he slipped out the front door." Addie took the teacup from Serena's outstretched hand. "Which means whoever was out front must have been tall."
"Because I'm nearly five nine, and I can't reach the chimes well enough to silence them. But when he came in he knew he'd have to reach up and grasp them while he slipped in and out. The ceiling height is at least fourteen feet, and the chimes hang down over the top of the seven-and-a-halffoot door. It only makes sense that whoever ransacked the place was tall enough to reach them. Like I said before, I don't think it was one person, but we'll need a full description of the fellow Martha ran off to see if my hunch is right."
Serena laughed. "Whoa, slow down, take a breath." She reached for the phone on the counter.
"Are you calling Martha?"
"No, I'm calling Marc. I'd rather he question her than us. She's in a real mood today."
"I don't think involving your brother at this point's a great idea. We need proof, not just theories. I know because I've been down this road before. Trust me. The police won't act on hunches." Addie swirled the tea in her cup and knocked back a gulp.
Serena cringed. "It's hot."
"Yeah, I see that." Addie grimaced. "I wasn't thinking."
"You look like you need a stiff drink, not a cup of tea."
Addie shook her head. "A bit too early for that, but I might have one later. Until then, hit me with another one, tea-tender." She held up her empty cup.
Serena went to the side table and poured a refill. "I'm guessing you've been through something like this before?" "Um, sort of, a few times." Addie sighed.
"Wanna talk about it?" Serena handed her the cup.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Murder by the Book"
Copyright © 2018 Lauren Elliott.
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
AudioBook Review: Stars: Overall 3 Narration 4 Story 3 Set in New England, Addie used to work at the Boston Public Library until an unexpected inheritance provides her with oodles of cash and the family home, Greyborne Manor, set overlooking the harbor in the small town. She’s always been a bookish type, so she decides that the time is right for her to open Beyond the Page, a bookstore on the town’s main street. With plenty of her own books, and a space now available she sets to work to open her shop. But all isn’t smooth: we learn that her father has died recently under suspicious circumstances, she lost a fiancé to murder that is yet unsolved, and she’s just looking to put her life together and start again. Instantly things are starting to look dire as she’s almost run down in front of her shop, both the shop and her home have been broken in to and her new friend and owner of a shop on the street is arrested for murder – when her neighbor Martha, owner of the bakery seems to be doing everything possible to see the bookstore not open. Determined to discover who really committed he murder brings Addie into the mix of dramatics as she hires Paige to work for her: Paige is the daughter of Martha who wants the shop closed, and the niece of Marc, the chief of police. And Marc and Addie have this instant connection and chemistry as she first helps in the investigation with her sharp wits and curiosity, and then is pushed off by Marc because of her lack of experience. But there is murder afoot – and perhaps her family history has something to do with it? Obviously there is far more going on here than in the usual cozy, and the connection and flirtation (and drama) between Addie and Marc is the focus of the story, with clues coming almost too conveniently and the frequent back and forth about her ‘ability’ to investigate and Marc’s seeming to dance between allowing her to help or not. Not quite a romantic suspense-level tensions, but more drama and far more attention paid to character building rather than developing the mystery, this could be an intriguing series if it decides which path it will follow. Writing was solid, if there were moments that brought resolutions too conveniently and the overloaded reliance on one more element to build “Addie’s story of mysteries surrounding her and her family’ did have the story wandering about without clear purpose. Narration for this story is provided by Karen White, and with all of her work, she presents the story clearly – giving each character a distinct and unique presence, using pauses, volume and subtle changes in tone to add emotional context to the story, without overwhelming listeners hoping to find from audible clues alone, who is the culprit. And while the mystery itself was fairly simple to work out and decide on the culprit, the narration added to the questions about characters, providing that sense of agenda and purpose that we all have, without raising big red flags to “listen up here” because this is important. As always, White’s work is solid and shows a familiarity with the text, and an understanding of moments that need highlight or downplay without guiding the listener to a solution, but allowing it to unfold as the relationships develop. I received an AudioBook copy of the title from Tantor Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
When Addie inherits some rare books and a huge house from a aunt she barely knew, she decides to start her life over by moving to a small New England town and opens a book store. From day one, she encounters nothing but troubles. The one ray of sunshine is a potential new friend, Serena. When Serena is accused of murdering another local shop owner, Addie decides to put some of her librarian research skills to good use to track down the real killer. Initially I found the dialogue between Addie and Serena to be a bit silly. But soon these two young women grew on me. I came to enjoy their young friendship. This story was different from other cozy mysteries in that Addie actually works with the police department. The police chief is Serena's brother and there is an undercurrent of attraction between he and Addie. I definitely want to read more of this series. My thanks to Kensington Books and Netgalley.
Great reading with turns and twists along the way
Been catching up on a lot of cozy mysteries, this being one of many. A cozy mystery and a bookstore themed. Of course I want to read that. While reading this one, at times the writing style was good to okay. But I started liking the characters the more I read. Addie at times was a little frustating. I was liking Serena and Marc more. But Addie does grow on you and I did like the scenes with her Serena and Marc. And of course the other characters I'm curious about as well. So yeah an alright start but I do want to read more from this series.
The first book in a series and it literally sucked me in from beginning to end!! I can't believe how well-developed everything was and how realistic the characters were. The way the events that led to Addie's moving were intertwined in the story were unexpected and fabulous. There were no draggy bits while you caught back up with something or were prepared for something else; this was so seamlessly integrated that you were along for the ride and never got kicked out of the story over the little things. I think I still have a bit of a book hangover from this and I'm well into another story. I cannot wait to stalk the very next book in this series. Grab this as soon as you can and be prepared to enjoy a lovely adventure. Thank you to Kensington Books, Lauren Elliott, and NetGalley for allowing met the chance to read this story and share my honest thoughts and opinions with others.
5 Stars Rare Book Who Dunnit This is a fantastic cozy mystery centered on a Rare and Antiquarian Book dealer. The plot is exquisitely twisted with plenty of suspects. The action never seems to stop in this exciting book. The characters are realistic, but maybe a little too perfect. This is the first in the series and I will be sure to read them all! This is also the first book of this author's that I have read. She is wonderful at spinning a tale. I received this book for free and this is my honest review.
I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. FANTASTIC!!!! Suspense, intrigue, and romance all rolled into one wonderful book. The flow of the story is exceptional. You will love Addie, Serena, and Marc as they attempt to figure out the mystery. This is a must read! Enjoy!
I was pulled into this story from the beginning and it kept me interested to the end. Addie Grey has background working with rare books with the Boston Public Library and even worked in London for six months in a work exchange at the British Museum. She moved to Greyborne Harbor after her aunt died leaving her Greyborne Manor, her aunt's large estate. Addie has recently lost her boyfriend David, who was murdered and her father to a car accident so she has no family. With her love of rare books and antiquities, she opened a bookstore, Beyond the Page, selling rare books and collectibles. Her first day starts off badly when someone tries to run her down in a black sedan, her shop is broken into and later, her home is broken into. She quickly makes friends with the owner of SerenaTEA, a tea shop next door, Serena, who calls her brother, Chief of Police, Marc, to the scene. This is fast paced and it becomes obvious that someone thinks that Addie has something of value that they want. She doesn't have a clue what that would be but the culprits won't let anyone get in their way as murders start happening and someone in a black sedan follows her around even sitting outside her home. The mystery goes deeper than anyone thought, is far-reaching and bigger than one would expect. Thankfully, she has Serena and Marc to help her get through all the stressful events. This is a great whodunit, first in the series, and I am looking forward to the next book in the series. I received a complimentary ARC from Kensington Publishing through NetGalley. The thoughts and opinions stated are mine only.
This new series was a really fun read, there was a lot more suspense in this book than most cozies; it all began at the very beginning of chapter one, when Addie is almost run over by a speeding car. It gets very interesting from then on and doesn't slow down...Addie is part of her brand new town's past (or is she?), plus secrets, strangers, a possible romance and more make for a great and quick read - you won't want to put this one down. The only thing missing was a pet - maybe in book 2. 4.9 stars I voluntarily reviewed this book on Netgalley. #netgalley #murderbythebook #laurenelliott
The story started off with promise, but it began to get clunky and felt disjointed at times when discussing some of the back story and revealing each character (which there were a lot to keep track of). I like the relationship/friendship between Addie and Serena. It's fun and quite endearing. I also enjoyed the small-town setting and the bookshop. There were a few implausible parts that if the same situations happened in real life, the story would be different. For example, a package is hidden, but the main character Addie doesn't ask the person where it is located. That would be the first question someone would ask. And Addie doesn't ask the names of the two mysterious women when she has the chance to ask another character in the book. Why didn't she ask this person their names? Overall, it was an okay story and okay characters. I may give the next book in the series a try. I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley and am voluntarily leaving an honest review.
4.5* This is a Small-Town cozy mystery with lots of coffee cups. It's an easy read and the characters were well written. I do look forward to reading the next one in this new series.
After her father’s fatal car accident and her fiancé’s murder, Addie Greyborne decides to move and open up a bookshop in a small New England town. Addie’s great aunt has left her a mansion and an inheritance to help her renew her life. But, then a car tries to run Addie down, a copy of Alice in Wonderland is stolen from her store and a local merchant is murdered. Addie’s new friend, Serena, is arrested for the murder and Addie decides to investigate and find the secret behind all of the strange occurrences. This was a good start to a cozy mystery series. I genuinely liked the characters, especially Addie. She gave me hope, personally, because she had so much pain and loss in her life, and she was able to change and find renewal. I loved that there were people around her that had her back. The mystery plot felt a little muddled to me because it seemed as if too much was going on. On top of that, the copious amount of suspects confused me even more. Still, I would love to read the next installment in the series. I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley and am voluntarily reviewing it.
I have been looking forward to this cozy for months! I came across it on Amazon over the summer and was immediately intrigued by it. So I was thrilled at the chance to be able to review it early through NetGalley. It was a solid cozy. Good characters and an exciting mystery with several surprises kept me involved. The writing did seem a bit choppy at times and there was a lot going on in the mystery aspects. While I didn't love this story, I did enjoy it and will continue reading the next offerings in the series next year when they release. I received this book on NetGalley from the publisher and was not required to post a positive review. All thoughts are my own.
Murder by the Book is the first book in a new cozy mystery series by a debut. The protagonist, Addie Grayboure, is likable, observant, and a very realistic, remarkable woman. Great traits for a sleuth in a cozy mystery. She has a few tragedies (a fiance murdered and a father killed in a car accident) but finds herself the heir to the estate of a great aunt she never met and an owner of a bookstore in a small New England harbor town, along with an old Victorian manor. She befriends a local business owner, Serena. Who is quite a character and owns a tea shop. And meets the Chief of Police, Marc and makes an enemy of the old woman that owns the bakery. The Plot is good and it is a great mystery, with the victim being the owner of the local Department store, and Serena being the prime suspect. it was a good book and I can't wait to read the next book in the series.
Paula Jacobson Murder By the Book is the first book in the Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery series by Lauren Elliot. Addison Greystone inherits her great aunt's estate which includes a home and a number of books. She moves from Boston to the small seaside town of Greystone Harbor, and opens an bookstore. From her first day, mysterious things happen. When her friend is arrested for the murder of another merchant, Addie must use her sleuthing skills to find the real killer. I enjoyed this book tremendously. The characters are fun, witty and very relatable. I could see myself browsing in Addie's shop trying to find just the right book. I want to visit Serena's tea shop for a cup of tea and something to nosh on. The small town setting adds a quaint, homey feel to the story. The mystery is wonderful and filled with intrigue. I had a hard time putting this book down. I wanted to keep reading to see how all of the pieces would fall into place. There are twists and turns throughout the story. It held me in its grasp and kept me guessing until the very end. I can't wait for the next book to come out to see what other adventures Addie has. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a mystery that grips you and doesn't let you go until the end. There are great characters and a hint of romance with a small town sentiment that will make you feel at home. I received this ARC copy of the book for review from the author.
A fantastic debut in a new series! Addie Greyborne has inherited the estate of a great aunt she does not remember. The timing is good for Addie as she has suffered quite a few losses in a short time and the prospect of starting over in a new town was timely. Realizing she's not cut out for a life of leisure, Addie decides to open her own shop and become part of the town. She quickly finds out that she is the last in the line of the town's founding family, though not everyone is welcoming her with open arms. When strange things begin to happen and bodies begin piling up, Addie is cast as being a poor addition to the community. While a few locals and business owners are bend on running her out of town, others welcome her with both arms open. While she wants to settle in, she will first have to figure out what her aunt left behind that is causing the body count to rise. New England is always a beautiful setting for a series and the characters in this story are a perfect fit for it. There is a lot of hurt that must be overcome on the parts of several characters, but it shows their human side and is relatable as we have all been hurt at one time or another. I'm looking forward to future installments in this series! I have read a few reviews that are extremely negative. While I respect everyone's opinion, I have to wonder if they were reading the same book because some of the flaws that were pointed out weren't even in the book. Perhaps they read an earlier copy that has since been edited.
Murder by the Book by Lauren Elliott is the debut novel in A Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery. Addie Greyborne has had a rough year with the murder of her fiancé and the death of her father. Thanks to an inheritance from her great aunt, Anita Greyborne, Addie has relocated to Greyborne Harbor and is ready to open Beyond the Page Books & Curios. Opening day begins by Addie almost getting run over by a black sedan. After opening the bookshop, she meets Serena Chandler who owns SerenaTEA next door. The day spirals out of control when someone uses a distraction to steal a 1961 copy of Alice in Wonderland. Late that night, Addie awakens to a noise and finds that someone has broken into her home. Several of the rooms have been ransacked but Addie has no clue what the thieves are after. When her shop suffers another break in, the local shop owners are less than pleased with Addie. The next day there is a commotion outside Fielding’s Department Store involving Serena. She has been arrested for murdering Blain Fielding. Addie uses her keen eye for detail and sleuthing skills from tracking down rare books and artwork to expose the guilty party behind this nefarious plot. Can Addie clear Serena of the murder charges? Come along for the investigation in Murder by the Book. Murder by the Book is a book full of action. It starts off with a bang with a car almost running down Addie. Addie has lost her fiancé, father and a great aunt in one year. She leaves her job at the Boston Public Library to start over in Greyborne Harbor. In her new home, Greyborne Manor she discovers numerous books which gives her the idea to open a used bookstore. Then someone starts breaking into her home and shop. We are left wondering what the thieves are trying to locate. Then there is the murder and slowly more details are revealed. The mystery is complex yet simple at the same time. There are hidden rooms, rare books, a secret staircase, a black sedan, and unknown thieves. Some details/clues are provided as the story progresses, but others come to light just before the reveal with the remainder explained at the end. I would have liked more clues interspersed throughout the book to allow a reader to play sleuth along with Addie (the best part of a mystery is solving it). Most readers, though, will have no problem identifying the guilty party. Addie quickly becomes friends with Serena and her new employee, Paige. I thought the relationships developed too quickly. It seems Serena became Addie’s instant friend and she trusts Paige despite her disagreeable mother. For some reason, the bakery owner, Martha has taken a disliking to Addie. We are not given Martha’s last name, the name of her establishment or why she dislikes Addie. Actually, very little information is provided on Greyborne Harbor. Addie has been in town three months and seems to have met no one. A prequel to the series would have been beneficial or the author should have started the series with Addie receiving her inheritance. I loved the description of Addie’s Queen Anne Victorian. It sounds beautiful inside and out. I would like to know more about Addie (her growing up years). I appreciated her enthusiasm for books and knowledge of rare books. I hope the author lets the romance build slowly between Addie and Marc especially since Addie is not over her fiancé. I give Murder by the Book 4 out of 5 stars.
4.5 stars With MURDER BY THE BOOK, the new Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery Series gets off to an impressive start. The solidly drawn characters and a thoroughly complex plot make it one of my best reads of 2018. Addie brings baggage with her as she begins a new life in Greyborne Harbor, a New England town founded by her ancestors. After her fiancé is murdered and her father dies in a horrible automobile accident, Addie is surprised to learn that she is her Great-Aunt Anita’s sole heir with a bequeathment which includes Greyborne Manor and enough rare books for Addie to open a bookstore. However, Addie soon discovers that not everyone is glad she has come to town, namely her next door merchant, and she soon faces break-ins at her home and business, run-ins that appear to be attempts on her life, and people who are not who she believed them to be. On a bright note, she finds a new friend in teashop owner Serena. When a fellow merchant is murdered and Serena arrested for the crime, Addie comes to believe that everything is connected. As the body count rises and circumstances become treacherous, Addie and her friends do everything they can to solve the mystery. There is a lot going on in MURDER BY THE BOOK, which I enjoy, but some readers may find it a bit overwhelming. Author Lauren Elliott does a fantastic job of weaving all of the elements together to make one cohesive resolution in the end when Addie’s past and present come to a climactic, dangerous head. There is something for everyone here – murder, theft, personal peril, rare books, a family legacy, betrayal, loyalty, and friendship. The characters are well developed and compelling. I immediately felt invested in these people’s lives and their back stories. Addie is a strong, capable, intelligent main character. The expertise in research and books she brings to the table gives her an interesting skill set that proves quite useful to police Chief Marc. Serena a fun, immediately settling into the role of best friend. Serena’s relationship with her brother Marc is endearing and realistic. I appreciate that Marc runs the investigation by the book, even though his sister is the prime suspect. There is great chemistry between Addie and Marc, and I look forward to seeing where their relationship goes in future installments. I really enjoyed MURDER BY THE BOOK and highly recommend it to any cozy mystery reader, especially those who enjoy a bookstore setting. I cannot wait to read what kind of trouble Addie gets into next. The Beyond the Page Bookstore series shows great promise. I received and ARC of this title from the author and voluntarily shared my thoughts here.
This first in a new cozy mystery series hits the ground running! I like many things about this clever cozy mystery, beginning with the setting of a New England old/ rare books and curios bookstore. The mystery is complex, with plot twists that include outrageous treachery from those who were thought friends. The characters are detailed, especially Addie, who learns a few family secrets. Addie has faced many crises in the past year. The most recent was that her great-aunt Anita Greyborne, who she didn’t even know existed, passed away. It was thought that Anita was the last of family line whose ancestors founded the town until Addie inherited her estate, including Greyborne Manor. As a young woman who had studied about and worked with rare and antique books, when she saw the treasures in the attic, Addie knew she had to start a bookstore. A year earlier, after being “loaned” to the British Museum by her employer, Boston Library, her fiancé David was murdered. The police deemed it a crime of opportunity and blew off her questions. David, like her father, searched for and reclaimed stolen rare books and art for an international company, but police didn’t think the crime rings he busted had anything to do with the murder. Six months later, her father died leaving Greyborne Harbor, and police closed the case claiming he was driving too fast for foggy conditions. Then her great-aunt passed away. Opening day for Beyond the Page arrives, and a car that aims and speeds up, barely missing Addie. Serena, of SerenaTea next door, came to her assistance. As they chat, someone tries to pry into her back door and Martha, the crotchety old baker, threw a bag of trash at him. As they cleaned up, Addie saw that someone had come in and thrown books off the shelf to the floor. Only one book of relatively lower value was missing. Addie faces break-ins, a pair of women who are working together, and her new friend Serena is arrested for murder of a local department store owner. Serena’s brother Marc is the police chief, so he must conduct a completely impartial investigation. As he gets to know Addie, she helps with the investigation as only a researcher of her caliber can do, seeing things that Marc would not have recognized. The trouble and treachery against Addie and her friends heightens. I really enjoyed this novel and highly recommend it for reasons including: The characters, especially Addie, are as transparent as necessary. I like Addie, Serena, her brother Marc, and Addie’s new assistant Paige for their unique qualities, loyalty, and creative intelligence. They work well together to find the bad guy. The number of characters is limited; each one has an important role. There are no superfluous folks to distract from the case. This is a thorny novel that includes more than one mystery. Addie is certain that everything is interrelated. There are many plot twists, including secret collections, past employers, and treachery. Friendship is a key factor in helping Addie get through the treachery, find who the bad guys and good guys really are. While I had a vague idea of the common thread, I wasn’t sure whodunit and the depth of motive. I was happy to see how my curiosity played out and stunned to see who was behind the murder and thefts. This is the impressive start of a new series that I hope to see much more of! From a grateful heart: I received an e-Arc from the publisher through NetGalley, and this is my honest review.
Murder by the Book by Lauren Elliott was an engaging beginning to a new cozy series that I had difficulty putting down. I thought Addie was a very strong and resourceful young woman who has managed to keep moving forward in spite of the tragedies in her past. Her new friend, Serena, totally captured me with her positive attitude and her friendship to Addie. I thought Ms. Elliott's descriptive writing introduced reader to the lovely small New England town. I would love to visit this seaside town and see it for myself. The characters are beginning to develop and only left me wanting to get to know them better - well, except for Martha who runs the bakery. I'll take a pass on meeting her. The plot was skillfully paced with turns, twists and red herrings that kept me turning the pages. I was totally rocked by the reveal as I never saw it coming. A great beginning to what I hope is the start of a long running cozy series. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from Kensington via NetGalley. All of the above opinions are my own.
Murder By The Book is the first book in the A Beyond The Page Bookstore Mystery series. After Addison Greyborne’s father dies in an automobile accident and her fiance is murdered. She has inherited her aunt’s home and extensive book collection and decides to move to Greyborne and with the extensive book collection, her aunt had she decides to open the Beyond The Page – Books & Curios store. But bad luck is continuing to follow Addie, as she's heading to her store for the first time she is nearly run down by a speeding automobile. As Addie is straightening item in the store, Serena who has SerenaTEAS shop a few doors down the street comes in to welcome Addie. While they are discussing their shops, there is a disturbance out back and when they check what it was they encounter Martha who owns the bakery next to Addie’s who says someone with a crowbar was trying to get in Addie’s store. When Addie goes back into her store, she finds that it has been vandalized. Later she gets a message from Blaine Fielding, owner of the local department store asking her to come over. As she is heading across the street, Serena is being led out of the store be her brother, Marc who is also the police chief, in handcuffs. Fielding had been killed and Serena had been found holding the murder weapon. Soon there are also break-ins at her home too. Addie doesn’t feel that Serena is guilty and wants to clear Serena’s name. After some reflection, Addie begins to wonder if she wasn’t the one meant to find Fielding and to be framed for his murder. She soon believes that there must be something valuable enough hidden somewhere that is worth killing for and getting her out of town. I found this to be a very interesting new series and there are a couple of other subplots, that if I would discuss would take away from the mystery itself. I felt that the story was well written and had an interesting cast of characters. I’ll be looking forward to learning more about Serena, Addie, and her possible romantic interest with Marc. I will be watching for the next book in this interesting new series.
I really enjoy reading biblio cozy mysteries and this one did not disappoint. This is the first book is a new series. Addie used to work for the Boston Public Library but has left the city to open a bookstore in a small New England Town after receiving an inheritance from a long lost aunt. Since this is the first book in the series the author does try to establish all the relationships at once. I hope in future books the relationships are not quite so rushed. As soon as the shop opens her shop and her home are broken into. A local business owner is found dead and her new friend is accused of the crime. She decides to work with the police to solve the crimes. The mystery was good and there are lots of secrets to uncover. There were some surprises at the end. I liked the bookstore/rare books background, the characters and the mystery. I did think the author tried to put too much in this book and I was not a fan of maybe romance. I look for word to reading the next one. It was a quick enjoyable read.
When rare book expert, Addie Greyborne returns to the small New England town founded by her ancestors, she moves into Greyborne Manor, left to her by her great-aunt, and she believes she’s leaving sadness and loss behind in Boston. Along with the house, Addie inherits many first edition books and other treasures, sufficient to start her own bookstore. But Addie doesn’t expect the danger facing her in the little harbor town. From theft, to murder, to attempted murder, to her new friend and fellow entrepreneur Serena’s arrest, Addie discovers life in a small town can be filled with peril and mystery. Determined to get to the bottom of what’s going on, she follows the clues until she can close the book on what’s going on in the not-so-sleepy town she now calls home.