The Plot Is Murder

The Plot Is Murder

by V. M. Burns


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The small town of North Harbor on the shores of Lake Michigan is about to have a new mystery bookstore. But before the first customer can browse its shelves, the store’s owner is suspected of her own murder plot . . .
Samantha Washington has dreamed of owning her own mystery bookstore for as long as she can remember. And as she prepares for the store’s grand opening, she’s also realizing another dream—penning a cozy mystery set in England between the wars. While Samantha hires employees and fills the shelves with the latest mysteries, quick-witted Lady Penelope Marsh, long-overshadowed by her beautiful sister Daphne, refuses to lose the besotted Victor Carlston to her sibling's charms. When one of Daphne's suitors is murdered in a maze, Penelope steps in to solve the labyrinthine puzzle and win Victor.
But as Samantha indulges her imagination, the unimaginable happens in real life. A shady realtor turns up dead in her backyard, and the police suspect her—after all, the owner of a mystery bookstore might know a thing or two about murder. Aided by her feisty grandmother and an enthusiastic ensemble of colorful retirees, Samantha is determined to close the case before she opens her store. But will she live to conclude her own story when the killer has a revised ending in mind for her?
“You’ll love this delightful debut mystery with its charming and wacky cast of characters and a mystery within a mystery just to keep things interesting.”
—Victoria Thompson, bestselling author of Murder in Morningside Heights
“A charming read—with murder, romance and lots of mouthwatering desserts.”
—Laura Levine, author of Death of a Bachelorette

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781496711816
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 11/28/2017
Series: Mystery Bookshop Series , #1
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 197,611
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

V.M. Burns is the acclaimed author of screenplays, children’s books, and cozy mysteries, including the Dog Club Mysteries, the RJ Franklin Mysteries, and the Mystery Bookshop Series. Born and raised in South Bend, Indiana, V.M. Burns currently resides in Tennessee with her poodles. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Dog Writers Association of America, Thriller Writers International, and a lifetime member of Sisters in Crime. She can be found online at

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The Plot Is Murder 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
BeagleGirl123 More than 1 year ago
I must admit that I had been waiting months for the release of author V.M. Burns' cozy mystery debut - The Plot is Murder. The cover, the title, and the plot (no pun intended!) description grabbed my attention from the moment I first saw it, and I pre-ordered the book as soon as it was available. I was lucky enough to obtain an advance copy to review, and it did not disappoint! Not only do we get the story of bookshop owner Samantha Washington, we also get to immerse ourselves in the British cozy mystery she's writing in her spare time. Sam is a widow, and it was her late husband's dying wish that she open up their dream bookshop, which she does with the help of her loving and supportive family. Shortly before the opening, however, the unscrupulous realtor who sold her the building is found dead in her courtyard and Sam must work to discover who murdered Clayton Parker and why. Enter Nana Jo and her Senior Sleuths, and cozy mystery solving (and reading) and mayhem ensues with this hilarious bunch of octogenarians. And while we're reading about this mystery in North Harbor, Michigan we're also transported to the pre-WWII English countryside and the manor home of the aristocratic Marsh family where a murder has taken place in their garden and it's up to Lady Elizabeth et al. to discover whodunit. I highly, highly recommend this wonderful first very cozy and well-written installment in the Mystery Bookshop series! A+++
chefdt More than 1 year ago
The Plot Is Murder is the first book in the A Mystery Bookshop Mystery series. The Plot Is Murder is an excellent beginning to what I feel will be an exciting and humorous series. Samantha, Sam to her friends, Washington is a recent widow who has gone ahead and followed through on her and her late husband’s dream of opening a bookstore. Upon arriving at home after her last day of teaching she is surprised by her family and some close friends with a retirement/bookstore owner party. Later, after everyone had left Sam walking around her store imagining what it will be like when the shelves are stock and she is actually open for business. She is interrupted when a pounding on the front door disturbs her thoughts. At the door is Clayton Parker, the man who had listed the store for sale and who later tried to back out of the deal. He yells that he wants to talk with her. Being the last person she wants to talk to, ever, she turns and heads for her apartment, above the bookstore. The next morning as she is letting Snickers and Oreo, her Poodles out for their morning duties she sees the lifeless body of Parker laying in a heap in her backyard. As Detective Pitt begins to question Sam, she gets the distinct impression that she is being thought of as the killer. When Sam’s granny, Nana Jo, learns the murder she promptly moves in to help keep her safe, and also being a lover of mysteries, thinks that she and Sam should start their own investigation. Nana Jo enlists the help of some her friends in the retirement community where she lives to help “dig up the dirt” on Clayton Parker. They soon learn that Parker was a rather ruthless businessman, so maybe he had upset someone in another real estate deal like he did Sam and they got rid of the problem. They also learn the there was marital discord between him and his wife and with a prenuptial agreement there no way for her to divorce him. In addition, they need to learn where his father and his two brothers got the money right after returning from the war to start buying up real estate and starting a real estate business. In addition to opening her bookstore and something that Sam has kept a secret from everyone, is that she is an aspiring mystery author. Interspersed in Sam’s story the reader also gets to follow the story Sam is writing and hopes to get published. This story set in the English countryside follows the lives of Penelope Marsh, her sister Daphne and Victor Carlston. Victor feels he is in love with Penelope, while Penelope has eyes for another who she will find dead in a fountain in the families garden. But at the same time, Daphne has feelings for Victor. Daphne and Victor end up working together to clear Penelope from the list of suspects and in doing so just might be what is needed for Victor to learn where his heart really lies. The story is well-plotted and told with an interesting and believable cast of characters. The characters that I enjoyed the most were Nana Jo and her posse of retirement center friends. I can’t really call them older ladies, as most are about my age. There is Dorothy, Ruby Mae and last but not least, Irma. This little group of ladies has either children or grandchildren who can call on to help Sam and Nana Jo solve the case. They were all humorous, but Irma was by far the most humorous. Irma’s tends to be a little “salty” from time to time, but the others are quick to stop her her before she says anything nasty.
Rockport_rocker More than 1 year ago
A great two for one cozy with fantastic characters. The main story is a contemporary mystery but in it, the main characters is writing a 1938 mystery that is just as good. I have to admit that after this book, I decided that for the next one I would mark the parts of the historical cozy and read them separately that that is just what I did with Read Herring Hunt. I was drawn to the book because the main characters is an English teacher who retires to run a mystery bookstore and she has two poodles. That combination hits so many of my favorites that the book was sure to be a hit and it was! I loved it The characters will keep me coming back and coming back!
4GranJan 22 days ago
Wonderful Start to a New Series In this nifty cozy mystery series, the reader gets two cozies for the price of one. The heroine in the main book is also a mystery writer and the reader gets to read both stories. It works out very well as one story is modern day while the other is an English country house mystery set in the 1930s. I initially started this series on book 3, loved it and came back to read the first two books. This is a very satisfying series. There are very active seniors that offset the college students and our heroine who is a mid-thirties recent widow. The plots surrounding the crimes are very well done with excellent resolution. All of the characters ring true, even the English gentry and servants. I love all aspects of the series and am binge-reading all four books this weekend. I won this book in a contest from the author last fall. This is my honest review.
SunnyCarolinaGirl 10 months ago
I really enjoyed reading this book. In it there is a murder in the present time and Sam, the main character, is trying to write her first novel, a British mystery set in 1938. It was interesting to read about what was going on with the mystery in both time periods. I have never read a book within a book before and found it very enjoyable. I loved the characters, especially Nana Jo and her friends from her retirement community, and the bookshop setting. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series to see what happens next with Sam and with Daphne. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kensington through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
GratefulGrandma More than 1 year ago
This is the first book in a new cozy mystery series. This series is a bit different from other cozies I have read. Samantha Washington, the protagonist is also a budding author. When she is stressed, she works on her book to relax. Because of this, there are two different short mysteries going on simultaneously. I did not have a problem following them, but I am sure some readers might. It is an interesting premise though. Samantha (Sam) loves a good mystery. She and her husband Leon had always wanted to open a bookstore, but she became a teacher in order to have a reliable income. Now that Leon has died, she is able to retire from teaching to finally follow her dreams. She has purchased a building in North Harbor, Michigan and restored/renovated it as a bookstore/cafe/apartment. The purchase did not go as smoothly as possible as her real estate agent tried to derail the sale after contracts had been signed. It was no secret that Sam did not care for him at all. She is almost ready to open when he comes knocking on her door late at night. She does not let him in and goes to bed. The next morning he is found dead, a stabbing victim, in her courtyard. Of course she becomes the prime suspect. Her grandmother, Nana Jo, moves in to help her with her investigation. This is where the humor comes in. Nana Jo lives in a retirement community that caters to active seniors. She and "the girls" become involved in the investigation as well as introducing Sam to the casino, some happy hours and other things that she is surprised they are involved in. The final clue the police latch onto is her manuscript. It appears that the murder in her story is somewhat similar to the real one. This was a relatively quick read with the book made up of two short stories. I am not sure if this is something I will enjoy as you really do not get to know the characters well. I was confused about the characters in her manuscript as it was not the complete book and there was not much information about those characters. The characters in the book are interesting and I can see them becoming favorites of mine if they are fleshed out and continue in the books. I will give the next one a try before I decide about this series. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading the first book in this new cozy series! Samantha does two things I've always wanted to do... open a bookstore and write a novel. Of course, things don't quite go according to plan when a dead body shows up in the backyard. Whoops. Suddenly Samantha is on the case with a cast of loveable characters. There are two sets of characters in this book because Samantha's novel is actually an active part of the plot line. So really, The Plot is Murder is two books in one as you get to read Samantha's work alongside the mystery she is trying to solve. Writing for her is a way to wind down and often after a hard day of sleuthing - along with her grandmother and her grandmother's hilarious friends, she relaxes by writing a few more scenes in her victorian mystery novel. I have never seen this in a book before and I loved it! I hope this format continues as the series continues. If you're a fan of cozy mysteries, I hope you'll give this one a read. The characters are rich and the plot - both the plots! - are intriguing.
LisaKsBooksReviews More than 1 year ago
A first for me by this author. I found the story enjoyable, and the mystery well done. I'll be n the lookout for more books from V.M. Burns.
Dollycas More than 1 year ago
Dollycas’s Thoughts Who doesn’t love a mystery within a mystery? Samantha Washington has lost her husband and she is a little apprehensive about following her dreams on her own. She has purchased an old warehouse and turned it not only into her home but the lower level is now her mystery bookstore. That was her first dream, the second is to become a cozy mystery author. She not sure if she will let anyone read it, but she has started a story set in England about two sisters, their suitors, and a murder. She can escape into her writing when the real world gets to be a little too much. That’s exactly what happens when her realtor is found dead in her backyard. She had hoped the only murders she would uncover would be within the pages of the books on her shelves or those she wrote about in her own mysteries. Now the police believe she killed someone in real life, especially after reading her manuscript. She now needs to solve both a fictional murder and a real murder? If she doesn’t, all her dreams could go up in smoke. I really like Samantha. She is courageous enough to follow her dreams while still grieving for her husband. She has a warm and helpful attitude, both in the way she treats her customers but even more so by who she hires to work with her at the bookstore. She has a clever imagination that shines in her writing. And she is a strong woman, who I believe takes after her grandmother. She also has two lovable dogs. Her grandmother, Nana Joe, moves right in when she fears Samantha may be in danger. She is a spunky woman and comes with a group of friends that will have you laughing out loud. Don’t take these Senior Sleuths for granted. They have connections all over town and they try to help Samantha figure out who killed the wayward realtor. I wish I had half their energy. Ms. Burns has created a very eclectic group of characters. I enjoyed getting to know all of them and their dialogue was top notch. She also created an interesting group of characters for Samantha’s cozy mystery. Both mysteries are very well written and nicely plotted. At first, I was a little unsure about the second story interrupting the first, but it then hit a nice rhythm of back and forth and flowed naturally. I suppose each story could be called a novella by their length, but neither felt rushed or like anything was missing. I hope they both become long-running series. Both the setting in Michigan and England were well presented. From the floor to the ceiling in the Market Street Mysteries Bookstore to the gardens outside Marsh estate, all were easily envisioned in my mind. This is V.M. Burns first cozy mystery and she is off to a fantastic start. It is hard enough to write one story full of twists and turns but she gives us two. I want to get to know all these characters better and am excited to see what kind of trouble they get into next. Read Herring Hunt will be released April 24, 2018.
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
The Plot is Murder by V.M Burns is the first book in A Mystery Bookshop Mystery series. Samantha “Sam” Washington and her husband dreamed of owning a mystery bookstore. Before Leon passed away, he made Sam promise to carry on with their dream. Sam is just days away from opening Market Street Mysteries (not the best name) and has already started her second dream of writing a British historical mystery. After enjoying her last day of teaching, her family and friends throw her a party. The next morning when Sam lets her dogs outside, she finds Clayton Parker, the listing agent for her brownstone, dead on the patio. Detective Brad “Stinky” Pitt is assigned the case and he quickly zeros in on Sam. Nana Jo (not your average senior citizen) moves herself in with Sam (to keep her safe). Nana Jo has little confidence in Detective Pitt’s ability to solve the case. She rallies her friends (the Sluething Seniors) and Sam to investigate the victim’s death. Can they uncover the killer before he (or she) strikes again? The Plot is Murder is not what I expected. I discovered that over half the book is taken up with the manuscript being written by the main character (Sam). I did not enjoy these sections and felt they detracted from the story. There is a mystery in the manuscript that is simple. I would have preferred the author had centered the story around the mystery bookstore (who wouldn’t love a mystery bookshop in their neighborhood). I did like most of the characters especially Nana Jo. She was feisty, smart, and very active. I admit that she overshadowed Sam in the story (and I hope to be half as active when I am her age). I wish the author had fleshed out Sam as much as she did Nana Jo. I found the detective to be cliched and overdone (the name, attitude, how he got the job). I am giving The Plot is Murder 3 out of 5 stars. The mystery has some good components. However, the guilty party can be identified early in the story (one tiny detail gives it away). I kept hoping for a twist so I would be surprised. The majority of readers will figure out the solution long before it is revealed. The investigation is light with most of the work done by the Sleuthing Seniors. I was never fully drawn into The Plot is Murder. With the book divided into two, I feel the author did the main story a disservice.
ArizonaJo More than 1 year ago
The Plot Is Murder by V. M. Burns is a great start to a new cozy series. I was so wrapped in the story that I hated when I had to put it down. Ms. Burns' plot is smoothly paced and the twists and turns kept me guessing. Ms. Burns has developed quite a cast of characters. Samantha is a widow who is just now allowing herself to begin her life again after the loss of her husband. She is opening a mystery bookstore to fulfill a dream of hers and her husbands. Unfortunately, a murder victim is found in the small backyard behind her bookstore before she can open the store. Her grandmother, Nana Jo, and her grandmother's friends from the retirement village where she lives are more than ready to help Sam solve the murder case. In fact, with their contacts, they gathered the most clues; but it was Sam that put it all together. I laughed a lot while reading this one and I really want to meet the Senior Sleuths. Plus, Sam is writing a British cozy mystery that is included within the story so you get two books within one. I'm looking forward to the next one in this series. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from Kensington via NetGalley. All of the above opinions are my own.
CozyMysteryLover1 More than 1 year ago
The Plot is Murder, written by the incredibly talented V.M. Burns is a 10 star winner! I was hooked on the book from the first couple of pages and could not put it down. I spent the entire day with Samantha, Dawson, Nana JoJo and all the wonderful and colorful characters in this well written story. Set in North Harbor on the shores of Lake Michigan, The Plot is Murder takes the reader to the opening of a new mystery bookstore. After the death of her husband Leon, Samantha makes a brave choice, to follow the dreams she shared with her husband and open their dream shop. Before the shelves are stocked and the doors open, Samantha finds herself in her own mystery, when the arrogant, greedy real estate agent is found dead in her own back yard! Dealing with all the stress isn't easy, so Samantha puts pen to paper and writes her own story- which is just as exciting as the actual book! It seems that Clayton Parker has many enemies and it won't be easy to find the answers. When Samantha's grandma offers her assistance, the book takes the reader on a wild ride to casinos, all you can eat buffets and a group of ladies that will leave you laughing and wishing you were along for the ride. Will Samantha and the ladies find the answers they need or will it be then of the bookstore for it even opens? Find out on November 28th when The Plot is Murder hits the shelf. Grab your copy fast, you will not want to miss the debut of this new series. I voluntarily read an ARC of this book provided by NetGalley and Kensington Books.