Friday 5 April 2024

The Plot is Murder

Finished March 22
The Plot is Murder by V.M. Burns

This is the first book in a series set around Samantha Washington, the owner of a mystery bookstore in a small town on the shores of Lake Michigan. Samantha, a schoolteacher, has always dreamed of becoming a successful mystery writer, while her husband Leon dreamed of owning a bookstore specializing in mysteries. The mystery bookstore part of the dream is about to come true, but it is a bittersweet reality for her though, as part of the money to buy the old downtown building came from her late husband Leon's life insurance. Before he died, Samantha promised Leon that she would buy the brick brownstone, open the bookstore and start writing a book. 
The bookstore is coming together, with the bookshelves getting built by a local Amish craftsman, and books on the way. The grand opening is scheduled for just two weeks from day the story begins. Samantha has also started writing a mystery in the apartment above the store that she and her two toy poodles Snickers and Oreo now live in. She has a lot of support. Her two nephews, Christopher and Zaq, her sister Jenna and brother-in-law Tony, her mom, and her grandmother Nana Jo all support her and pitch in wherever they are needed. When the real estate agent who sold her the building and then, later, tried to stop the sale, ends up dead on her doorstep, she must rally all the troops. 
Interspersed with the main story are snippets from the historical mystery novel Samantha is writing. Set in England just before World War II, the novel is both an escape and a creative endeavour for her. Nana Jo and her group of senior friends are a delightful addition to the action as they work their networks to gather information and put it all together. So is Dawson, the star university football player with an interesting skill set who soon joins the household and store staff. 
This cosy mystery has humour and a good plotline. The characters are beginning to form here, with Samantha, Nana Jo, and Dawson the most developed so far. It was fast moving and I was intrigued by the story within a story. 

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