The Plot Is Murder

V.M. Burns. Kensington, $15 trade paper (230p) ISBN 978-1-4967-1181-6
Set in North Harbor, Mich., Burns’s promising debut and series launch introduces mystery book lover and aspiring writer Samantha Washington. Sam and her late husband always wanted to own a mystery bookstore, and now she has one. When crooked realtor Clayton Parker shows up one day outside the bookstore, which is not yet open for business, and asks to speak with Sam, she sticks out her tongue at him through the window. Clayton leaves, but later he turns up dead in Sam’s backyard. Sam becomes a suspect in Clayton’s murder, though that doesn’t stop her from getting the bookstore up and running, aided by a slew of family members. Meanwhile, Sam’s grandmother, Nana Jo, and Nana Jo’s retirement village friends help with the amateur sleuthing, though Burns paints their personalities with a bit too heavy a brush. Extracts from the cozy Sam is writing, set in England in 1938, add spice. Sam and the seniors do a heap of drinking and gambling en route to the satisfying solution. Agent: Dawn Dowdle, Blue Ridge Literary Agency. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/23/2017
Release date: 11/28/2017
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