cover image Bookclubbed to Death

Bookclubbed to Death

V.M. Burns. Kensington, $16.95 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-4967-3946-9

In Agatha finalist Burns’s disappointing eighth Mystery Bookshop mystery (after 2021’s Killer Words), Market Street Mysteries bookstore owner Samantha “Sam” Washington finds herself in trouble with the police when book club leader and prominent book reviewer Delia Marshall turns up dead in her shop in North Harbor, Mich., after the two had arranged a meeting regarding a book purchase. As Sam learns, Delia was a prolific blackmailer, so the list of potential suspects is a considerable one, including book club members and other locals wronged by Delia. Sam is aided in her quest to stay out of jail by her lawyer sister, Jenna; her fiancé, Frank Patterson; and her grandmother Nana Jo. Repetition, a clunky revelation of the perpetrator that comes without sufficient interaction with the character, and lack of facility with British idiom in an intrusive subplot fail to convince. Hopefully, Burns returns to form next time. Agent: Dawn Dowdle, Blue Ridge Literary. (Jan.)