cover image Board to Death

Board to Death

C.J. Connor. Kensington Cozies, $16.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-4967-4222-3

Connor’s sweet yet slight debut combines a tender romance with an underwhelming mystery. Nearing 30 and recovering from a divorce, Ben Rosencrantz leaves his position as an English professor to accept a job at his father’s board game emporium in Salt Lake City. Seedy local Clive Newton enters the shop one afternoon and offers to sell Ben a rare and valuable edition of The Landlord’s Game, a prototype for Monopoly. Suspicious of Clive’s low asking price, Ben turns the offer down. A few hours later, after the shop has closed, Ben hears someone knocking, and upon opening the door finds Clive with a knife sticking out of his chest. Fearing he might wind up a suspect in Clive’s murder, Ben sets out to find the real perpetrator, with the help of handsome flower shop owner Ezra McCaslin. The two fall for each other as they descend into the cutthroat subculture of board game collecting. Clive and Ezra’s chemistry is palpable, but the stakes of their investigation are low, and there’s very little sleuthing. This is for cozy fanciers who prefer a charming romance to a crafty whodunit. Agent: Jessica Faust, BookEnds Literary. (Sept.)