cover image Bound by Murder: An Antique Bookshop Mystery

Bound by Murder: An Antique Bookshop Mystery

Laura Gail Black. Crooked Lane, $26.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-63910-096-5

“Life is sweet,” declares Jenna Quinn, the owner of used bookstore Twice upon a Time, at the start of Black’s charming third Antique Bookshop mystery set in Hokes Folly, N.C. (after 2021’s Murder by the Bookend). The attractive little town, with its cobblestoned streets and early 20th-century architecture, has become an in-demand wedding venue. Naturally, along with all the happy couples come a few bridezillas, none more demanding than Missy Plott, who arrives in town with her younger sister, three haughty bridesmaids, and her groom. Unfortunately for Jenna, Missy’s future husband, Blake Emerson, happens to be Jenna’s former fiancé. Neither Jenna’s current beau, police detective Keith Logan, nor Missy is pleased when it seems Blake is trying to win Jenna back. Then Missy ends up dead near a dumpster in the alleyway behind Jenna’s bookshop. The ensuing murder investigation involves blackmail, arson, vandalism, fraud, and misguided love. A colorful cast, including a sweet dog and just the right number of mean girls, more than makes up for the lack of surprises. This is perfect escapist fare for cozy fans. Agent: Dawn Dowdle, Blue Ridge Agency. (Sept.)