cover image Verse and Vengeance: A Magical Bookshop Mystery

Verse and Vengeance: A Magical Bookshop Mystery

Amanda Flower. Crooked Lane, $26.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-64385-151-8

In Agatha-winner Flower’s whimsical fourth Magical Bookshop mystery (after Murders and Metaphors), Violet Waverly, the proprietor of Charming Books, a bookstore built around a magical tree in Cascade Springs, N.Y., agrees to take part in a fund-raising bicycle race at the urging of her police chief boyfriend, David Rainwater. When Joel Redding, a curious PI who visited the store, has a fatal accident during the race, a copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass is found in his bike’s backpack. Vi throws herself into what soon becomes a murder investigation, fearful that Redding had learned her big secret—that the supernatural essence of Charming Books can convey book recommendations to customers. Vi’s important relationships—with Rainwater, her grandmother, and a cat named Emerson—tend to overshadow the plot, which is attenuated to begin with. Armchair detectives have few clues to guide them to the unexpected dénouement. This one’s for those who like some esoteric literary history and don’t mind a pinch of magic in their cozies. Agent: Nicole Resciniti, Seymour Agency. (Dec.)