cover image Death on the Page: A Castle Bookshop Mystery

Death on the Page: A Castle Bookshop Mystery

Essie Lang. Crooked Lane, $26.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-64385-294-2

In Lang’s plodding sequel to 2019’s Trouble on the Books, bestselling true crime author Savannah Page, who’s researching a book on Prohibition-era mobster Joe Cabana, agrees to do a signing at the two shops co-owned by Shelby Cox—one in Alexandria Bay, N.Y., the other in Blye Castle on Blye Island in the Saint Lawrence River, where Cabana died—on condition that she can spend the night in the purportedly haunted castle alone. At the first signing, a waitress aggressively accuses Savannah of having stolen the idea for the Cabana book from her. The morning after Savannah’s second signing party in the castle shop, she’s found dead in the castle. Curious to solve the murder, Shelby bustles around asking questions and accusing various bystanders of the crime. A spontaneous confession resolves the mystery. Despite all the surefire ingredients for a cozy, including a cat, a chocolate shop, and a knockout boyfriend, this entry never really engages readers through either characterization or plot. Those seeking serious amateur sleuthing will have to look elsewhere. Agent: Kim Lionetti, BookEnds Literary. (Mar.)