Booked for Death

Crooked Lane. (Booklover’s B&B, Bk. 1). Jun. 2020. 320p. ISBN 9781643853079. $26.99. M
Charlotte Reed inherits her great-aunt Isabella’s bed-and-breakfast, Chapters, in Beaufort, NC, a historic inn known for its special events that celebrate books and authors. The Josephine Tey event is spoiled by the murder of a book dealer who had insinuated to Charlotte that Isabella’s money and famed book collection were procured illegally. As Charlotte tries to protect herself and her aunt’s reputation, she uncovers stories about the man’s affairs, his attempts to ruin others, and his physical abuse of women. She also uncovers the truth about Isabella and the years she disappeared. But, while Charlotte researches the past, a killer is still trying to keep their own secrets, and the widowed B&B owner is learning too much for a murderer’s comfort.
VERDICT Gilbert (“Blue Ridge Library” mysteries) introduces an intelligent, mature amateur sleuth, and a shrewd elderly sidekick in the first in a character-driven cozy series. The leisurely paced mystery offers complex characters with well-developed backgrounds and motives. Readers of Ellery Adams’s “Book Retreat” mysteries will appreciate this new series.

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