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Prose and Cons
Magical Bookshop Mystery #2
Amanda Flower

Berkley Prime Crime
December 6, 2016/ ISBN 978-0-451-47745-3
Mystery/Cozy/Paranormal/Amateur Sleuth

Reviewed by Laura Hinds


Back cover: “In Cascade Springs, New York, Violet Waverly and her Grandma Daisy are the proprietors of Charming Books, where the power of the written word is positively enchanting...”

The annual Food and Wine Festival is in full swing in Cascade Springs this October. Charming Books is hosting the local writers group, the Red Inkers, for their reading of the works of Edgar Allan Poe, calling the event a Poe-try Reading. The members of the group range from the local police chief, David Rainwater, to vintage clothing shop owner Sadie Cunningham, to retired elementary school teacher Trudy Connor, and Dr. Richard Bunting, department chair at Springside Community College. Another member of the group is Anatasia Faber, an aspiring writer with a nasty disposition and an attitude of entitlement and superiority.

Before the Poe-try reading begins, Anastasia goes upstairs to Violet’s apartment above the bookshop to change into her vintage dress, which was provided, along with the other outfits for the event, by Sadie. When Anastasia fails to appear in time for her reading, Violet goes in search of her, only to find her crumpled body at the bottom of the staircase, having broken her neck in the fall.

What outwardly appears to be a terrible accident is determined to be murder, and due to some conveniently discovered evidence, Sadie becomes the prime suspect. Anyone who knows Sadie knows she wouldn’t hurt anyone, but it is clear that someone has set her up to take the blame for the murder. Violet knows that the magical gifts of the bookshop, the help of her Houdini-like cat, Emerson, and the shop’s resident crow, Faulkner can all guide her to the truth. She knows she has to unravel this puzzle quickly before Sadie ends up in prison or someone else is harmed or killed.

I am so happy that I had the opportunity to read this book on a dark and dismal fall day. It was the perfect way to pass the time. Once again, as with the first book in the series, I fell right into Violet’s world and enjoyed every minute of it. Cascade Springs sounds like a wonderful place to live, yet even there, a dark belly of evil exists and rears its all-too-human head every now and then. What I wouldn’t give to be able to actually visit Charming Books and visit with Grandma Daisy, Faulkner, and Emerson the cat.

The mystery is well plotted, the characters are three-dimensional, and the setting is perfection. “Prose and Cons” is everything a cozy mystery lover who enjoys a light touch of the paranormal is seeking in a book. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Everyone from a teen to a mature adult can find something special about this delightful mystery. Don’t wait—order your copy today and pick up a few extras for holiday giving.

Reviewer Note: The author also writes the Amish Quilt Shop Mysteries under the name Isabella Alan

Reviewed 2016