The Plot Is Murder
The first in a new line of Mystery Bookshop mysteries, The Plot Is Murder is predictable but good-hearted, a welcome diversion for fans of cozy mysteries.
I liked that, while our middle-aged heroine Sam is newly on her own and starting a new business, she wasn’t divorced from a cheating ne’er-do-well (as in so many of these books). She’s been widowed, and she’s opening a mystery bookstore as a way of honoring a dream she shared with her departed husband.
Unfortunately, the cheating real estate agent who sold her the building is found dead on her patio, and the useless local detective likes her for the crime.
The book seems at times a little over-stuffed. For the animal lovers, Sam has two poodles. For humor, there’s her gun-toting grandmother and her active group of friends at the retirement village, who provide most of the plot advances. One is a flirt and gathers needed information that way. Another has a wide network of relatives who all conveniently work wherever the amateur sleuths need to get information.
There’s also the agent’s widow to get information from, and the dead man’s criminal uncle, just released from jail. More unusual is the second book included. Sam is writing her own mystery that we get to read as she writes it, an historical mystery/romance set amongst the British upper class in 1938. It’s pretty good, mainly due to the dialogue and character interaction. More to the point, it means that we get two cases in one book, which keeps things moving.
It’s unusual for me to guess the crime in advance, but this was one where I knew what the revelation was going to be long before the characters did. However, I enjoyed spending time with these women, and I’d read another in the series. I do wish, however, that so many cozies didn’t end with the bad guy showing up to threaten the life of the lead. I know it’s easier than establishing deductive proof, but it’s such a cliche! (The publisher provided an advance digital review copy.)