The Fatal Folio

The Fatal Folio header

I was so impressed by The Fatal Folio, third in the Cambridge Bookshop mystery series by Elizabeth Penney, that I went back and read the first two. The series began with Chapter and Curse and continued with A Treacherous Tale. They’re great cozy mysteries, particularly for Anglophiles.

Molly Kimball and her mother move from Vermont to Cambridge, England, after the death of her father and to help her aunt run a family bookshop, one of the oldest in the city.

In the first book, a guest giving a reading at the store to draw some publicity is murdered, and the aunt is the primary suspect. Of course Molly starts investigating to save her family member, and she unravels a web of historical rivalries amongst a group of women who went to university together years ago. The second book revolves around a beloved children’s book, written by a local author, whose daughter has gone missing.

The Fatal Folio

The Fatal Folio, due out in October, again incorporates an historical aspect. Molly has been asked to catalog her boyfriend’s family library, which includes works 500 years old. (They’re minor nobles, you see.) There’s a famous old gothic novel written by a pseudonymous ancestor, and the manuscript is an object of much desire, along with rumors of an unknown sequel.

The atmosphere is what really attracted me, the idea of a literary life with plenty of family and friends around. Although these are murder mysteries, they’re firmly in the cozy tradition, with little violence or threat, just a mystery unspooling.

(The publisher provided an advance digital review copy.)

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