A Shakespearean scholar inherits a beachside bookshop—and a murder mystery—in this delightful new cozy series for fans of Kate Carlisle and Ellery Adams
Summer Merriweather’s career as a Shakespeare professor hangs by a bookbinder’s thread. Academic life at her Virginia university is a viper’s pit, so Summer spends her summer in England, researching a scholarly paper that, with any luck, will finally get her published, impress the Dean, and save her job. But her English idyll ends when her mother, Hildy, shuffles off her mortal coil from an apparent heart attack.
Returning to Brigid’s Island, North Carolina, for the funeral, Summer is impatient to settle the estate, sell Beach Reads—her mom’s embarrassingly romance-themed bookstore—and go home. But as she drops by Beach Reads, Summer finds threatening notes addressed to Hildy: “Sell the bookstore or die.”
Clearly, something is rotten on Brigid’s Island. What method is behind the madness? Was Hildy murdered? The police insist there’s not enough evidence to launch a murder investigation. Instead, Summer and her Aunt Agatha screw their courage to the sticking place and start sleuthing, with the help of Hildy’s beloved book club. But there are more suspects on Brigid’s Island than are dreamt of in the Bard’s darkest philosophizing. And if Summer can’t find the villain, the town will be littered with a Shakespearean tragedy’s worth of corpses—including her own.
This charming series launch from Blackburn (The Jean Harlow Bombshell as Mollie Cox Bryan) introduces Summer Merriweather, who returns after years away to her hometown of Brigid's Island, N.C., to attend the funeral of her mother, Hildy. Summer's aunt, Agatha Merriweather St. Clair, tells her that the cause of death has yet to be determined, though Summer doubts her healthy 64-year-old mother died of natural causes. At Beach Reads, the bookstore Hildy owned, Summer is alarmed to find notes threatening Hildy if she won't sell her beloved store. Summer suspects Rudy Irons, owner of the arcade next door, is behind the threats, but the local police chief isn't going to be any use to her since he's hated her ever since she left his son at the altar. Fortunately, she finds allies in Aunt Agatha, Agatha's daughter, and granddaughter, not to mention the ladies in the Mermaid Pie Book Club, in her effort to unmask a killer. Plenty of booklore (Beach Reads has three shelves of werewolf romances) enhances the sleuthing. Cozy fans will be delighted.