Thousand Islands bookseller Shelby Cox is caught between a lethal rock and a hardheaded newcomer in Essie Lang's third Castle Bookshop mystery, a must-read for fans of Lorna Barrett and Vicki Delany.
Wake up on a houseboat, moored in scenic Alexandria Bay, New York. Ride the gentle waves to work at quaint Bayside Books, where you spend your days supplying literature and conversation to the charming locals and seasonal tourists. Sounds pleasant, doesn't it? Except bookseller Shelby Cox has already sleuthed two murders from Bayside Books's home base on Blye Island, one of New York State's famed Thousand Islands. And this time, mayhem knocks right on Shelby's waterside door when she finds a body lodged between the side of her houseboat and the dock, his skull shattered.
The victim is no local, but Shelby can't shake the feeling she's seen him before. Twice, in fact--that's how many times he's dropped into Bayside Books asking about an enigmatic woman who lived on Blye Island many years before. The last time? The day before he was found. But the poor man obviously was killed elsewhere, so who brought him down to the bay, and why?
When the victim's daughter hits town demanding answers, Shelby takes the case, despite Police Chief Tekla Stone's usual reservations. But she uncovers more suspects than there are pages in War and Peace, and Shelby can expect no peace--except the peace of the grave--unless she can turn the page on this grisly mystery.
Lang's pleasant third Castle Bookshop mystery (after 2020's Death on the Page) opens with Shelby Cox, co-owner of Bayside Books in Alexandria Bay, N.Y., and a bookshop in a historic castle-cum-museum on nearby Blye Island, discovering a dead body wedged between her houseboat and the dock. The victim's identity is unknown, but Shelby recognizes him as a man who recently visited one of her bookshops in search of a woman who moved to town seven years earlier. He didn't know the name the woman might be using, but he did know that she loved books and reading. Shelby once again turns sleuth, but she does little investigating, being too busy helping out at a mystery book event and mulling over her relationship with boyfriend Zack Griffin, a Coast Guard Investigative Service agent. Diehard romantics will look forward to returning to this idyllic cozy setting; those who expect some serious detecting may prefer to pass.