Amateur sleuth Charley Carpenter discovers a coded journal that could crack her small town’s most infamous cold case wide open in this charming cozy mystery from the USA Today bestselling author of The Book Club Murders.
As the owner of Old Hat Vintage Fashions, Charley Carpenter supplies retro apparel to the residents of Oakwood, Ohio, but she’s been known to set business aside to play detective when a mystery rears its head. And there’s no bigger mystery in Oakwood than the murder of Regan Fletcher—a case that’s haunted the town for decades.
Regan’s boyfriend, Carter, did time for the crime—until another man’s confession freed him. But did the “real killer” really do it? Or did Carter walk away with blood on his hands? When Charley stumbles on an old journal written in code, it only complicates the case by revealing a blackmail scheme that targeted dozens of Oakwood’s citizens, giving them all a motive for murder.
Now, with a spate of new suspects to pursue, plus a fresh murder and the abduction of her sleuthing partner, Charley must dig deeper still into the past—even as she risks being buried by her shadowy prey. Joining forces with Detective Marcus Trenault and the newly formed Oakwood Mystery Book Club, Charley turns to a classic whodunit for clues on catching a killer—before more lives are lost, and the truth dies with them.
Leslie Nagel’s delightful Oakwood Mystery novels can be enjoyed together or separately:
THE BOOK CLUB MURDERS • THE ANTIQUE HOUSE MURDERS • THE ADVICE COLUMN MURDERS • THE CODEBOOK MURDERS
Fourth book in series
The Codebook Murders is the fourth novel in The Oakwood Mystery series. It can be read as a standalone if you have not read the previous books in this series. Charley loves a good mystery and is looking forward to the first book club meeting of the Oakwood Mystery Club that evening. Then a twister leaves devastation in its path and Charley finds herself with a real mystery on her hands. She found the journal of Reagan Fletcher who was murdered forty years ago after the high school homecoming game. The group is excited to solve the crime and are fortunate to get extensive records from reporter, Berkeley Dye. The mystery was multifaceted with plenty of suspects and good clues. New information keeps popping up during Charley’s investigation enhancing this complex conundrum. The police do not mind that Charley and the gang dig into the case as long as they pass along any pertinent information. I like the Nancy Drew references throughout the book including the mention of the old TV series (there was Hardy Boys show too). There is a large cast of characters that include Charley, her boyfriend, her father, the father’s caretaker and his girlfriend, the book club plus their significant others, teachers, a janitor, neighbors, shopkeepers, police, and a couple of eager teens (whew). I would have preferred a faster pace plus less duplication of case details and a smaller amount of speculation (these little tweaks would have elevated this cozy mystery). The Codebook Murders has a special ending that will please readers. My favorite phrase from the story is “. . . house isn’t a home unless there is love at its heart” (that is so sweet). Cozy mystery readers will rejoice at the perplexing puzzle in The Codebook Murders.