Length: 305 pgs / 8 hrs 40 mins audio

Overall: 🐢🐢


Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Writing Style:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Character Development:

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.


Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

“You really have no idea of the legacy that’s been left, do you?”

Murder by the Book by Lauren Elliott

The Story:

Addie left some painful memories behind in the big city, including the unsolved murder of her fiancé and her father’s fatal car accident. After an unexpected inheritance from a great aunt, she’s moved to a small New England town founded by her ancestors back in colonial times—and living in spacious Greyborne Manor, on a hilltop overlooking the harbor. Best of all, her aunt also left her countless first editions and other treasures—providing an inventory to start her own store.

But there’s trouble from day one, and not just from the grumpy woman who runs the bakery next door. A car nearly runs Addie down. Someone steals a copy of Alice in Wonderland. Then, Addie’s friend Serena, who owns a nearby tea shop, is arrested—for killing another local merchant. The police seem pretty sure they’ve got the story in hand, but Addie’s not going to let them close the book on this case without a fight . .

Key Elements:

Cozy Mystery, Small Town, Bookstore, Police Chief, Romance, Friendship, Robbery, Murder Mystery

Others in Series:

Book 2: Prologue to Murder
Book 3: Murder in the First Edition
Book 4: Proof of Murder
Book 5: A Page Marked for Murder
Book 6: Under the Cover of Murder
Book 7: To the Tome of Murder
Book 8: A Margin for Murder
Book 9: Dedication to Murder

Why This Rating?

I was really hoping for a knock out for the cozy mystery feels in this one, but unfortunately it was well below the mark. I liked the story well enough and I was able to finish it. There were so many individuals tied up into this resolution. I almost wish a few of the story’s end were left unanswered to keep the suspense going for the other books in the series. There could have been a great tie together for all of the books if a few of the things at the end weren’t given now, but much later. I’m a little worried about what else could pop up since there were SO MANY answers given to Addie. I mean there are 9 books in this series, what else could happen? I do love the fact we were given closure, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. It will be very interesting to see what the author chooses to do with the series now.


The writing was quite hard to read through. There were random jumps in time from one chapter end to the beginning of the next with very little context as to why the main character is moving scenes. There is one chapter that ends with Addie and Marc talking about the case and with what I thought were reasonable reactions considering they is a murder cases happening. Then, Boom!, it just cuts off. Yup, just as sudden as that. In the next chapter we have Addie “waking up” in Marc’s office because she fainted from the shocking news??? I had to reread those pages a few times to make sure I was understanding what happened properly. She hasn’t exhibited any sense of being fainthearted or anything. If anything, she is experiencing things that would be WAY more emotional than the conversation happening in that scene. And that is just one that comes to mind but there are more that happen in similar jumps. It is just leaving the readers way behind and the author is running along with the story not a care in the world.

The conversations between the people had me audibly rolling my eyes. There is choppy dialogs between everyone. I will admit the few one liners sprinkled in the story got a strong single laugh out of me. It was weird to have Addie essentially spill her entire backstory to a woman she just met. She kind of goes “I like you. We are now friends”(ok Dug from Up…) and bam sleep overs on night one of meeting and forever inseparable after a single day. Going to the mat for each other LITERALLY at one point. It has been a week y’all. Like what?? If I didn’t know the traditional set up for a cozy mystery, my money was on Serena as the secret bad guy for the entire series. Regardless of how the book’s synopsis set it up. I liked my odds with that theory. I will admit, Serena was quite entertaining and I really do like her as a character. Almost wish we got a story from her.

Oh, and all of the winks/smirks that are tossed in everywhere. I should go back a count up how many there were. I was dying for a change of expression between Marc and Addie halfway through the story. No, wait, thats a lie. I was dying for a change of expression between Everyone and Addie at the halfway point. It just happens to be more between those two since they are clearly the intended interest for the book. Which I am all for the romance aspect of the cozy mysteries. I think they are absolutely charming and makes me squeal because they are so cute! There is a lot of potential between our bookstore owner and the officer. If I could get around the writing choices that were a bit rough around the edges, this would be a story I could sink my teeth into.

I do plan on giving at least the second book a try. More because I oddly curious about what else could have possibly shown up in that small town. Also, to see if the writing has improved at all. The story was a cute premise and clearly it roped me into reading the whole thing, but the writing almost had me stopping about 20% into it.

Time to get lost in the next story!

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