Take one librarian named Faith Newberry, a cat named Watson, a new position in an exclusive retreat’s library, a handsome co-protagonist, and plenty of amateur sleuths not to mention a dead body and conflicting clues and you have the cozy mystery entitled A Novel Murder. The title alone is a play on words based on the library aspect of the story.
Faith Newberry’s family has been sworn enemy of Wolfe Jaxon’s family for at least a century, blaming the Jaxons for the loss of great-grandfather Newberry’s life and livelihood. With Wolfe Jaxon now becoming Faith’s new boss – his family owns the Castelton Manor – its no wonder the local police look at Faith as the prime suspect when her predecessor Doris Lincoln turns up missing. And when kitty Watson finds the defunct librarian’s body hidden in a secret passage of the manor, Faith’s fate is almost sealed.
With the help of Faith’s Aunt Eileen – herself a librarian for the town – our intrepid librarian and cat lover realizes that there is more here than meets the eye. And when she discovers the forged copies of rare Sherlock Holmes first editions in the Manor’s library, Faith realizes that she may be in danger herself.
This reader doesn’t often venture into the world of cozy mysteries but now and then I find them entertaining. This one does not disappoint. With an interesting story line and clever exposition of clues, I became vested in proving Faith’s innocence. However, I had several items to discourage me.
Mystery readers will know that the reader is usually introduced to the real killer early on in the story. That was not the case in A Novel Murder. The culprit wasn’t even mentioned until late in the story and I believe the author had no idea who to pin the murder on and thus introduced this character at an opportune point in the story.
Additionally, I was appalled that the publisher (Annie’s Publishing) charged almost twenty dollars for a hardcover copy of a relatively short book; add to that the fact that one needs to subscribe to their mystery club for a new book each month at roughly the same price. This would set back the avid reader slightly less than $250 per year – money that could be better spent on any number of other books.
I deducted one star for each of the ‘problems’ I discerned with this story.
Rating: 3 stars