I’m back again to talk about a book that I have recently read that is definitely one of the Most Popular and Recommended Cozy Mystery Series. The next book that I read to be part of that series of posts is the first of the Antique Bookshop Mystery Series, Laura Gail Black’s For Whom the Book Tolls.
In what seems to be a trend in modern cozies (For Whom the Book Tolls was published in 2020), the story is written from the first person perspective of our sleuth, Jenna Quinn. In the beginning of the story, Jenna is arriving from Charlotte, North Carolina to the small town of Hokes Folly to work for her Uncle Paul who runs his antique book shop. Her intention is to stay with him for a while to try to escape from the nightmare that was her life in Charlotte.
In literally a very few pages, she finds her life upside down again because she discovers her uncle dead at the bottom of the staircase that leads to the bookstore. (Where the crime happened is depicted pretty well on the cover of the book.) So, before Jenna has met anybody in Hokes Folly, Jenna is caught up in a murder investigation.
Because Uncle Paul has generously left Jenna with most of his possessions, including the antique books shop, Jenna is naturally considered a strong suspect by the police detectives, Frank Sutter and Keith Logan. Jenna’s past in Charlotte also lends support to her being a prime suspect. Sutter and Logan, the two detectives, provide quite a contrast. Sutter, the senior detective is overweight and wears ill fitting suits. He jumps to conclusions easily and is ready to arrest Jenna almost right after meeting her. Logan is tall and very good looking. He is a good listener and it is apparent that he is reluctant to settle on Jenna as the perpetrator. Jenna is 26 years old and apparently quite attractive. (One point for guessing who Jenna ends up in a relationship with!) Ok, that one was too easy.
At any rate, before long Jenna decides that she needs to engage in a bit of sleuthing in order to clear her name. And Jenna soon meets her neighbor, Rita, who is eager to help.
For Whom the Book Tolls is set in an interesting small Southern town. It has interesting and not too quirky secondary characters. Laura Gail Black, the author, apparently has a longstanding interest in antique books, so one of the first rules of writing is met easily — write about things you know. Thus, the bookstore seems to have the ring of authenticity that is so important to bring the story to life.
The series is up to three books now, with the latest in 2022. Click here to see the page on the cozy site that lists the books. Here’s hoping there are going to be many more books in the series!
If you’d like to see other entries about some of the most recommended Cozy Mystery authors, be sure to check out the Most Popular and Recommended Cozy Mystery Series page on my site.