Title: Down the Rabbit Hole (Ashbrook Bookshop #1)
Author: Evelyn Amber
Published on: 19 November 2018
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Down the Rabbit Hole is the first book in the new cozy series – Ashbrook Bookshop mysteries. I have read a couple of books by Agatha Frost, and having heard a lot of good reviews about Scarlet Cove mysteries – co-author of which is Evelyn Amber, I was expecting a lot more from her series debut – Down the Rabbit Hole.
The story starts with Alice going through menopause and her series of hot flushes. And to add to this, she has a love-hate relationship with her ex-husband Gordon and her middle son Lucas. Although her other two kids – Holly and Justin are close to her, she wants to make amends with Lucas.
The family is at the dinner table when Barry Oakes, a friend of Alice, knocks at the door and asks her to return the book that he gave her a couple of days ago. Alice owns a bookshop where she sells used books too. Barry kinda threatens her and asks her to bring him the book. Alice says that she’s already sold it to her friend – Trevor.
The next day, Alice decides to meet Minnie and Trevor – the husband-wife duo/Alice’s best friends since school. But when Alice reaches their place, she sees that the door is open and Trevor is lying in a pool of blood.
Alice puts two and two together and concludes that Trevor’s murder has something to do with Barry asking her about the book – Alice in Wonderland. The copy that Alice sold is supposed to be a rare one and Barry desperately wants it back.
Minnie is portrayed as a rude person. Although it all makes sense in the end, I couldn’t understand why Alice chose to still be friends with someone who was nothing but rude to her. Then comes Barry. The guy who was friendly suddenly turns hostile! He speaks harshly to her, which again was something that didn’t make a lot of sense. From one perspective, it is pretty agreeable – Barry is in debt and needs the book to pay off his debts, but it all being his fault, I don’t think he had to be rude to Alice.
Alice’s ex-husband – Gordon has some or the other complaint about her. And her son – Lucas is rude to her too. Alice being the main character in the story, making her a sort of punching bag was something that I didn’t like. Also, I wish there were more details about Alice’s bookshop.
The ending was good, no doubt about that. The identity of the perp was unexpected and shocking. The mystery behind the stolen book(s) and murder(s) was an interesting concept. Trevor’s extra-marital affair with Faith was a nice touch. Alice believes that Faith is innocent and this creates a rift between her and Minnie. The catfight between Minnie and Faith was juicy!
Alice’s relationship with her children and ex-husband made the story a bit interesting. More work is needed on the character development. The conversations between the characters were dull. The book could do better with some editing. The writing was plain, descriptive at the beginning and hurried-up like in the end. Overall, it was an okay read. With a little bit of tweaking, the story would have been better.
Though I have given this book a low rating, I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.