Title: For Whom the Book Tolls (An Antique Bookshop Mystery #1)
Author: Laura Gail Black
Published on: 8 September 2020
Genre: Cozy Mystery
For Whom the Book Tolls is the first book in Laura Gail Black’s An Antique Bookshop Mystery series.
Trouble follows Jenna Quinn wherever she goes. She’s left behind a dark past at Charlotte, hoping to start a new life at Hokes Folly, North Carolina. She reaches her uncle Paul Baxter’s home at 2 in the morning. Uncle Paul had left a key below the door mat for her. She quietly walks into the house, hoping not to disturb her fast asleep uncle, retires to the guest room for the day.
The next morning she wakes up to see there;s no sign of Uncle Paul. Maybe he’s left for the Bookshop already (which is below his apartment). She finds a door that leads from the bookshop to the apartment. As she opens it, she finds Uncle Paul lying at the bottom of the stairs. It doesn’t take a second look to know Uncle Paul is dead.
Jenna Quinn, the pauper, inherits millions of dollars and the bookstore, soon after her uncle’s death. The police suspect she killed Uncle Paul for inheritance.
What a hoot! There are some stories that hook the reader from the start and For Whom the Book Tolls is one of them. Quirky characters and their quirky doings, a dash or two of humor and a murder mystery, Uh-huh, I absolutely loved every bit of For Whom the Book Tolls.
We are given a brief flashback of Jenna’s past as the story begins. The poor girl had a tough time in Charlotte, what with being wrongly arrested for a crime she did not commit. And here she is, again, being accused of a crime she did not commit. History repeats?
Rita Wallace, Uncle Paul’s next door neighbor and now Jenna’s, gets along well with Jenna as soon as they meet. She helps Jenna in arranging books, taking her to the nearest pub for lunch and the Sunday church service. Then comes the two elderly Hokes sisters – Ophelia and Olivia. Olivia is a little dominating-type while Ophelia, or Phillie, as she’s called by her friends, strikes a friendly chord with Jenna.
Halfway through the story comes a twist. Uncle Paul did not have any children or siblings so Jenna inherited it all… until, well, do the Math. When there is a huge sum of inheritance involved, a lot of unwanted characters are attracted to it…
Appearance of the aforementioned character leads to another twist. Now, this is something I did not see coming. I was pretty sure this heir-apparent was a fraud… and then… Hum! In Charlotte, Jenna lost her friends, job and dignity. But as she moves to Hokes Folly, she makes new friends. Mason, Rita and the hunka-hunka Detective Keith Logan. As the story ends, Keith and Jenna make goo-goo eyes at each other so there’s your ‘dash of romance’ in a murder mystery.
The mystery behind the murder was something unique. The history of the Hokes is woven beautifully into the story. As Jenna continues to gather clues, she understands there’s more than inheritance or jealousy at play.
Coming to the identity of the killer, I wouldn’t say it was unexpected or surprising because there were certain clues – especially in the latter part of the story- which lead to the perp. Having said that, I don’t think I would have liked the ending if the perp was someone else. The sinister motive, jealousy and the psychological aspect of committing crimes – it had to be them!
I absolutely enjoyed reading For Whom the Book Tolls. I am certainly looking to reading the next book in this series. Highly recommended!
Many thanks to Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for the ARC. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.