Reserved for Murder is the second book in A Booklover’s B&B Mystery series by Victoria Gilbert. This book can be read as a standalone but I highly recommend you to read the first book of this series so that you will an idea as to what the series plot is.
We have two mysteries here. One, the murder of a guest staying at Charlotte’s B&B. Two, the mystery surrounding Charlotte’s late great-aunt’s service to the US intelligence. But first, an introduction to what Reserved for Murder is all about.
A renowned romance author, Amanda Nobel, is staying at Charlotte Reed’s Chapters, A book-themed B&B. Charlotte Reed was widowed four years ago when her heroic husband succumbed to injuries during an attack at school. He managed to save a lot of children and was awarded for his bravery posthumously. But no number of awards or words could bring back Charlotte’s loved one back. After her great-aunt Isabella’s death, Charlotte inherited the B&B and decided to restart her life as a B&B owner. The cooking at B&B is managed by her aunt’s trustworthy aid, Alice. Damian, a young and hot-headed chef-in-the-making also helps Charlotte during events.
Charlotte’s neighbour, Ellen, worked as Isabella’s handler. In the previous book (first in the series), Charlotte learned her great-aunt worked for US Intelligence. Reserved for Murder begins with a youngish man standing in front of Ellen’s house. Is Ellen entertaining guests? Or, is he a relative? Charlotte is curious. Soon, she learns the young man is a ‘cousin’ of Ellen and is in Beaufort to stay for a couple of days.
Charlotte is hosting three more guests, along with Amanda and her publicist, Tony. The other three guests are winners of a contest held by Amanda’s publishers. The trio get to spend some quality time with their favorite author. Things take a turn for worse when one of the winners is found dead. Charlotte wonders if she’s once again hosting a murderer in the B&B.
I absolutely loved every bit of this story. Victoria Gilbert is a master storyteller. I really love the mix of mystery and spy-angle the author’s brought about in the series. Strong character portrayal and a mystery that keeps you on the edge of your seat are the highlights of this book.
The mystery behind the murder is well-maintained throughout. As the story proceeds, Charlotte learns the victim had her set of issues in the fan-fiction world. She was accused of plagiarism and there was a whole lot of drama regarding the same. The guests staying at the B&B are on the top of the suspects list. As much as Charlotte wants to investigate this case, there’s something else bothering her. Gavin, Ellen’s supposed cousin, seems a little weird. Is he one of Ellen’s trainees?
Red herrings are plenty so give your deerstalker hat a break. I could not guess the identity of the killer. The action sequence at the end surely upped the mystery factor by a notch. We also have a dash of romance as the story ends. I am eagerly waiting to see if there’s some progress in the romance department in the future books of this series.
Reserved for Murder is an entertaining, enjoyable and completely engrossing cozy mystery. A bookish-themed B&B, an amateur sleuth with ties with ex-spies, murder and mystery and a whole lot of fun, what else do cozy mystery lovers need!
I received an ARC from Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.