A Tourist’s Guide to Murder

Mystery Bookshop #6

By V. M. Burns

ISBN 9781496728951

Author’s website: vmburns.com

Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie


While visiting the land of Miss Marple and Sherlock Holmes, bookstore owner and amateur sleuth Samantha Washington finds herself on a tragical mystery tour . . .

Sam joins Nana Jo and her Shady Acres Retirement Village friends Irma, Dorothy, and Ruby Mae on a weeklong trip to London, England, to experience the Peabody Mystery Lovers Tour. The chance to see the sights and walk the streets that inspired Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle is a dream come true for Sam—and a perfect way to celebrate her new publishing contract as a mystery author.

But between visits to Jack the Ripper’s Whitechapel district and 221B Baker Street, Major Horace Peabody is found dead, supposedly of natural causes. Despite his employer’s unfortunate demise, the tour guide insists on keeping calm and carrying on—until another tourist on their trip also dies under mysterious circumstances. Now it’s up to Sam and the Shady Acres ladies to mix and mingle among their fellow mystery lovers, find a motive, and turn up a murderer . . . (from Goodreads)


“It’s only one week. What could possibly go wrong?”

What a fun, fun novel with not one, but two intriguing mysteries! The author really wowed me with this cozy! For anyone new to the series, the author shares the best of both worlds for those who enjoy both contemporary and historical cozies. Being an armchair traveler is exciting with the author’s descriptive writing, and the characters are pure delight! A couple of the personalities remind me of The Golden Girls. Various stages of life are represented, from college students to octogenarians. The author demonstrates that one can enjoy life at any age!

Sam writes her cozy mysteries set in late 1930’s England, immediately before the start of WWII. She is going to London with her grandmother, Nana Jo, and three of her closest friends for a week-long Mystery Lover’s Tour. It is in part a vacation, and in part a research trip for Sam’s work in progress. Sam put her mystery bookshop in capable hands, and her beloved poodles with her sister and brother-in-law. Her gentleman friend is looking forward to her return even before she leaves.

With this crew of friends, almost anything that could go wrong, does! From Sam not finding her passport when she gets to O’Hare Airport to Dorothy nearly assaulting someone at the airport in London for trying to take her suitcase, the journey itself was very eventful.

Early on the day of their arrival, Major Horace Peabody, the tour company owner, was overheard in an angry conversation about his plan to sell the business. Clive, the man who has been a business partner is angry, especially when he learns he won’t get anything from the sale as they never had a written agreement. Drama played out at the opening day gathering for the tour participants. Peabody is confronted by Prudence, a woman on the tour who claimed to have been an ex-girlfriend and mother of “their” adult daughter Lavender – his only known child. His niece and only heir, Debra arrives with her latest fiancé, Sebastian. Peabody told Debra that he had been taking steps to disinherit her.

The next morning, Sam and her friends are getting ready for the day’s outing. Sam went into the ballroom for another copy of the brochure, and saw Peabody sitting at one of the tables with his head at an odd angle. Clive came into the ballroom as well, saw Peabody, and tried to awaken him. Peabody is dead, and surprisingly, Clive doesn’t contact the police! Clive insists that they go on the day’s tour; as a businessman, Peabody would want the show to go on.

Before long, one of the people on the tour is found dead. When Hannah, a new friend of Sam and her friends’ new friend Hannah is arrested on suspicion of murder, Sam, Nana Jo, and their friends are on the case. In their North Harbor home, Sam, Nana Jo and her friends have helped the local detective, Stinky Pitts, solve more than one murder. They don’t know anyone in England, but that won’t stop them! Even as they puzzle out this mystery, Sam puzzles out the novel she is currently writing, the characters of which are equally as endearing and the mystery as clever.

I really enjoy the characters; they are so well defined! While I missed some of the regulars in North Harbor, I think that seeing Sam and company together in London was well worth it. Sam is a young widow who recently began dating someone and has a full life with her family, mystery bookstore, and writing. Nana Jo and Dorothy have black belts in martial arts. Irma, in her 6-inch heels, has her black belt in flirting with every unattached man. Ruby Mae, who has had a fascinating life of hard work and love, has family and extended family around the world. The characters in Sam’s cozy are equally as well defined according to their roles.

Those who enjoy a healthy helping of humor in cozy mysteries will absolutely love this! Plot twists unfold in Sam’s writing world as well as on the tour. Sam found the first enormous twist around Peabody’s death, one that I never would have seen. The mystery within the mystery brings another level of intrigue and insight into the era. The bad guys seem almost obvious at times until everyone’s motives are revealed in each mystery. The resolutions of both mysteries are satisfying and complete. I highly recommend this, especially to those who enjoy both historical and contemporary mysteries!