Dedication to Murder
Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery
By Lauren Elliott
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Jeanie
A first edition of The Velveteen Rabbit provides bookshop owner Addie Greyborne a telling clue to a cold case in her family’s past . . .
Wedding bells are about to ring again in Greyborne Harbor, and as Addie slips into her white dress her thoughts are focused on a bright future with Dr. Simon Emerson. But a discovery in her attic leads her to startling revelations about the past. As the owner of Beyond the Page Books and Curios and a lifelong bibliophile, Addie is delighted to find a rare collection of classic children’s books gathering dust in a secret room beneath the rafters, including a first edition of The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. To her surprise, a handwritten inscription on the title page provides a clue to unraveling a complex mystery in Addie’s family . . .
But that’s only the first surprise in a series of shocking twists that will turn Addie’s vision of where her life is going and where she’s come from upside down—including a suspicious death in the present that suggests foul play.
This is the best novel in the series so far! I enjoyed learning more about Addie’s family and following her search for the truth about the past. I was so wrapped up in both eras that I didn’t want this novel to end. There is always something new to learn about regular characters, and the new or visiting people are defined very well, for better or worse. The mysteries were very well-written and intriguing, especially since Addie’s knowledge of her ancestors was limited. Evidence proving foul play in the present-day death was seemingly non-existent.
The most memorable day in Addie’s life had just occurred. It was not memorable, however, for the reason she had hoped. Stunned at the turn of events, Addie spent the night at home alone with Pippi, her Yorkipoo. Over the next few days, there is another shock, the dominoes begin to fall and with them, possibly her future.
Addie chose to finish going through the rest of the attic of the treasures stored there by the woman she inherited the gorgeous Victorian from, her great-aunt Anita. There were still many books there that she might sell as rare and/ or vintage in her bookstore, Beyond the Page. While moving an empty shelf, another find led Addie to begin searching further into the history of the Greyborne family. She and best friend Serena found a hidden, locked door in the attic that led to a small room with unexpected contents. Included is a wedding gown, possibly from the 1950’s, many more books, and a trunk that held more of Anita’s journals. Of all things, it also contains a first edition of The Velveteen Rabbit with an inscription that teased her to learn more about her father’s family, and first editions of the first four Winnie the Pooh books. As the dominoes of her life continue to fall, Addie learns about a murder and subsequent cover-ups from many decades earlier.
Valerie, a lovely woman Addie had met a year ago, hosted a special tea for her niece Laurel and great-nephew, Mason. Laurel is the new veterinarian in town, and most of Greyborne Harbor was in attendance. Tragically, especially for Laurel, Valerie died during the event. Because of her health conditions, most people thought it was her heart. There was something unusual at the time so Simon, Addie’s intended and the medical examiner, was requested to do an autopsy where he found she had been poisoned. Unfortunately, there was no evidence, in her tea cup or anywhere else to indicate how she ingested the poison. Nobody else at the tea was even a little bit sick. Marc, the police chief and former beau of Addie, knew how much help she had been in the past when she would help find who the bad guy was in other murders. He and his officers had gone through many cell phone photos and videos of the tea, and because of her fine eye for details, Marc hoped Addie would look at them as well.
The author continues to develop and grow her characters in this series. That is especially evident in this novel, demonstrated in the characters’ outlooks, conversations, and activities. Addie and Serena have gone through significant life changes, and Serena is content in her new normal. It will be quite some time before we see the full effect in Addie. The core characters are resilient and engaging, and I am confident that Addie will be even better than before. The short-term characters are defined as their role requires. As Addie learns about her family in the past, those characters are also brought to life.
This novel is a bit different from other cozy mysteries in this series, and it was flawlessly executed. From one plot twist to the next, the mysteries of both centuries were very challenging. The resolutions to the murders were sad and shocking, with truly cold-blooded killers and self-serving motives. The very end was exactly what I hoped it would be, and I am SO looking forward to the next one! I highly recommend this cozy mystery and series!