Murder at a Cape Bookstore
Cozy Capers Book Group Mystery #5
By Maddie Day
Author’s website: edithmaxwell.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
It’s mud season in Cape Cod, and when an ill wind blows in a murder with a twist in the tale, bicycle shop owner Mackenzie “Mac” Almeida and her crime-solving book group are ready to leaf through the clues . .
Everyone loves a festival, though Mac has a few concerns about the Spring equinox event organized by the new Chamber of Commerce director, Wagner Lavoie. After all, March weather is unpredictable. Still, there’s plenty to enjoy, between flower-shaped candies at Salty Taffy’s, spring rolls at the Rusty Anchor, and a parade of decorated bicycles. But the festivities soon take a stormy turn . . .
Mac glimpses conflict between Wagner and other locals during the festival, but it’s a shock when he’s found dead in the Book Nook, pinned beneath a toppled bookshelf. It’s an irresistible case for Mac’s book group. She and the rest of the Cozy Capers will have to use all their sleuthing skills to bring the killer’s story to an end . . . (From Goodreads)
Wagner, the new director of Westham’s Chamber of Commerce, wasn’t anybody’s favorite person. Many weren’t even sad Wagner was murdered. It didn’t matter that his plans for the Spring Equinox festival were more successful than predicted, as long as he wasn’t there to cause the shopkeepers or people from his past any further trouble.
The engaging characters are designed well, and we continue to learn about the regulars through their words and actions. Regarding Wagner and those suspected of his murder, many rumors abound that need to be proved or disproved. Mac, her family, and her friends in the Cozy Capers book group are engaging, and I enjoyed visiting them again. Mac had to look at some of her acquaintances in the community who she knew couldn’t kill anyone to help get the detectives’ sights off of them.
Most business owners were members of the Chamber of Commerce, including Mac. She opened Mac’s Bikes a couple years earlier and is busy year-round. She sells, rents, and repairs bicycles for all ages, including the popular adult tricycles. She also sells accessories and a line of clothing with the shop’s logo. Orlean, an excellent mechanic, was hired up front as her mechanic and later, Mac’s brother Derrick. He recently returned to school, so Mac hired Orlean’s sister Sandy to work the morning shift. Sandy became a challenge to Mac and Orlean; Mac wants to give her a chance but will soon have to decide whether or not to let her go.
March weather in the Cape Cod area could bring rain or snow, and wasn’t typically a time to plan outdoor events. The Spring Equinox festival had several activities, including a bicycle parade for riders of all ages. The bike riders were to decorate their bicycles for spring, and the route was from the parking lot at Mac’s to the town hall. Wagner expected each of the shopkeepers to have a freebie to give to people.
The weather held until after the bike parade, then snow began to fall. Mac had been around town for a few things, including visiting with fellow store owners or managers. She enjoyed talking with the former police chief, and spent a few minutes outdoors with him at the Book Nook, which he managed when the owner was down south in the winter. Minutes after Mac returned to the shop, she heard emergency vehicles nearby, and followed them to the book store. The retired chief, Norland, had heard a noise coming from inside the shop and went back in. Wagner wouldn’t be a problem to anyone any more, as he was lying under a huge wood shelf, dead. Being crushed by the shelf looked to be the cause of death, but a much more sinister reason was found during the autopsy.
This new murder was quite the challenge! There were so many people with a grudge against Wagner, that the challenge wasn’t finding suspects, but narrowing them down. They included Park, the lead town selectperson, who was upset when Wagner was hired as the new Chamber of Commerce director. He wanted his daughter, Kassandra, to have the job. Since Kassandra returned to town after losing her dream job in the Everglades, the only position she could get quickly was at the toy store her mother opened in December. Others with recent disputes with him were Yvonne, a local chef, Gin, Mac’s best friend, and Mac’s newest hire, Sandy, who was dealing with a few problems.
It was time for Mac and those from the cozy mystery book group to begin investigating. I like how they kept a text chain that all could see and respond to with any findings or suggestions. This group of friends is well organized when they divide and discover information. The state police detective, Lincoln, who has been there for past murders, appreciates the info Mac brings to him as she and the Cozy Capers have proven very helpful in the past. Discovering who killed Wagner kept everyone thinking, especially the local and the state detectives – and me! I was sad to see who the real bad guy was; in some ways it was a surprise, in other ways, it was not. All ended satisfactorily, and I am looking forward to seeing this fun group of cozy mystery readers again! I highly recommend this mystery and series!