Murder in the First Edition
Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery #3
By Lauren Elliott
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
Addie Greyborne is preparing for the holidays at her bookstore in seaside New England–but a winter storm is coming, in more ways than one . . .
Addie’s getting into the spirit for the upcoming Charity Auction–especially since she’s got an 1843 copy of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol to donate. Her former colleagues at the Boston Public Library have confirmed that its worth runs toward the high five figures, which should help with the new pediatric wing. Her mood darkens, though, when a visitor from the past appears–Jonathan Hemingway, the father of her late fiancé. His presence stirs up sad memories for Addie, but also has her fuming when Jonathan, true to his womanizing ways, runs off for a lunchtime liaison with Teresa Lang, who’s in charge of the auction.
Soon after, Addie heads to Teresa’s office at the hospital–and finds the poor woman’s dead body. What she doesn’t find is her valuable first edition. What sort of Scrooge would steal from sick children and commit murder in the process? As a Nor’easter bears down and a mystery emerges about Jonathan’s past, Addie must find out if she can appraise people’s motives and characters as well as she can appraise rare books . . .
I really enjoy this series and like this one best so far! Addie’s bookstore would be fun to work in or visit. The characters are well-defined and most are very likable. Weaving this stimulating mystery around Christmas, a first edition of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, and holiday celebrations with friends and family was done very well!
It has been about a year since Addie moved to Greyborne Harbor, into the home she inherited from her aunt. She opened Beyond the Page, a book and curio store, and business is great. She takes books on consignment, both current and collectible, and sells a few books that were in her aunt’s collection. For the upcoming Charity Auction that will benefit the hospital’s pediatrics wing, she is donating a first edition of “A Christmas Carol”. She just received the certified appraisal to raise bids. Collectors and dealers are coming from around New England to bid on it. A Nor’easter is on the way in, however, that might put a damper on the festivities.
Another damper on the holidays is the unexpected visit from her Jonathan, her late fiancé, David’s, father. David, like Addie’s late father, was an antiquity and rare book retrieval specialist, and was murdered before she moved. Jonathan had been in and out of his son’s life for years between work and womanizing, often missing holidays without even calling David. Addie had seen the hurt it caused her man over the years and had never quite forgiven Jonathan.
Jonathan was in town to have lunch with Teresa, the charity auction coordinator and old friend. While he was speaking with Addie, Catherine, a dear friend of Addie and her late father, came in. A lovely woman, the last person she wanted her to meet is Jonathan, who immediately turned on the charm.
Addie went to the hospital for her meeting with Teresa and wanted to deliver the certified appraisal personally. When Teresa was nowhere to be found, she left the envelope on her desk. The shatterproof book case “A Christmas Carol” has been in was open and the book missing. She took the stairs to the lower level, where she found Teresa, lying at the bottom of the steps, still warm, but dead.
Marc, the police chief, and Simon, a doctor and the coroner, do a cursory investigation. One of Mac’s officers was going to arrest Addie, despite the protests of Addie and best friend Serena. Thankfully, she is released later that day.
Marc and Addie had dated for a while; arresting her was adding insult to injury. She has been seeing Simon only as a friend, and the two men were barely civil to each other. Marc believed that Addie wasn’t over David, even though it had been more than a year since his death. Simon is patiently waiting for Addie to be over both David and Marc.
Addie desperately wants to find where the donated book is, as well as find who killed Teresa. It is possible that the two are related. She suspects Jonathan, as he had been there to have lunch with Teresa, and there is something that about him that she doesn’t trust. Who else could be suspect? One thing is certain – Addie didn’t do it! Marc doesn’t want her to do any investigating on her own. While she had helped solve murders already, it almost cost her life in the process.
Simon found anomalies in the autopsy labs and sent them to a friend at a larger facility. There is no sign of the book anywhere. Patrick, Teresa’s assistant, is attacked, then an attempt is made on his life. Jonathan broke into Addie’s house to warn her away from asking questions, and another warning is left in her shop.
The characters are well-defined as necessary for their roles. Jonathan is a mystery, yet he has won over everyone except Addie. I like Addie best and would love to spend a couple weeks in her shoes, at least when she isn’t looking into a murder. One thing I enjoyed was watching the changes in relationship between Martha, the baker, and her daughter Paige, and Addie. Addie’s efforts have not been wasted, and I loved their bonding over gingerbread men! Martha has a sense of humor – who knew?
The plot twists bring surprises and an ever-changing suspect list that kept me on my toes! I kept looking closely at each suspect, even when Marc and Simon tried to knock holes in every theory Addie presented. The auction date neared, the storm came in, and the power went out. I did guess part of the motives and solution, and still had some great surprises. The end was satisfying, with the loose ends tied up. I highly recommend this novel, and this series!