Proof of Murder
Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery, Book #4
By Lauren Elliott
Author Website: laurenelliottauthor(.)com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
Bookshop owner Addie Greyborne must solve a locked-room murder in a supposedly haunted mansion to recover a priceless Sherlock Holmes original in the fourth book of Lauren Elliott’s literary themed Addie Greyborne Mystery series.
Bookshop owner Addie Greyborne must solve a locked-room murder in a supposedly haunted mansion to recover a priceless Sherlock Holmes original . . .
The seaside New England town of Greyborne Harbor is home to many grand estates, including the Queen Anne Victorian Addie inherited from her great aunt. Now one of those mansions is holding an estate sale, which is just what the bookshop owner needs to replenish her supply of rare editions–even if the house is rumored to be haunted. Assisting an overwhelmed insurance appraiser with the inventory, Addie discovers an 1887 magazine containing Arthur Conan Doyle’s first Sherlock Holmes novel, A Study in Scarlet, which she estimates to be worth over one hundred and fifty thousand dollars.
But when Addie later finds the appraiser dead in the estate’s private library, with the door bolted from the inside, and the priceless edition missing, it’s a mystery worthy of the Great Detective himself. She’s certain the death and the robbery are connected–but who, other than a ghost who can walk through walls, could have gotten in to do the deed? It’s up to Addie to find the key to the crime–before she’s the next one cornered by a killer. (Goodreads)
Proof of Murder is the most confounding mystery in this series to date! With a literally locked-room mystery and a strong attempt at framing our heroine, there is no end to speculating what really happened. I love the little town New England town of Greyborne Harbor and Addie’s unique bookstore, Beyond the Page. The characters are well-defined, and most are very likable.
Addie Greyborne inherited her aunt’s home in Greyborne Harbor. Leaving her career in appraising rare and vintage books at the Boston Library, she moved and opened Beyond the Page, where she sells new, rare, vintage, and consignment books and various curios and collectibles. Addie’s best friend, Serena, has her tea shop next door. Addie is dating Simon, appreciates her new family in Greyborne Harbor.
Addie is going to the dealer preview for an auction at Hill Road House, where a vast library of vintage and classic books is housed. Her assistant, Paige, and Serena, both try to discourage her from going as the home has been reputed to be haunted for more than 70 years when the last owners died. It has been vacant except for the resident ghost and it is now being auctioned off for back taxes. The auction company is owned by Blake, a good friend of her late father.
Addie overhears a discussion between Blake and Charlotte, the appraiser, about a newly-found bookcase of rare finds. Addie offers to help Charlotte and Blake with the appraisals. She spends the day going through the bookcase, making the exciting discovery of a few highly desirable Sherlock Holmes collectibles. She also has interesting experiences such as feeling as if she is being watched, feeling icy cold spots despite the warm day, and overhearing Charlotte and her assistant discussing more items missing from the auction inventory.
The next day, Addie and Blake try to get into the locked library, but it has been bolted from the inside. When it is pried open, they find Charlotte, with a look of horror frozen on her face, dead In her chair. Blake left to call the police, and Addie looked around the room, as the table of special books looked disturbed. She sees that the special Holmes books are missing, replaced by current-day replicas, and brings it to the attention of the police. Addie didn’t know that Marc, the police chief, had returned from classes at the FBI and a vacation. She and Marc had dated for a short time, but realized she was not ready to make a commitment to him and why. They had unhappy words before he left, and Addie hoped they could be friends when he returned.
Marc has a new friend with him, an FBI agent on leave, Ryley. Ryley seems to be markng him as her territory, and since he invited her to help with the investigation, she is bent on accusing Addie of the theft of the books and, if Charlotte was murdered, her murder as well.
Simon, a physician, the coroner, and the man Addie is happily dating, can only find a heart attack as the appraiser’s cause of death. Ryley claims to be following the evidence and convincing Marc of the same, and Addie is arrested for stealing the very expensive missing books. When she is released temporarily after pointing out items in their crime scene photos that were inconsistent, Addie gets out her crime board to work on who is framing her.
The characters are very well-rounded. Each continues to grow and blossom in their roles. I enjoy seeing how Martha is becoming not only friendly, but funny! Catherine is a favorite as a mother figure and a friend willing to tell Addie what she sees. Simon is a great match for Addie, while I had a very hard time liking Marc this time. Especially with the traumas of recent years for Addie, watching her become a more confident woman is exciting.
Greyborne Harbor is a lovely setting. With interesting history and New England charm and a dash of the mysterious, it is a great tourist town and place to live. Plot twists keep the novel moving, as does the changing list of suspects. There were a couple that I favored but had dismissed the real culprit for lack of motive. While there were a few things I guessed correctly, overall I was quite surprised and satisfied with the outcome! I highly recommend this novel and series!