Prose and Cons
A Magical Bookshop Mystery #2
By Amanda Flower
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
In Cascade Springs, New York, Violet Waverly and her grandma, Daisy, are the proprietors of Charming Books, where the power of the written word is positively enchanting…
October in Cascade Springs means tourists are pouring in for the annual Food and Wine Festival, and Daisy hopes to draw those crowds to the store. She asks Violet and the local writing group, the Red Inkers, to give a reading of the works of Edgar Allan Poe on the shop’s front porch to entertain the revelers. Everyone eagerly agrees.
Yet their enthusiasm is soon extinguished when Violet discovers one of the writers dead in the shop moments before the event. After the shop magically tells Violet she’ll need to rely on Poe’s works to solve the murder, she enlists the help of her trusty tuxedo cat, Emerson, and the shop’s crow, Faulkner. But they must act fast before someone else’s heart beats nevermore… (Goodreads)
Prose and Cons is the fantastic second book in the Magical Bookshop Mystery series. A charming setting, engaging characters, smart writing and strong mystery all come together to make one of my favorite books of 2016.
October in Cascade Springs, New York, means it is time for the annual Food and Wine Festival, and a multitude of tourists are expected to visit the small community. In the spirit of the upcoming Halloween holiday, bookstore proprietors Violet and her grandmother Daisy, along with members of the local writing group, decide to hold a poetry (Poe-try) reading of Edgar Allan Poe’s works, complete with period costumes. The reading gets off to a great start…until group member Anastasia is found dead at the bottom of the bookshop’s back stairs. What at first appears to be a terrible accident is quickly revealed to be murder, and one of the members of the writing group falls under suspicion. But, Violet thinks there are plenty of other suspects, and when she discovers Anastasia’s shocking secret, the pool grows even larger and the motives more complex. Violet must get to the bottom of things as quickly as she can as the reputation of the bookstore and her friend Sadie’s freedom are at stake.
The Magical Bookshop Mystery series is one of my most favorite cozy series, and I hope it will continue for years to come. Amanda Flower has a knack for creating believable worlds, and I enjoyed every word of Prose and Cons. Flower’s writing style is witty and smart, moving along at a steady pace. It is quick reading, but I did not want the book to end. The bookshop is magical in that the books choose the customer, and Violet gets “clues” from the books that the shop leads her to. I consider the series to be barely paranormal and would not hesitate to recommend it to readers who do not usually like magic in their cozies. I think the bookshop is charming; I would have loved to visit the children’s section when I was a child.
I consider the shop itself a character, along with the crow Faulkner and cat Emerson. I have not decided if the two animals are familiars, or something similar, but they are indeed special. The human characters are all well developed and interesting. Grandma Daisy is spunky, Violet is intelligent and naturally curious, and Chief Rainwater, who is my favorite character, is just mysterious enough to keep me guessing. The secondary characters add layers of interest and complexity to the tale. Anastasia is nasty enough that I did not feel too terribly bad that she met an untimely end. There are several suspects, including the victim’s brother, a journalist, and others that are all viable. I second guessed myself as to whodunit until almost the very end. The perpetrator’s identity makes the mystery all that much better. The murder weapon is unconventional, and this keeps the plot fresh.
Prose and Cons is a wonderfully entertaining read. I highly recommend it to any cozy mystery reader.