Under the Cover of Murder
Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery, Book #6
By Lauren Elliott
Author Website: laurenelliottauthor(.)com
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Jeanie
Bookshop owner and maid of honor Addie Greyborne vows to catch the killer who crashed her best friend’s wedding…
It promises to be Greyborne Harbor’s wedding of the year. The impending nuptials of Serena Chandler and Zach Ludlow will take place aboard his family’s luxurious super-yacht, currently moored in the harbor and the talk of the town. But on the day of the wedding, a man’s body washes up on the beach with no ID, only a torn page from a book in his pocket. As owner of Beyond the Page Books and Curios, bibliophile Addie is called in to identify the book, but she cannot.
The morning following the extravagant ceremony, a second body washes ashore and Addie has a sinking feeling that the two deaths are connected. While the guests are held on the yacht as the police investigate, at least Addie can peruse Zach’s father’s rare books library on board. A copy of Agatha Christie’s first Hercule Poirot novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, provides a clue that the killer may still be on the ship—but narrowing down the suspects without becoming the next victim may prove a truly Herculean task. (Goodreads)
Each mystery in this series gets better than the one before! Under the Cover of Murder drew me in on the first page and held my attention throughout. I love Greyborne Harbor and most of the people there, people who could step out of the pages and into the nearest bookstore or estate sale. The mystery is well-crafted, especially with it beginning on … a wedding day? Wow! Trying to figure out the full scope of the crimes definitely kept me guessing throughout.
Addie is the owner of Beyond the Page, a bookstore and curio shop in Greyborne Harbor. Her best friend, Serena, is marrying Zach, the love of her life. The wedding planning has been fraught with tension. Serena knew exactly what she wanted but Zach’s stepmother Veronica, wealthy and very concerned with impressing her society friends, made many changes to the wedding. She invited society friends from Boston as a surprise and changed the reception venue to Zach’s father’s super yacht with its own staff and crew. There is a library of very collectible books that Addie can’t wait to see. The wedding party has been invited to spend the night on the yacht.
The morning of the wedding, Marc, the police chief and bride’s brother, came to take Addie to the police station. She and Marc had dated for quite a while, but one of the big differences they had is that he wouldn’t let her help him when murders and other serious crimes have occurred. He seems to have broken his own rules as he requests her help. Help to identify the man whose body was found on the beach early that morning. Help to identify the corner of a book page. The man had no cell phone, wallet, or ID on him, just the corner of a page. As a credentialed book expert, Addie knows books, paper, ages, inks, fonts and much more. Because they awaited fingerprint results, she couldn’t feel the paper to even tell what century the book was printed in, and there was no printing on it.
The wedding went beautifully, and the happy couple left as planned for their honeymoon. There was one little glitch. Marc’s childhood sweetheart and former fiancé came to the wedding uninvited and had too much to drink. Lacey had disagreements with many people, including the woman Marc is dating now, Ryley, a former FBI agent and detective in the local PD. It was a great relief to Addie and her friends when the night was over and they could go to their staterooms.
The next morning, Marc and Ryley returned to the yacht. A body was found early that morning, one of the guests, also murdered. Everyone on board the yacht would have to stay there until they could narrow down the suspects.
Addie is certain that the two murders are connected. She went into the library to look at some of the volumes there and saw what at first seemed to be valuable first editions. Instead, they were very good reproductions. She was sure, after talking with Zach’s father and his head of security, that someone has replaced the valuable tomes with well-crafted copies, probably selling the originals. That could also be the motive behind the murder of the man they found the day before.
The characters are memorable; it has been fun to watch them grow and change so far in the series. Addie has changed in many good ways, as has Martha. Getting to know Simon better, and seeing a new side to Marc has been enlightening. Watching the wedding party while restricted to the yacht, most likely with the murderer on board, could have brought out the worst in everyone, but many displayed their strengths. Finding the killer(s) and thief was high on the priority list, so Addie and her friends work towards that end.
The more they learn about what the second murdered person did before and after the wedding, the more suspects there are, including a great red herring. There is enough dirt on some of the people on board the yacht to clog a gossip column, but could those indiscretions point to a thief, much less a killer? While I had not made my short list of bad guys, I wasn’t surprised to learn who was responsible. All loose ends are tied up in the very satisfactory ending to this well-written cozy mystery that I highly recommend!