Monday, June 27, 2016

Book Review: Crime and Poetry by Amanda Flower (Magical Bookshop Mysteries #1)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Great characters, fun setting, good mystery, light magic
Cons: A couple of sub-plots slow things down a little
The Bottom Line:
Magical bookstore
Will leave you under its spell
After this debut

New Series Off to a Poetic Start

This has turned into a month of first in series.  That wasn’t my goal, and I’ve got plenty of in progress series I should be working on, but there were too many new series I was dying to try.  The latest of these is Crime and Poetry, the first in the Magical Bookshop series.  I was planning to pass it by, but I’d heard so many good things about it, I had to pick it up.

When Violet Waverly gets the word that her grandma Daisy is sick, she rushes to Cascade Springs, New York, to be by her side.  Only when she arrives, she learns that Daisy is in perfect health.  Daisy really wanted Violet to visit so she could reveal some family secrets involving the bookstore and the role Daisy needs to take on.

Violet has no desire to move back to Cascade Springs, however.  She left the town twelve years ago and plans to head back to Chicago the next morning.  Only when she gets up the next morning, she finds Benedict Raisin dead in her grandmother’s driveway.  Benedict and Daisy had been dating, and Benedict is found strangled with one of Daisy’s scarves.  Violet can’t leave with a cloud of suspicion hanging over Daisy’s head, so she starts looking into the crime, getting help from a most unexpected source.  Can she interpret the clues she is getting to find the killer?

Since I usually avoid the paranormal, I was going to skip this series since it is the Magical Bookshop series.  (And yes, I’ve now spoiled a couple of things I left vague in my plot teaser.)  However, I actually find the idea of a bookstore where the books choose you to be quite fun.  Yes, the bookstore also plays a part in solving the crime, but it fits in with the world that author Amanda Flower has created, and it’s a minor part of the mystery.

The majority of the mystery still involves Violet talking to suspects and weighing what she learns against the other clues she is getting.  There is a lot going on in this small town, and that keeps us guessing who the killer is until the end.  I thought I had it figured out about half way through, but it turned out I was wrong.

Because Violet grew up in Cascade Springs, she has a history with some of the people there, a history that plays out over the course of the book without slowing things down.  Instead, it gives her a bit of depth that I enjoyed.  There are plenty of characters that we are meeting for the first time right along with Violet, and I really liked them as well.  I can see this group of characters becoming friends in a hurry.

The fictitious village of Cascade Springs is located a few miles upriver from Niagara Falls.  Frankly, I found this location to add to the charm of the book.  Maybe it’s because I’ve visited Niagara Falls a couple of times so I could picture the area, but I felt right at home in this touristy town.

While the book had some needed set up, especially with the bookstore, I did feel this slowed down the story at times.  Likewise, there is Violet’s conflict over her plans to leave versus the desire to stay she is denying.  We all know how that will end since this is the first in a series.  Overall, these were minor issues to me, however.

Unlike some series I’ve started this month, this is a series I’m now up to date on since Crime and Poetry just came out in April.  However, I’m looking forward to revisiting these characters as soon as the sequel finds its way into my hands.

NOTE: I received a copy of this book in hopes that I would review it.


  1. I read this one recently and really liked it. A good start to a new series.

    1. It is. I can't wait to see where it goes next.

  2. A new Author for me, this sounds good thanks

    1. I've read the books in her Living History series as well, and they are quite good.

  3. It's light paranormal, but if you remember that, you'll enjoy it.

  4. I love the setting, though fictional, is near a place close to me. Niagara Falls is actually 40 minutes drive. With a four star rating, it's a great start to the series though!

    1. Wow, I didn't know you lived that close to the Falls. You'll definitely like that aspect of this book.


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