Monday, March 22, 2021

Book Review: Murder by Page One by Olivia Matthews (Peach Coast Library Mysteries #1)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters, fun setting
Cons: Pacing in the middle
The Bottom Line:
Book signing murder
Trying to clear the owner
Makes charming debut

Murder of a Debut Author

I watch a lot of Hallmark mystery movies.  I know they’ve started publishing a few mystery novels as well, but I hadn’t picked one up yet.  I decided to change that with Murder by Page One by Olivia Matthews, and I’m glad I did.

Marvey Harris has just relocated to Peach Coast, Georgia, and joined the staff of the local library.  She’s only been in town a few months, but she’s already starting to make friends, including Jo Gomez, the owner of the local bookstore, and Spence Holt.  Jo is hosting a book signing for the local authors group, and Marvey and Spence are there to support her and the authors.

Fiona Lyle-Hayes helped organized this group author event, and she is planning to promote her debut mystery.  However, when she doesn’t return from the storeroom, Jo, Marvey, and Spence go to investigate.  That’s when they find Fiona dead on the floor.  Despite the fact that Jo hardly knew the victim, the police are certain she killed Fiona.  Marvey sets out to prove her friend’s innocence.  But can she do it?

I felt right at home as soon as I started reading this book.  Peach Coast sounds like a charming town.  I’d definitely be up for a visit.  And it helped that the book opens in a bookstore and our three lead characters are book lovers.

Marvey is clearly the main character of the book, but Spence, and to a lesser extent, Jo, are just as important to the plot.  Spence investigates just as much as Marvey does.  Not that I’m complaining since I enjoyed all three of them very much.  Their friendships might be new, but you can tell they really do care about each other.

The rest of the cast isn’t quite as well developed.  Don’t get me wrong, they are good characters, but they don’t stand out as much as the three leads.  I’m sure we will get to know them better as the series progresses, however.  I certainly did like what we saw of them.  The exception to this is Fiona.  While we never meet her alive, we get a complete picture of her as the story unfolds.  I always like it when the victim is fully fleshed out.

The mystery started off quickly, but the pacing did become uneven in the middle.  There were still enough clues to keep me engaged, however.  The climax was logical and suspenseful.

While not a culinary cozy, there is a recipe for peach cobbler at the end.  Trust me, when you read the book, you’ll understand.  I had quite a craving for the dessert as I was reading.

With a charming setting and book loving characters, I’m already anxious for my next visit.  If you are looking for a new series, I definitely recommend Murder by Page One.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

1 comment:

  1. I have been binging the Hallmark Mystery movies and loving them so I'm intrigued that this one came from them. This sounds really fun and now I want peach cobbler!