Monday, March 28, 2011

Review: Murder of a Bookstore Babe

Murder of a Bookstore Babe (Scrumble River - Book 13) by Denise Swanson

Publication Date: March 2011
Publisher: Obsidian
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: Paperback, 254pp
ISBN-13: 9780451232809

(Received for review from Berkley/Obsidian)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Denise Swanson on the WEB: Website, Facebook

Excerpt from Murder of a Bookstore Babe

Synopsis (Book Blurb):

Who could be driven to kill by books and sweets? While school psychologist Skye Denison eagerly anticipates the grand opening of a new bookstore called Tales and Treats, many of Scrumble River's most outspoken citizens want to shut down the owners before they even open - and one is angry enough to commit murder...

Dropping off some old books at Tales and Treats, Skye trips over a toppled bookcase, which has crushed a woman beneath its weight. While the police search for motives, Skye sees the messy aftermath of a half-baked plot to murder somebody else. Skye is juggling her busy life, but when all the clues lead to dead ends, she turns up the heat on her investigation - and stumbles upon the deadly secret that got this bookstore babe done in. And if Skye isn't careful, the killer might just make her the sequel...


Denise Swanson's thirteenth novel in the Scrumble River series, Murder of a Bookstore Babe will leave readers wanting more once again. This long-lived series features school psychologist and amateur sleuth Skye Denison. Readers will fall in love with Swanson's smooth style and zany characters. Cozy Mystery readers will love this bookstore themed mystery full of more surprises then they can count.

Skye Denison finds herself in the middle of another mystery when a new bookstore is set to open in Scrumble River. Everyone from the librarian to the used car dealer has a problem with Tales and Treats and it's owner Rise Vaughn. When Skye goes over to the new bookstore at night to deliver some old books she finds her former student and well loved bookstore employee, Kayla crushed under the rare books, bookcase. Skye and her fiancee, Police Chief Wally Boyd realize that Rise may have been the real target. Will they be able to find the killer before Skye becomes the next victim?

Denise Swanson has crafted a novel that cozy readers will love. The mystery surrounds a place book lovers can't do without, the bookstore. Owner Rise Vaughn seems to have set the entire town of Scrumble River against her just because she wants to open a new shop. Hugo Leofanti, the used car dealer parks his merchandise illegally in front of Tales and Treats, the librarian is worried a bookstore will mean less people will come to the library and it just goes on and on. There are so many suspects it's hard to keep them all straight. And most of them happen to be a part of Skye's family.

One of the things I found interesting was the fact that Skye's fiancee, Wally lets her take a leading role in the investigation even though she isn't on the police force. It's obvious that through the first twelve books Skye has been able to develop a relationship with the police and her skills have become very beneficial to them. As a character Skye is very determined and just seems to be in the right place at the right time a lot of the time. It's almost as if she stumbles across a murder every time she turns around. I think readers have become used to Skye's eccentricities and find her a lot of fun to read about.

Skye's quirky family also adds humor and zaniness to the plot. The supporting cast is one of the big pluses in this novel. All these characters have their own stories and you find out a little more about them with each new book. They give each mystery a lighter feel and the reader doesn't become bogged down by a lot of unnecessary information. These character's also provide a suspect list for Murder of a Bookstore Babe. It's really fun to read about Skye's questioning of the suspects and how she comes around to figuring out whodunit.

Skye's relationship with Wally is interesting in itself. I liked the banter between the two of them and the mutual respect. It is obvious that Swanson intended that Skye and Wally should understand each other and trust each others instincts. I thought that Simon Reid was the catalyst for making them stronger. He kept trying to work things out so he could possibly win Skye back and it was interesting to see how that affected Wally and whether he was bothered by it or secure in his relationship. This added a whole new dimension to the novel. Swanson did an excellent job of pulling it all together.

I recommend this book to cozy readers and long time fans of Denise Denison and the Scrumble River series. I think it shows the differences between cozie's and regular mysteries very well. This is a lighter, fun kind of mystery as opposed to dark and malevolent. The wacky characters and great plot make this one a must read for cozy fans.

Murder of a Bookstore Babe is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

New York Times bestselling author Denise Swanson writes from her personal experiences as a school psychologist and small town resident. Her plots are inspired by incidents in her own life. Her books have been nominated for the Agatha, Mary Higgins Clark, RT, and Daphne du Maurier Awards. Denise lives in Illinois with her husband, classical music composer David Stybr, and her black cat, Boomerang.