Publication Date: 08/05/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Prime Crime
Genre: Cozy Mystery
(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound
Erika Chase on the WEB: website, twitter, facebook, goodreads
Books in the series:
Ashton Corners Book Club
1. A Killer Read
2. Read and Buried
3. Cover Story
4. Book Fair and Foul
Coverart: Click the Image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.
Excerpt from, Book Fair and Foul, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature
For the mystery book lovers of Ashton Corners,
burial plots tell the most intriguing stories.
The members of the Ashton Corners Mystery Readers and Cheese Straws Society are all chipping in as Molly Mathews, now owner of the bookstore the Book Nook, prepares the first annual Mystery Book Fair. While gossip circulates about the guest authors, club member Lizzie Turner is unpleasantly surprised to see a certain book publicist make an appearance. It seems Lizzie has a history with Ashley Dixon—a chapter of her life she’d rather leave closed.
But when someone gives Ashley a death sentence, Lizzie becomes the prime suspect in a murder mystery she can’t put down. Now Lizzie and her fellow book buffs have to read between the lines of the publicist’s past and catch the real killer before Lizzie is written off for good.
Erika Chase brings readers the fourth book in the Ashton Corners Book Club series, Book Fair and Foul. This series focuses on a local book club and their exploits in reading and sleuthing. Chase excels at good character development and plotting. There are a lot of twists and turns in this book that will have the reader up late trying to figure it all out. With former college roommates and several finicky authors there are plenty of suspects to choose from as the gang trys to find the killer who is framing, Lizzie. A good addition to the series.
What I liked:
One of the things that I always enjoy about this series is the fact that the characters are readers. They are a part of book club that enjoys not only reading mysteries but also solving them. I think Chase understood that writing the series from the perspective of actual readers would appeal to people who love books. We tend to see things a little differently. I have a tendency to try to solve the clues right along with the hero or heroine and I think Chase uses that reader mentality to her advantage here. The quotes from other current mystery writers at the beginning of each chapter was a great touch. Many of the books they are taken from are books that I have actually reviewed. A nice touch!
The theme of the mystery book fair went over really well in Book Fair and Foul. I liked learning all of the behind the scenes machinations that have to go on to make a book fair a success. It was interesting to see the process of getting the authors assembled and how the book fair went off. I think it added to the whole atmosphere of mystery reading and mystery solving. It gave the plot cohesion and helped to drive it toward it's ultimate conclusion. Who knew authors could be so catty? LOL!
Lizzie has certainly gotten herself into a mess in this one. Not only has her former college nemesis ended up in Ashton Corners, but she tries to put the moves on Lizzie's police chief boyfriend, Mark. The relationship drama ends Lizzie in a pickle, as the main suspect in Ashley's murder. Continuing with the idea of reading, as well as, solving crimes, the victim's reason for being there was that she was a publicist. I thought Chase really did a great job of pulling everything into a central idea, even the personal aspects of the story.
What I didn't like:
I liked this book. It had a good plot and the characters not only supported the story, but kept the theme of reading and mystery solving alive. But there just wasn't quite enough punch for me to make this a five apple read. It wasn't bad, in fact there were a lot of things I liked about it. But it didn't give me that wow factor that I need in a good mystery. I solved it a little too soon for my own tastes. The cliffhanger at the end did go a long way toward making me want to read the next book, though, so that was a good thing.
Not my favorite of the series, but still certainly worth the time to read. Readers who are familiar with the gang from Aston Corners will enjoy more adventures with characters they have come to know as friends and new readers will like the book fair theme and how it plays out in the mystery.
Book Fair and Foul is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
About the Author:
Erika Chase writes the Ashton Corners Book Club mysteries for Penguin/Berkley Prime Crime. In a parallel life she is also known as Linda Wiken, a former mystery bookstore owner. The first in the book club series, A Killer Read, was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel from the Malice Domestic conference in 2013. Linda/Erika is also a short story writer and a member of those dangerous dames, The Ladies' Killing Circle. She has been short-listed for an Arthur Ellis Award, Best Short Story, from Crime Writers of Canada.
The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Book Fair and Foul by Erika Chase.
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