Book Review (and a Freebie!): Who Shot the Serif? by Jessa Archer

Posted September 9, 2019 by meezcarrie in contemporary, cozy mystery, Jessa Archer, mystery/suspense / 3 Comments

Hand Lettering Mystery #1

GENRE: Cozy Mystery
PUBLISHER: Archer Mysteries
RELEASE DATE: July 7, 2019
PAGES: 218

When Jamie Lang finds one of her hand lettered quotes on the window of her shop, Flourish, with a hole shot through a serif, she knows someone’s trying to drive her business into red ink. Jamie confronts Earleen Culp, the ruthless owner of the local stationery shop, in front of the most popular breakfast spot in the small town of Cedar Valley. Of course, Earleen professes shock and innocence, so when she’s found dead in front of Jamie’s home the next morning, Jamie becomes the prime suspect.

Jamie’s one cross-stroke short of acquittal, and even her best friend has her doubts. But Jamie’s not the only one in town with a motive for wanting Earleen silenced for good. To clear her name, Jamie’s going to need every last drop of ink in her quill.

With the hot police chief Ridge, and her makeup artist friend Nora on her side, she’s prepared to go out with a flourish if that’s what it takes to catch the real murderer. She’s desperate to save her hand lettering business, but will her quest lead her right into a killer’s snare?


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Who Shot the Serif? is the first cozy mystery I’ve read that features hand lettering as the main character’s business/hobby. Sometimes the ‘cozy formula’ gets into a ‘same old, same old’ rut, which made this unique premise intriguing to me right from the start. Plus, I love pretty and cute hand lettering so I also loved the practice sheets at the end of the story 🙂

Jamie is an easily likable protagonist, talented at what she does and personally motivated to figure out who shot her long-time nemesis – right on Jamie’s front doorstep. Her bestie (and makeup artist) Nora and hunky crush (and police chief) Ridge are just as engaging, and you’ll find a quick smile on your face more than once during their interactions with one another. I loved the chemistry simmering between longtime friends Ridge & Jamie, and I’m hopeful that the other books in the series explore this further.

Not to worry, though, if you prefer more sleuthing and less smooching in your mysteries – the romance factor is just an underlying subplot of possibilities and not the focus of the plot. The murder mystery is well-plotted and clever, while also nicely introducing readers to the small PNW town of Cedar Valley and its quirky, secret-harboring residents. The abundance of secrets means an abundance of suspects, and it will keep you guessing right up until the reveal – and wondering what role, if any, these supporting characters will play later in the series.

Bottom Line: Who Shot the Serif? by Jessa Archer is as smartly done as its title and as cute as its cover. The aspect of hand lettering and the gifts & classes Jamie provides in her cozy store, Flourish, may have you trying to find something similar in your real-life community, just to try your hand at the craft. (The pun worked. lol.) Witty banter, solid friendships, and a little dash of romantical feelings round out the clever mystery and keep you fully engaged to the end. FYI – there is no profanity but there is some mild innuendo – I would still consider this a clean read for sure, though. I’m looking forward to catching up on the series as soon as I have time!

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 4 stars / love it!

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Jessa Archer writes sweet, funny, warm-hearted cozy mysteries because she loves a good puzzle and can’t stand the sight of blood. Her characters are witty, adventurous, and crafty in the nicest way. You’ll find her sleuths hand lettering inspirational quotes, trying to lower golf handicaps, enjoying a scone at a favorite teashop, knitting a sweater, or showing off a dramatic side in local theater.

Jessa’s done many things in her long career, including a stint as a journalist and practicing law. But her favorite job is spinning mysteries. She loves playing small town sleuth and transporting readers to a world where the scones are delicious, wine pairs with hand lettering, and justice always prevails.

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What about you? Do you use hand lettering for Bible journaling or handmade cards/gifts? Have you taken any classes?

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3 responses to “Book Review (and a Freebie!): Who Shot the Serif? by Jessa Archer

  1. Martha Troxel

    I used to do some very simple hand lettering when I did scrapbooking, but I have done that in quite a while. I haven’t taken a class. I just have a book of several alphabets.

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