MURDER BY PAGE ONE
SERIES: A Peach Coast Library Mystery #1
GENRE: Cozy Mystery
PUBLISHER: Hallmark Publishing
RELEASE DATE: March 23, 2021
If you love Hallmark mystery movies, you’ll love this cozy mystery with humor, intrigue, and a librarian amateur sleuth.
Marvey, a librarian, has moved from Brooklyn to a quirky small town in Georgia. When she’s not at the library organizing events for readers, she’s handcrafting book-themed jewelry and looking after her cranky cat. At times, her new life in the South still feels strange…and that’s before the discovery of the dead body in the bookstore.
After one of her friends becomes a suspect, Marvey sets out to solve the murder mystery. She even convinces Spence, the wealthy and charming newspaper owner, to help. With his ties to the community, her talents for research, and her fellow librarians’ knowledge, Marvey pursues the truth. But as she gets closer to it, could she be facing a deadly plot twist?
This first in series cozy mystery includes a free Hallmark original recipe for Classic Peach Cobbler.
Warning: Reading Murder by Page One may have you craving peach cobbler, so you may want to skip to the recipe at the end first & whip up a batch before you start the book. Fortunately I too now live in a small town in Georgia, where peach cobbler is a staple in nearly every single restaurant – something I was delighted to discover. But I digress…
We jump right into the story, and I liked Marvey & Jo & Spence immediately. This unlikely trio of friends – two ‘outsiders’ and the popular son of the prominent town family – are engaging characters with a lot of charm and heart between them. The author gives them layered personalities and a genuineness of spirit, which makes their interactions with the people of Peach Coast (classic Southern small town) all the more interesting to watch. I also liked the hint of maybe a romance brewing in the future between Spence & Marvey. The attraction is clearly there but it’s not in full focus yet, so don’t worry about it overpowering the story at all. It’s just enough to keep romantics like me happy 🙂 Marvey’s co-workers, her family, and even her cat Phoenix added further life to the story and I look forward to spending more time with them in future books.
The murder and its aftermath play out about as you would expect them to in a small southern town. Plenty of people willing to gossip about the victim and the suspects which means a wealth of information as long as Marvey is in the right place at the right time & asks the right questions. It also gives the author a chance to introduce readers to the town of Peach Coast and establish the series background without a lot of ‘telling’, and I appreciated the organic way this was done. I had my suspicions all along about the person who ultimately is proven to have ‘dunnit’ but the why caught me by surprise, and I enjoyed the journey to get there.
Bottom Line: Small town Georgia, New York transplant, an OwnVoices author, and a librarian amateur sleuth? Sign me up! A cute setting and quirky drama-prone characters keep the book engaging from beginning to end & the dash of romance potential made me a happy reader. Tucked away in this entertaining story is also a subtle reminder that there is often much more to a person than first meets the eye (or the ear, as small town gossip goes). I loved Marvey & Jo & Spence and got especially tickled at Marvey’s Southern speak dictionary. Great plot with a host of suspects that had Marvey on her toes!
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4 stars / loved it!
Olivia Matthews is the cozy mystery pseudonym for Patricia Sargeant, a national best-selling, award-winning author. Her work has been featured in national publications such as Publishers Weekly, USA Today, Kirkus Reviews, Suspense Magazine, Mystery Scene Magazine, Library Journal and RT Book Reviews. For more information about Patricia and her work, visit PatriciaSargeant.com.
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