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Booked for Death–murders, books, and suspicion

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Booked for Death

by Victoria Gilbert

Victoria Gilbert, a retired librarian, has started a second series for those who love all things bookish. In Booked for Death, Charlotte, a widow, has inherited a large home from her Great Aunt Isabella whose life was a mystery to her family. Already an established B&B, the inn is called Chapters because of the extensive library it houses which includes many rare books. In keeping with the various themes, Charlotte hosts special events centered on authors and books.

In Booked for Death, the week’s focus is British writer Josephine Tey. As the participants dive into one of her mysteries, there is a murder at the B&B.  There are many suspects with legitimately plausible motivations for killing bookseller Lincoln Delamont as he was not a very nice man. Charlotte tries to find out as much as she can about all the people who were at the B& B at the time of the murder. Information comes out gradually as to backgrounds and alibis. Charlotte, who has a reason to wish Lincoln dead, is one of the suspects but soon finds her own life in danger.

There are many interesting characters. Some of those will clearly appear in future books in the series—her friend Julie, housekeeper and cook Alicia, and neighbor Ellen. Others may or may not make a reappearance. Charlotte’s investigations take her to the dusty, cluttered attic to try to understand her great aunt’s complicated past. 

Most of the book is well-written. There is a small portion that has stilted dialogue between Ellen and Charlotte, but most of the book, which is written in first person, flows smoothly. I did not guess who the murderer is, but the reveal is both surprising and nicely disclosed. The conclusion is very satisfying and so well played that I read the last few pages twice just to enjoy both the implications for future books and the written words themselves. It is easy to see how this book can segue into even bigger mysteries in future books with legitimate, not contrived, investigations.

I would like to extend my thanks to Netgalley and to Crooked Lane Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: 1.#1 in the Booklovers B&B Mystery Series

2. The second book in the series, Reserved for Murder, is scheduled for release on June 8, 2021.

3. I have one criticism of the book (in its ARC form) which may well have been altered for publication. The author overused the term “narrowed/narrowing his/her eye” (15 times) and “side-eyed” (8 times). I’m sure with a little creativity, the author can find other ways to explain the character’s expressions. This issue was overshadowed for me by the intricacies of the plot, some beautifully written passages, and the excellent ending which left me looking forward to the next book in the series.

Publication:   June 9, 2020—Crooked Lane Books

Memorable Lines:

Her vivacious beauty, undimmed even in her later years, had seemed far too exotic for our rather unexceptional family. Like a butterfly among the moths, I thought, as I laid down the photo and picked up another.

“I was hungry,” Tara said, fixing me with a glare that would’ve frozen the blood of most adults. But I’d taught high school for far too long to be intimidated by such tactics.

“…she wasn’t believed when she told the truth as a child. And honestly, it’s not always easy to share our deepest pain, even with the ones we love.”


  1. I have yet to try this one. You’ve just about convinced me! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have read this one and the turns and switches keep guessing until the end. I get these two series mixed up.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. dfolstad58 says:

    I loved that you included particular quotes that you enjoyed. We do that in our Toastmasters meetings and note on exceptional language in the meetings.
    I am so behind on reading, although I would love to add this to my reading list. Thank you for tempting me. Keep it up. Hugs, David

    Liked by 1 person

  4. lghiggins says:

    Thank you, David. If you are behind on reading, I hope it is because of family time and more of your outdoor adventures–although it is probably not the best weather there for many of those. I am perpetually behind and trying to prioritize in my life, but “life” keeps happening to throw in a little chaos. My reading is a good diversion. I like your correlation of my memorable lines with your Toastmasters meetings. There is something to be admired in beautiful language.


  5. This sounds like it’s right up my alley! Thanks Linda

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Carla says:

    I love her other series so grabbed this one when it came out. I did enjoy it and look forward to the next one. I liked the mystery of who Aunt Ellen was, that added a bit of extra interest to the story. Great review Linda and as always, I love the quotes you picked to highlight.


  7. I love the sound of this one—and I think I actually have a copy around here … somewhere. How can you go wrong with a bookish AND B&B backdrop? Great review.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. How perfect for a librarian to inherit the Inn full of rare books. Sounds like an interesting book!

    Liked by 1 person

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