A Fatal Booking
by Victoria Gilbert
Charlotte Reed, a former high school teacher, inherited her great-aunt Isabella’s B&B and is trying to make a success of it to honor Isabella. Isabella was a beautiful, flamboyant socialite and also a spy! Charlotte has a penchant for getting to the truth and has formed bonds with Ellen, her next door neighbor and Isabella’s former handler, joining her in several investigations surrounding local murders. She works in concert with Detective Amber Johnson of the Beaufort police force and with her new boyfriend Gavin who spends a lot of time off the grid. He is a spy and has many useful contacts.
In A Fatal Booking, Chapters B&B is hosting a book club headed by an artist and former colleague Lora Kane. When one of the guests is murdered, Charlotte is drawn into the investigation to protect her B&B’s reputation and to prevent further murders. No one liked the victim, and they all seem to have motivation to kill her. All but one had the means to obtain deadly cyanide.
The plot is further complicated by infighting among the guests. There was no harmony to be found in that group. Also, someone is rummaging around in the off-limits, locked attic, and several framed pictures are missing from the library. Not a trained professional, Charlotte’s detection skills are honed as she sorts through the possibilities. Her physical and mental capacities are tested in the latter part of the book in dangerous scenes that will have you holding your breath. The cozy concludes with a wrap-up party for Charlotte’s friends and employees who stood by her during the ordeal and helped with the investigation. They deserved to hear the details, and several have personal announcements of big upcoming changes in their lives.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Notes: #3 in the Booklover’s B&B Mystery Series, but it is acceptable as a standalone. The author jumps right into the current plot, but background details are provided as needed.
Publication: June 7, 2022—Crooked Lane Books
Officer Warren, who looked to be all of twenty-five, offered me a smile that told me she felt the need to reassure a nervous older woman. “Thanks.” I knew better than to try to correct her assumption. To be honest, I frequently found it useful to be underestimated.
“You were eavesdropping.” Linnea’s blue eyes glittered like shards of lapis.
“I love dogs,” Caitlin said, patting his head. I’d already figured that out, since I’d learned that Shandy had a sixth sense about people. He seemed to be able to instantly tell if someone disliked dogs and would either snap at the air or bark furiously at such misguided individuals.