Last Updated on June 11, 2014
Guidebook to Murder is the first book in the new Tourist Trap Mystery cozy series by Lynn Cahoon. I bought the book because of two main reasons: first the cover. I love it, it’s so appealing! And second – again, the cover: because it is about books. And how can I resist reading a book about books – especially when it involves murder?
Of course, since it’s the first in a new series, it makes it more fun to read as it means I don’t have to catch up to other book prior to this.
The story follows Jill Gardner, an ex-lawyer who moved to the small town of South Cove, California, to live a quieter, more peaceful life and run a small book store called Coffee, Books, and More. The business is not bad, but could be better. She doesn’t have all too many friends, however one of her dearest ones, Miss Emily, an old lady who won her heart over as soon as she arrived to the town, is struggling with the danger of losing her house to some developers who want to tear it down and make something more modern out of it.
Of course Emily is against selling, so she starts receiving threats about being evicted from her house. Jill promises Miss Emily to look into the case and goes over to her house the next day to check in on her. This is when she finds her dead, apparently of natural causes.
However Jill gets suspicious right away, thinking that the threats and the convenient and timely death were no coincidence.
Much to Jill’s surprise, Emily left her the house and all her money in a will that is read a few days later. Emily’s estranged family gets nothing but a family album, which leave them threatening Jill with a law suit or something worse.
Once it is discovered that Emily was in fact murdered, Jill is drawn into solving the mystery simply because she feels she needs to do this after Emily has left her everything. And this makes Jill the next target in the killer’s mind. Not only that, but this makes Jill the prime suspect in Emily’s murder as well, for the obvious (money related) reasons.
Things become ever more complicated when Amy, Jill’s best friend, goes missing after listening in to some strange discussion that her boss at the town council office is having with some other folks, and there are signs that she might have been abducted for some sinister reasons – possibly related to Emily’s murder. The pace picks up very fast and things become soon quite intriguing and suspenseful.
We get drawn into the world of art theft, shady building developers, a seemingly corrupted town council and some rumors about a treasure chest that everyone is searching for on the very property Emily left to Jill, all related to some old mission that used to be there long before the house was built.
Jill is a fun character to read about, and so is her aunt, who comes over to help Jill with the business while she has to sort out the estate and find out who wanted to harm Emily and why. Detective Greg King is the official guy on the case, and is also Jill’s love interest, a good looking guy who has the hots for her as well. I enjoyed reading about their sexual tension and banter throughout the book.
Greg keeps telling Jill to stop investigating since it can become dangerous for her, but she can’t leave the riddle alone, especially since she does feel a bit guilty for having inherited the estate and Emily’s money instead of her family getting it all.
As to the killer’s identity, it came to a surprise, that person would have never crossed my mind.
The writing flows smoothly, the style is very easy to read and follow, and I got caught up in the mystery right from the start. The book is a well written cozy mystery that will enchant anyone who enjoys the genre and wants something new to read in their spare time.
To learn more about Guidebook to Murder by Lynn Cahoon or to get the book, head over to Amazon