Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Lately, Molly has been feeling that she might have fallen into a fairy tale: she’s reinvigorated the family bookshop Thomas Marlowe—Manuscripts and Folios, made friends in her new home of Cambridge, England, and is even developing a bit of a romance with the handsome Kieran—a bike shop owner with a somewhat intimidating family pedigree.
Having recently discovered The Strawberry Girls, a classic children’s tale, Molly is thrilled to learn the author, Iona York, lives nearby. But while visiting the famous author at her lovely cottage in nearby Hazelhurst, an old acquaintance of Iona’s tumbles off her roof to his death.
Then, when one of Iona’s daughters—an inspiration for the original Strawberry Girls—goes missing, Molly begins to worry this story might be more Brothers Grimm than happily-ever-after. Especially after Molly learns about the mysterious long-ago death of Iona’s husband and co-author of The Strawberry Girls…could past and present crimes be linked? Molly must put the clues together before someone turns this sweet tale sour.
A dark fairy-tale of a cozy mystery. And an absolute pleasure to read.
This is the second book in The Cambridge Bookshop Series by Elizabeth Penney and I was so excited to read it, especially after enjoying Book 1 – Chapter and Curse. They both have their charm and Book 2 was an absolute delight to read. I loved learning about the mysteries that cat lover and bookshop part-owner Molly Kimball gets pulled into along the way.
This time, Molly is meeting with Iona York, co-author of The Strawberry Girls to discuss her latest book, The Strawberry Girls. While visiting, a family acquittance of Iona’s, Robin, has tumbled off her roof to his demise. Additionally, Iona’s daughter suddenly goes missing and is nowhere to be found. Was Robin’s death an accident? Or could there be a link between the two events, and perhaps to a crime committed in the past that still leaves questions to this day? Molly, yet again, is left to uncover the truth.
This book will have you hooked and wanting to know more after the very first chapter. In fact, every chapter leaves on a bit of a cliff-hanger, encouraging you to keep reading which I absolutely love. Molly is a character that truly seeks to support her friends and family and is fiercely loyal to them, and I think that acts a powerful driving factor as to why she is so invested in helping to investigate these cases, despite not being a formal investigator herself.
I loved the mysteries in this book, which had a scavenger hunt feel to them at times, but I truly loved one element which is the incorporation of a story-within-a-story. The Strawberry Girls was co-written by Iona’s former, Nate, who also had a similar suspicious death to that of Robin. Passages of the book are incorporated into the novel, and I absolutely loved that! It really helped set the stage and evoked mystery and intrigue in the story, while also making you feel as if the real-life characters of the book were in their own dark fairy tale.
Cats Puck and Clarence are always a joy to read, and we hope to see much more of them in future instalments!
Thank you to NetGalley and St Martin’s Press for an advanced eGalley of this book. All opinions are my own.
- Murder Mystery
- Missing Person
- Uncovering secrets
- Fairy Tales
- Light-hearted with dark elements
Numerical rating: 4.25 stars
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