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Crime and Poetry by Amanda Flower / Reviewed by Sharon Marchisello

Crime and Poetry

By Amanda Flower

Berkley
$7.99
ISBN 978-0451477446
Published 04/05/2017

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Killer Nashville Reader’s Choice Award

Crime and Poetry

Killer Nashville review by Sharon Marchisello

Fans of cozy mysteries with a hint of the paranormal and a romantic triangle to boot will enjoy Crime and Poetry, the first in a new series by Amanda Flower and a Killer Nashville Silver Falchion nominee.

The story opens when graduate student Violet Waverly is called home to Cascade Springs, a quaint village near Niagara Falls, under the pretense that Daisy, her grandmother, and only living relative, has fallen ill. Except we quickly learn that Daisy’s “illness” was a ploy. Violet left Cascade Springs 12 years earlier after she was accused of causing her best friend’s death, and everyone she loved and trusted turned against her. Daisy knew Violet would never come back of her own volition, but she needs Violet to assume her legacy and take over management of the magical family business, Charming Books.

Violet is livid about being duped, but before she can hightail it back to her college life in Chicago, Daisy’s boyfriend, a debonair carriage driver named Benedict, is murdered. Strangled with Daisy’s scarf, in her driveway. Daisy is a prime suspect, and Violet must stay in town to clear her grandmother’s name.

Violet also bonds with Benedict’s adorable tuxedo cat, Emerson, who had been a gift from Daisy. Emerson follows Violet around the bookstore and rides in the basket of Violet’s bicycle when she runs errands.

Snooping around town to find other suspects, Violet clashes with the local police chief, sensitive Native American YA-writer-wannabe David Rainwater, who looks at Violet with haunting amber-colored eyes. He repeatedly warns her to let the authorities handle the investigation, for her own safety. (Of course, she doesn’t listen.) She also keeps bumping into her former boyfriend, Nathan Morton, now mayor of Cascade Springs, as well as his competitive younger brother, Grant, an executive at the local water company, which is trying to take control of the village’s healing natural springs. Make that a romantic quadrangle.

In addition, Violet learns her family’s bookstore is enchanted. She already knew about the talking crow named Faulkner, who roosts in a birch tree growing through the building. Then volumes of Emily Dickinson’s poetry fly off the shelves and land at Violet’s feet, opening to poems with cryptic messages that might provide clues to solving the murder mystery.

Although the plot is somewhat predictable, suspects abound, and the tension is consistent. Cozy readers will find the ending satisfying and look forward to future adventures for Violet in Cascade Springs.

Amanda Flower is the bestselling author of several mystery book series, including The Amish Quilt Shop mysteries, written under the pen name, Isabella Alan. Her YA mystery, Andi Unstoppable, won an Agatha award. Book Two of the magical bookshop series, Prose and Cons, has already been released.

Sharon Marchisello is the author of Going Home, a murder mystery inspired by her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s. She has a Masters in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California and is a member of the Atlanta Chapter of Sisters in Crime. She lives in Peachtree City, GA, with her husband and cat, and does volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society.