Once Upon A Romance

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Murder of a Bookstore Babe by Denise Swanson


Cover art: Murder of a Bookstore Babe Reviewer: Connie Payne
Title: Murder of a Bookstore Babe - 13th in the Scumble River Mystery series
Author: Denise Swanson
Publisher: Obsidian
ISBN-13: 978-0-451-23280-9
Release Date: March 2011
Genre/Sub-genre: Romantic/Cozy Mystery
Year/Setting: Present day, Scumble River IL
Overall Rating: 4.25
Sexual Content Rating: Subtle
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: Mild
Violent Content Rating: Minimal
Denise's Website: www.deniseswanson.com

There’s a bookstore/café opening up in the Scumble River business area. Skye Denison is thrilled as is her best friend, Trixie. Unfortunately there are a long list of people, many of whom are business owners, that are so not happy about the newcomers or their business.

Words have been exchanged. Even some threats. Scumble Riverites are worried that Tales and Treats will cut into their business. But how worried are they about it?

Skye once again stumbles upon a dead body, who she understandably mistakes for one of the owners of the bookstore. As psychological consultant to the police, Skye wastes no time in lining up theories, clues, and suspects, some of who are members of her family. One by one the clues and theories are eliminated. Suspects have alibis…

Obviously something is missing, some vital clue overlooked.

On the personal front, there seems to be a hitch or two with Skye and (Police Chief) Wally Boyd going ahead with any wedding plans. Her brother coerces her into going along with a scheme that will have their hot-tempered mother, May, exploding like firecrackers on the 4th of July. And as always, being the school districts resident psychologist has its own ups and downs and quirks.

Skye seems to just about be meeting herself coming and going as she juggles everything, most important of which is finding the killer.

In my previous readings of Ms. Swanson’s Scumble River series, she deftly kept the identity of the perpetrator a secret until the final reveal. This time I thought I figured out how Ms. Swanson was orchestrating the story. I thought I knew who the killer was and why. I even had a back-up killer, though their motives were a bit sketchy to me, you know, just in case my first suspect turned out to be wrong.

Ha! Ms. Swanson successfully supplied enough red herrings to fool this reader. Again.

Ms. Swanson has a way of multi-tasking the reader; we don our imaginary Deerstalker and carry an imaginary, over-sized magnifying glass in order to catch the killer before, or along with Skye…we’re entertained with the turmoil of the crime, Skye’s romantic foibles, the drama of the Dennison clan, and let’s not forget the unforgettable Dooziers!

What a cunning mind Ms. Swanson has. Readers should take advantage of it as well as thank her for sharing it with us.


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