Reviews by Mallory A. Haws
On Goodreads, Amazon.
In top 1% of Goodreads reviewers.
Accepting NO review requests
As of 28 February 2016, due to decline in my health and chronic illness
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
A DICKENS OF A MURDER by Joyce and Jim LaVene
Review: A DICKENS OF A MURDER by JOYCE and JIM LAVENE
[Canterville Book Shop Book 1]
First in a brand-new series, the popular cozy authors Joyce and Jim Lavene bring life to a small and quiet community as eccentric bibliophile Simon Canterville and business partner, long-time librarian Lisa Wellman, open Simon's gorgeous Victorian home as a bookshop. But murder will out, esoecially when displayed on the turret roof, and too many suspects turn up the investigative heat. Certainly the reappearance of Lisa's hunky ex-husband as the investigator doesn't cool anything--nor does Charles Dickens' own ghostly appearance. A perfect Christmastide story!
Writing this review has a special poignancy for me. Joyce Lavene passed recently, in October 2015, at age 62. Although I was "late" to discover the many wonderful books Joyce and her husband Jim coauthored over the decades,through reading their mysteries I felt I had "come to know them." Just as Thomas Pynchon reintroduced me to literary fiction after decades of avoidance, so too did the extraordinary Lavene's instill in me a love of the cozy mystery sub-genre, with their compelling novel GIVE 'EM PUMPKIN TO TALK ABOUT.
Joyce Lavene, you will live on forever in the hearts of all your readers.
Lisa Wellman and Simon Canterville are surprised to find a dead man on their roof in the midst of rushing to open the Canterville Book Shop in time for the holidays. And not just any dead man – Ebenezer Hart – the man who opposed the book shop opening in Olde Town, Portsmouth, Virginia. What might be more surprising is when Daniel Fairhaven – Lisa’s ex – turns up at the door of the three-story Victorian house to head the police investigation. She hasn’t seen him in years but the sparks start to fly as soon as they are in the same room together.
Simon and Lisa are obviously the best suspects for the murder. Each of them had something to gain by Hart’s death. Then an attempt on Simon’s life throws that theory into a tailspin. But the biggest surprise yet comes when the ghost of Charles Dickens turns up to help Lisa with the murder investigation – and writing the mystery novel she has been working on for years. Without a doubt, Daniel and Dickens in Lisa’s life means trouble. And there’s still the matter of trying to get the book shop open with a killer on their heels.
Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family.