Book Review: Chapter and Curse (Cambridge Bookshop #1) by Elizabeth Penney

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: September 28th, 2021
Pages: 320, paperback
Source: NetGalley

In Chapter and Curse, Molly Kimball is used to cracking open books . . .but when a poetry reading ends in murder, she must use her skills to crack the case.

Librarian Molly Kimball and her mother, Nina, need a change. So when a letter arrives from Nina’s Aunt Violet in Cambridge, England requesting their help running the family bookshop, they jump at the chance.

Thomas Marlowe—Manuscripts and Folios, is one of the oldest bookshops in Cambridge, and—unfortunately—customers can tell. When Molly and Nina arrive, spring has come to Cambridge and the famed Cambridge Literary Festival is underway. Determined to bring much-needed revenue to the bookstore, Molly invites Aunt Violet’s college classmate and famed poet Persephone Brightwell to hold a poetry reading in the shop. But the event ends in disaster when a guest is found dead—with Molly’s great-aunt’s knitting needle used as the murder weapon. While trying to clear Violet and keep the struggling shop afloat, Molly sifts through secrets past and present, untangling a web of blackmail, deceit, and murder.

Chapter and Curse is the first book in the new Cambridge Bookshop cozy series by Elizabeth Penney, who also has several books out in her Apron Shop series.

Molly Kimball and her mother move to her mother’s home country of England to help Molly’s aunt with her bookshop. During a poetry reading at the bookshop, Molly discovers the body of one of her aunt’s friends. The police suspect her aunt, so Molly starts investigating. 

The characters are engaging and the writing is so good that I didn’t mind that I figured out the motive and the murderer before we got too far into the book. The characters are more than focus than the mystery, and that’s perfectly fine, as I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with them and hope for more books in the series.

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