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A Shakespearean scholar inherits a beachside bookshop–and a murder mystery–in this delightful new cozy series for fans of Kate Carlisle and Ellery Adams.
Summer Merriweather’s career as a Shakespeare professor hangs by a bookbinder’s thread. Academic life at her Virginia university is a viper’s pit, so Summer spends her summer in England, researching a scholarly paper that, with any luck, will finally get her published, impress the Dean, and save her job. But her English idyll ends when her mother, Hildy, shuffles off her mortal coil from an apparent heart attack.
Returning to Brigid’s Island, NC, for the funeral, Summer is impatient to settle the estate, sell her mom’s embarrassingly romance-themed bookstore, Beach Reads, and go home. But as she drops by Beach Reads, Summer finds threatening notes addressed to Hildy: “Sell the bookstore or die.”
Clearly, something is rotten on Brigid’s Island. What method is behind the madness? Was Hildy murdered? The police insist there’s not enough evidence to launch a murder investigation. Instead, Summer and her Aunt Agatha screw their courage to the sticking place and start sleuthing, with the help of Hildy’s beloved book club. But there are more suspects on Brigid’s Island than are dreamt of in the Bard’s darkest philosophizing. And if Summer can’t find the villain, the town will be littered with a Shakespearean tragedy’s worth of corpses–including her own.
Meet Summer Merriweather
I’m just an average Shakespearean Lit professor with a horrible bout of arachnophobia. It was okay until one of my students found out about it and let the spiders in the next room over free to roam in my classroom. She shot a film of my reaction—and let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. That it went viral nationally wasn’t great for the university I teach at. (Well, that’s according to the dean who has it in for me and is just looking for an excuse to get rid of me.)
Looking at the video, even I find it funny, now. But then I was petrified. And this fear is not funny. I live my life around it. I don’t venture into attics, basements, or closets for fear of running to spiders. And I certainly don’t hike or camp. In fact, I wear a nylon mask over my face at night so I can be sure no critters will enter my mouth, nose, or ears.
While the video kerfuffle was happening,, I took off for England. I needed a research trip, anyway. It upset my mom because she thought I was running away. And I guess I was. I never would have gone if I’d known she was going to pass away and I’d get one of those dreaded midnight calls from my Aunt Agatha.
Now, after a very long flight, I’m back home on Brigid Island, trying to make sense of my mom’s death, along with trying to figure out what to do with the house and her beloved bookstore: Beach Reads. It’s one of the most popular shops with the locals and the tourists. Mom has built up quite a book community. They are looking to me now to save the bookstore. I’m so the wrong person to save anything—I’m broke, my career is in shambles, and my mom just died under strange and mysterious circumstances. It’s so hard for me to think clearly, let alone make any big decisions. They will all just have to wait, won’t they?
About the Author
Maggie Blackburn is the author of the Cora Crafts mysteries and the Cumberland Creek mysteries under another pen name. Her books have been selected as finalists for an Agatha Award and a Daphne du Maurier Award and as a Top 10 Beach Reads by Woman’s World. She has also been short-listed for the Virginia Library People’s Choice Award. She is the mother of two young women who are off following their dreams in the music business. She currently lives in Waynesboro, VA, and works at the University of Virginia as a development associate.
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