The Plot is Murder by V.M. Burns – Review

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The Plot is Murder by V.M. Burns – ReviewThe Plot is Murder by V.M. Burns
Series: Mystery Bookshop #1
Published by Kensington on November 28, 2017
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 254
Format: Paperback
Source: the library
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The small town of North Harbor on the shores of Lake Michigan is about to have a new mystery bookshop. But before the first customer can browse, the owner becomes a real-life murder suspect...

Samantha Washington has long dreamed of owning a mystery bookstore. And as she prepares for the grand opening, she’s realizing another dream—penning a cozy mystery set in England between the wars. While Samantha hires employees and stocks her shelves, her imagination also gets to work as her heroine, Lady Penelope Marsh, long-overshadowed by her beautiful sister Daphne, refuses to lose the besotted Victor Carlston to her sibling's charms. When one of Daphne's suitors is murdered in a maze, Penelope steps in to solve the labyrinthine puzzle and win Victor.

In the meantime, however, the unimaginable happens in real life. A shady realtor turns up dead in Samantha’s backyard, and the police suspect her—after all, she might know a thing or two about murder. Aided by her feisty grandmother and an ensemble of enthusiastic retirees, Samantha is determined to close the case before she opens her store. But will she live to conclude her own story when the killer has a revised ending in mind?

My Thoughts

When I requested this book from the library, I wasn’t even sure what it was about. I just knew it was the book chosen for the Cozy Escape Book Club. I started reading it and it was such an unexpected type of cozy. I absolutely loved the writing style. I really loved the inclusion of Sam’s historical mystery. I found myself just as invested in figuring out that mystery as the mystery that was actually taking place. In fact, I would love Sam’s stories to be published as a series on their own – they were that enjoyable in the little snippets throughout the book.

Sam, Nana Jo, and the girls were wonderful characters. It felt like the Golden Girls meets Murder, She Wrote and I am here for it. I also enjoyed the younger characters – Dawson and Sam’s nephews. The only reason this was a 4-star read for me instead of 5 stars is just that there was SO much going on. There were several characters, a mystery story within the mystery story, a side story involving Dawson, and the grief that Sam is working through. It felt like a LOT and as a result seemed busy and cluttered in spots and like the story had to rush through some sections just to make sure it all fit in.

That being said, I really, really enjoyed it. I want to continue reading this series. I loved the unique format and applaud the author on making it all come together.

About V.M. Burns

V.M. Burns was born in Northwestern Indiana and spent many years in
Southwestern Michigan on the Lake Michigan shoreline. She is a lover of dogs,
British historic cozies, and scones with clotted cream. After many years in the
Midwest she went in search of milder winters and currently lives in Eastern
Tennessee with her poodles. Her debut novel, The Plot is Murder was nominated for a 2017 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and a lifetime member of Sisters in Crime. Readers can learn more by visiting her website at

Rating Report
Overall: four-stars


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