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30 January 2016

Rambling About.. Ellery Adams' Murder In The Paperback Parlor

Title: Murder In The Paperback Parlor
Author: Ellery Adams
Publication: 4 August 2015 -- Berkley
First Line: “You expect me to break that with my bare hand?” Jane Steward, manager of Storyton Hall and mother of six-year-old twin boys, pointed at a piece of wood in disbelief.
Favorites on 4s: 
4% - "De Nobis Fabula Narratur," the twins replied, doing their best to pronounce the Latin words correctly. "Their Story Is Our Story."
34% - Jane bit into a biscuit and couldn't help but sigh. There was something profoundly soothing about the taste and texture of the soft, buttery dough.
44% - "My novels might be filled with intrigue and violence, but I don't act out my plots."
74% - "Think of all the books in the library that have plain brown leather covers. They look utterly unremarkable. Now, consider what happens when the cover is opened—how a cornucopia of images sweeps the reader along on an unpredictable journey. Your guests are all like books you’ve never read before."

Ramble: I read the first book in Ellery Adams' Book Retreat Mystery series before I started blogging and fell in love with it. The series is set at Storyton Hall -- a book-themed hotel in Virginia that is managed by Jane Steward, a widowed mother who lives on the property with her six-year-old twin boys. Jane is also tasked with being a guardian of the property's great secret -- a library of rare manuscripts that few know exist. Several of the staff at Storyton know and are tasked at guarding Jane and her sons. Of course, this would probably all be easier if people would just stop getting killed on property. This installment takes place just before Valentine's Day and the hotel is hosting a Romancing The Reader event featuring Regency romance novelists and themed events. After the murder of one of the star novelists headlining the event, Jane and her friends, family and staff work together to solve the crime and protect the reputation and secrets of Storyton.

As I said, I fell in love with the first book in the series. A book themed hotel hiding treasures like never published Shakespeare? Where do I send my resume? I've worked in hotels since high school and I'm sure my family wouldn't mind living in the quaint village of Storyton....

This installment didn't grip me quite as much as the first. Maybe because there wasn't as much about the secrets or maybe because I've never enjoyed Regency romances or maybe because the romance sideline in this book falls incredibly flat for me. I didn't find that I much cared who the guilty party was and had guessed the twists (and the murderer) well before the reveals. Still, I love Storyton and Jane's friends and neighbors and I am so excited about the next installment having a tie-in to The Secret Garden! Even if I solve that mystery early, too, it will still be worth the read if only for the glorious snippets of writing like the last of the "Favorites on 4s" quote above.

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