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Murder Off the Books

The third book in Tamara Berry's By the Book Mysteries is a very funny whodunnit!

Tess is a best-selling thriller writer who recently relocated to a small Washington town with her teen daughter, Gertrude. On the eve of the grand opening of Tess's bookstore, her mom Bee shows up with a much younger man in tow, the notorious Levi, who is connected to the suspicious deaths of three wealthy widows. Everyone wonders if Bee has lost her mind. Then a true crime podcaster covering Levi arrives and jumps into the fray. When Levi is murdered, all eyes turn to Bee as the prime suspect, and Tess works to clear her mom's name.

I love this series, and the newest one did not disappoint! Berry's writing pulls you in from the opening scene, and the story, humor, and characters keep you engaged. One of my favorite things about cozy mysteries is the world-building. Berry has crafted one I love to visit with a rustic and charming setting populated with quirky and memorable characters. As a thriller writer, Tess has lots of ideas about murder, and she's smart and curious, so seeing her get involved in a case is always fun. And we are getting to know several characters better, like the hilarious Edna and Gertrude, who is always pitch-perfect. Bee is a great addition to the cast, and I hope we see more of her. The sparks flying between Tess and Sheriff Boyd in their will-they-won't-they add swoony romantic tension. Clever and layered, the mystery is solid and skillfully plotted with several red herrings that kept me guessing. Berry's books are always enjoyable to read, with humor ranging from sarcastic one-liners to over-the-top situations and scenes, and I highly recommend them!

Thank you to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for the opportunity to review this ARC. I loved it!

My steep was cold brew Huckleberry Black Tea from SpecialTea Company.


Author Tess Harrow and her daughter, Gertrude, are starting to get a bad reputation due to their involvement in recent murder cases, so Tess has come up with the perfect plan to drum up some positive press. She'll combine her new book release and her bookstore opening into one big event, giving her a chance to wine and dine the locals and some big press contacts. But the night before the party, Tess is greeted by a surprise: her mother has come for a visit, with her much-younger new boyfriend in tow...a boyfriend Gertrude recognizes as the notorious Levi Parker, a man recently connected to the deaths of three elderly widows.

Tess immediately alerts Sheriff Boyd about the visitor, but it's already too late. Levi Parker is found dead and Tess's mother is starting to look like the prime suspect. Bernadette swears she didn't murder Levi, and Tess is doing her best to maintain her mother's innocence, but too many coincidences keep stacking up. With the whole town seemingly against her family, it's up to Tess to get to the bottom of the story before it's too late.

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