Murder in the Paperback Parlor (Book Retreat)
by Ellery Adams
Cover Artist: Shane Rubenshield
Review by Mel Jacob
Berkley Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425265604
Date: 04 August 2015 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Murder in the Paperback Parlor is the second of Ellery Adams Book Retreat Mysteries. Jane Steward, Resort Manager of Storyton Hall and its extensive library, as well as Guardian of its fabulous and hidden Library, has planned a special Valentine's celebration to raise money for the Hall's maintenance. The week features four famous romance novelists. Unfortunately, at least one of these ladies has threatened her closest rival. When a death occurs, Jane has to exercise all her formidable powers to solve the murder and prevent chaos.
The permanent staff of the Storyton Hall are well trained in the martial arts, electronics, technology, and other specialties needed to preserve and protect the invaluable hidden collection. Jane herself is a warrior in training and has become expert with a bow. Even her two sons undergo training.
Jane has designed the Romancing the Reader week to provide a range of activities centered on Regency romances. It involves the many skills of Storyton Village storeowners and crafts people as well as panels and lectures featuring the authors.
Following hints in the Murder in the Mystery Suite, Jane finds herself romantically attracted to the owner of a new Storyton cafe. Unfortunately, when she learns of his past, he flees, but leaves a mysterious message. Jane is broken hearted, but determined to solve the current murders.
Prolific author Adams has two other mystery series: the Charmed Pie Shoppe and the Bay Mysteries. The Book Retreat Mysteries have had a mixed reception. Some readers love it while others are mixed. The hidden library may raise echoes of Umberto Eco's Name of the Rose, but this series is much simpler and has elements like all novels of hidden knowledge. Some readers may see as too much of a fantasy, but mystery and murder elements are the stuff of most of the mystery genre. The tie to various book related themes provides added interest for some readers.