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Prose and Cons (Magical Bookshop) by Amanda Flower
Cover Artist: Stephen Gardner
Review by Gayle Surrette
Berkley Mass Market Paperback / e  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451477453
Date: 06 December 2016

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Halloween is approaching and Cascade Springs' annual Food and Wine Festival is kicking off. Charming Books is taking part by having a Poe-try Reading where the members of the Red Inkers, a writers' goup, will read selections from Poe in an area of the shop's backyard decorated for the occasion. Sadie was supplying Poe era appropriate clothing for each of the members of the Red Inkers. Violet and her Grandmother, Daisy, were hoping the Poe-try Reading would bring more customers into their bookstore.

Everything was going smoothly. There was a bigger than expected crowd for the reading, and then one of the Red Inkers was found dead, having fallen down the backstairs of Charming Books. At first considered an accident, it was then determined to be murder. Violet knew she needed to find the killer as soon as possible, both so that the bookstore could reopen, and to take the pressure off the most likely suspect, another Red Inker.

Once again there's a lot of tension between the chief of police, David Raintree, as he tries to do his job, and Violet who keeps getting mixed up in the investigation. Meanwhile, Violet has to deal with her feelings for Raintree as everyone seems to be pushing her towards her high school sweetheart, Nathan Morton, who deserted her when she needed him most when her best friend died years ago.

In Prose and Cons, Violet is learning that now that she's back in Cascade Springs her life is changing. She comes to realize that some of the actions she took during high school impacted the lives of people that she's getting reacquainted with now. Looking back she's see that she hasn't considered others as much as she should have and that leads her to believe that she needs to take charge of her life. Because what she does has consequences.

This is a cozy but with a lot of heart. There's a supernatural element that, while interesting and fun, doesn’t take away from the fact that it's people who solve the mysteries. Even so I love the escape artist cat, Emerson, and the wisecracking crow, Faulkner. I expect that as the series continues there will be some changes in the dynamics between the characters, but hopefully that will only enrich the reading experience.

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