THE BOOKSHOP MURDER : A FLORA STEELE MYSTERY

MERRYN ALLINGHAM

A book review

This is an amazing book. A fascinating cozy mystery set in 1955 in the quaint town of Abbeymead, Sussex, England. Wow. I could almost imagine the events in this book taking place in my mind’s eye.


Flora Steele owns the bookshop, ‘All’s well’ bequeathed to her by her deceased Aunt Violet. She finishes delivering the books ordered by some customers and is about to enter her bookshop as she thinks about the yummy food given by Alice Jenner, a cook, in the Priory Hotel and also reminisces the time spent there when it’s previous owner, the late Lord Edward Templeton was alive. She notices a handsome man wearing loose clothes and a fedora at her bookshop. He asks her for the books ordered by him. He introduces himself as Jack Carrington. She fetches his orders while he beckons her near one of her bookshelves where he discovers the dead body of a young man. Flora is shocked because her shop has been broken into and a guy is dead inside her shop.


The police dismiss the case citing heart attack as the cause of death. Nevertheless, Flora smells a foul play and gets Jack, who is a popular author of crime fiction, involved into the investigation to convince everyone that her shop is not tainted or spooked.


The Priory Hotel was inherited by Reggie Anderson, an Australian citizen and second cousin of Lord Templeton because he had no heir. He sold it to the current owner Vernon Elliott. His son, Kevin Anderson, is the deceased found at Flora’s shop.


Flora is stumped because of the break in by Kevin. She learns that he was celebrating his birthday and ordered cake from Kate Mitchell, Cyril Knight’s daughter and Bernard Mitchell’s wife. Cyril Knight was the former Gardner at The Priory Hotel. She suspects Cyril of killing Kevin by poisoning his cake as he helped his daughter with the baking and getting Bernie arrested but Cyril ends up dead in a similar fashion. His death is also exactly similar to that of Kevin and Bernie vanishes mysteriously with just his clothes recovered from the beach.

Is he alive or dead? Kevin was also seen prowling around the library before his death. Both Flora and Jack are baffled because no trace of poison was discovered on both the corpses. Who is the murderer? There is also a mysterious attack on Jack and Flora with an arrow shot from a crossbow. Who wants to get rid of Flora and Jack? Why did Kevin enter Flora’s shop before his death? Highly recommended for reading. Deserves more than five stars. Awesome. I can’t stop raving about this book. The story gets super exciting with plenty of twists.

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