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WesternSFA


Reserved for Murder
Book Lover's B&B Mystery #2
by Victoria Gilbert
Crooked Lane Books, $26.99, 336pp
Published: June 2021

More bloodshed at a bibliophiles' bed-and-breakfast as Victoria Gilbert's delightful series continues.

Meeting your favorite author in the flesh can be the chance of a lifetime. But for one unlucky fan, her plum place in line at a book signing will lead to her untimely demise.

Beaufort, North Carolina, is home to Chapters Bed and Breakfast, owned and operated by former schoolteacher Charlotte Reed. This historic 18th-century inn draws in voracious readers from far and wide with its lovingly curated special events celebrating a host of genres and authors.

On this sunny July weekend, a visit by one of the biggest names in romantic fantasy attracts throngs of admirers to the quaint coastal village. That's not ideal, as the author retreated to Chapters to get away from it all for a while. No matter--she'll appease her fans with a "Tea and Talk" meet-and-greet at the B&B celebrating her bestselling series (starring a devilishly dashing, time-traveling pirate), follow that up with a quick book signing at Bookwaves, the hip indie bookstore across town, and spend the remainder of the weekend in delightful repose.

But when the president of the reclusive writer's fan club is found dead in the harbor by the Beaufort docks--done in by a blunt-force blow to the head--it's up to Charlotte Reed, her neighbor Ellen, and Ellen's trusty Yorkshire terrier to sniff out the killer. Because if they can't, a spectacularly successful book series--and its author--may come to a sudden, lethal conclusion.

Charlotte is hosting a week-long event for famed romance writer Amanda Nobel. Along with Amanda there are three prize winners staying at Chapters Bed and Breakfast, the head of Amanda’s largest fan club and two fans as well as Tony Lott who is managing Amanda’s tour for the publisher. Lissette, the fan club president, seems to rub almost everyone the wrong way so when she turns up dead it is maybe not too big a surprise. Charlotte and her neighbor Ellen investigate and find that all of the guests have secrets that may have led to murder.  Then there is Ellen’s visiting “cousin” Gavin who is there to investigate a past mission of Charlotte’s great aunt Isabella, a spy, and Ellen, her handler. Charlotte is determined to protect her dead great aunt as well as Ellen but finds herself attracted to Gavin which complicates things.

This second outing in the series is as delightful the first. The characters are believable even if it seems off-beat that Charlotte’s late great-aunt Isabella was a long-time spy and Ellen was her handler. I look forward to book three and am sorry it will not be out until next year. Recommended ~~ Stephanie L Bannon

For more titles by Victoria Gilbert click here

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