Booked for Death

Booked for Death by Victoria Gilbert

I enjoyed this cozy mystery, first in the new Booklovers B & B series, set in historic Beaufort, North Carolina. Chapters Bed & Breakfast comes complete with a well-stocked library and features several book related events each year. Charlotte is fairly new to running the inn, having inherited Chapters from her mysterious Great Aunt Isabella after years of teaching high school. A Josephine Tey mystery week starts off with a Richard III themed costume party and dinner, which ends with one guest murdered. Everyone is a suspect, from Charlotte, cook/housekeeper Alicia, the evening’s hotheaded chef Damian, local bookstore owner Julie, and all of the guests staying at Chapters. Charlotte finds unexpected help from elderly neighbor Ellen when she decides to investigate. The Beaufort setting is especially appealing, and my favorite character is Ellen, along with her dog, Shandy. The second book, Reserved for Murder, has just been published. Readalikes include mysteries by Ellery Adams, Eva Gates, Jenn McKinlay, and Tea and Treachery by Vicki Delany.



Nightwoods, by Charles Frazier

Nightwoods, set in Appalachia fifty years ago, is not big on plot. Instead the story alternates between hope and a sense of impending menace in the North Carolina woods with some very unusual characters. Luce is the caretaker for an old lodge an hour by car from the town across the lake where she grew up. She inherits twins when her sister Lily is killed. Dolores and Frank like fire but won’t talk, providing her with an interesting challenge. The new owner of the lodge comes to town, as does the twins’ stepfather Bud, who hopes to get his hands on money his wife may have left. Bud stays clear of Luce, but unexpectedly tangles with her father, who is only slightly less of a hazard than Bud. Very atmospheric, with memorable characters. Frazier is the author of Cold Mountain and Thirteen Moons.