Today I am reviewing on its publication day Once Upon a Seaside Murder by Maggie Blackburn, published by Crooked Lane Books.
As the holidays approach, bookstore owner Summer Merriwether learns a dark secret in this second volume of Maggie Blackburn’s Beach Reads mystery series.
There’s no place like home for the holidays, even if home is sleepy, beachside Brigid’s Island, NC. During this season for giving, the town wakes up to a welcome throng of shoppers–and Beach Reads is no exception. But bookseller Summer Merriwether’s Christmas cheer turns to cringing fear when she uncovers a deadly secret about her late mother–a secret someone will kill to keep.
When the local library hosts a cozy mystery panel discussion, Summer learns that one of the authors on the panel based her book on an actual murder that shook Brigid’s Island thirty-five years before. Worse, she soon learns that her dearly missed mother, Hildy, took a disturbingly deep interest in the case, going so far as to collect clippings and keep a journal of the dark doings. This doesn’t jibe with Summer’s memories of her usually cheery mother at all.
Tidings get worse when Summer learns of her long-lost biological family’s involvement in the crime…and still worse when the life of the book’s author is threatened. With the help of Hildy’s plucky book club, Summer puts her scholarly smarts to work on protecting the cozy author and solving the decades-old murder.
But this ghost from Christmas past may still be deadly in the present, and if she can’t find the killer, Summer’s future will be brief.
Tis is the season to be jolly, but for bookstore owner Summer Merriwether it is anything but when she discovers a deadly secret about her late mother. A secret someone will kill to keep….
Once Upon a Seaside Murder is the 2nd instalment in the Beach Read Mysteries and is a great read. In saying that, I do have to be honest upfront and say that I didn’t gel with the 1st book, Little Bookshop of Murder, but I did enjoy Maggie Blackburns style which is why I wanted to read this latest addition and I am so glad I did.
I enjoyed Summer’s character more this time around and found her to be more personable. The duel storyline’s are well done and merge together well and its picturesque setting in Brigid’s Island in North Carolina, rounds out the characterisation of small town charm. All up, Once Upon a Seaside Murder is a very engaging read and I will be looking forward to the next instalment.
Thank you to Maggie Blackburn, Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for allowing me to read an advanced copy of Once Upon a Seaside Murder, which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
This review will be added to, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Amazon Australia & Amazon US. I will also add to NetGalley, Apple Books, Kobo, Google Play and Barnes & Noble if available. As I am from Australia, I am unable to add to Amazon UK, but will post to Waterstones & Foyles if also available.
Let’s Get to Know Maggie Blackburn (Mollie Cox Bryan)
Mollie Cox Bryan is a writer of women’s stories. Her stories have many forms: cookbooks, articles, essays, poetry and fiction. Mollie grew up near Pittsburgh, Pa., and attended Point Park University, where she received a B.A. in Journalism and Communications. Her first real job out of college was as a paste-up artist at a small newspaper, where she was allowed to write “on her own time” and she did.
Mollie moved to the Washington, D.C. area, where she held a number of writing jobs, and has written about a diverse array of subjects, such as construction, mathematics education, and life insurance. While working in the editorial field, Mollie began taking poetry classes at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Md. Soon, she was leading local poetry workshops and was selected to participate in the prestigious Jenny McKean Moore Poetry Workshop.
In 1999, shortly after the birth of her first daughter, Emma, Mollie and her husband moved to the Shenandoah Valley of Va. (Waynesboro), where he took a job at the Frontier Culture Museum and she stayed at home to take care of Emma and start a freelancing career.
She was honored with an Agatha Award nomination for her first novel, SCRAPBOOK OF SECRETS. Several books in the Cumberland Creek series have received People’s Choice nominations from the Library of Virginia.