“As Sugar Springs gears up for its all-class high school reunion, Mississippi bookstore owner Arlo Stanley prepares to launch her largest event: a book-signing with the town’s legendary alum and bestselling author, Wally Harrison. That’s when Wally is discovered dead outside of Arlo’s front door and her best friend is questioned for the crime.
When the elderly ladies of Arlo’s Friday Night Book Club start to investigate, Arlo has no choice but to follow behind to keep them out of trouble. Yet with Wally’s reputation, the suspect list only grows longer—his betrayed wife, his disgruntled assistant, even the local man who holds a grudge from a long-ago accident.
Between running interference with the book club and otherwise keeping it all together, Arlo anxiously works to get Chloe out of jail. And amidst it all, her one-time boyfriend-turned-private-eye returns to town, just another distraction while she digs to uncover the truth around Wally’s death and just what Sugar Springs secret could have led to his murder.” – Amazon
The biggest reason I return to read more books in a cozy mystery series is because of the characters, and Amy Lillard does a wonderful job with writing them in Can’t Judge a Book by Its Murder, the first book in the Main Street Book Club Mysteries.
Lillard really shines with Fern, Camille, and Helen, the elderly ladies in the book club that help Arlo investigate. Each one has a distinct personality with fun quirks. I love how Fern seems a bit mean, Camille is very resourceful and I could see her in a spy novel, and Helen is the perfect touch of caring that Arlo needs. And the two animals in the book, the store parrot and Chloe’s cat, add another layer of humor to the book.
The first book in a series can sometimes be awkward while the author works out the flow, and I did find that with Can’t Judge a Book by Its Murder. The first fourth of the book had Arlo and Chloe rehashing the same thoughts, but once Chloe got arrested things started to pick up.
I’m not a huge fan of love triangles in a cozy and there seems to be one brewing, but hopefully Arlo picks a beau quickly… we shall see. But this is just a personal preference, may be something you enjoy, and wouldn’t stop me from reading more in the series.
And there were really unbelievable things that happened when it came to Chloe’s treatment as a murder suspect, but since it’s a cozy I was able to overlook this and enjoy the story.
I am looking forward to book two, A Murder Between the Pages, and the further adventures of Arlo and the book club ladies!
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