Friday, November 13, 2015

A Dickens of Murder by Joyce and Jim Lavene - #review #giveaway


Lisa Wellman and Simon Canterville are surprised to find a dead man on their roof in the midst of rushing to open the Canterville Book Shop in time for the holidays. And not just any dead man – Ebenezer Hart – the man who opposed the book shop opening in Olde Town, Portsmouth, Virginia.
What might be more surprising is when Daniel Fairhaven – Lisa’s ex – turns up at the door of the three-story Victorian house to head the police investigation. She hasn’t seen him in years but the sparks start to fly as soon as they are in the same room together.

Simon and Lisa are obviously the best suspects for the murder. Each of them had something to gain by Hart’s death. Then an attempt on Simon’s life throws that theory into a tailspin.
But the biggest surprise yet comes when the ghost of Charles Dickens turns up to help Lisa with the murder investigation – and writing the mystery novel she has been working on for years.
Without a doubt, Daniel and Dickens in Lisa’s life means trouble. And there’s still the matter of trying to get the book shop open with a killer on their heels.




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MY REVIEW

Everybody likes the grand opening of a new store.  Such fanfare, such celebration, such fun; but in Lisa and Daniel's case, we can add such a fatality to that list.  Right before their bookstore is scheduled to open, they find a murder victim on their roof.

Lisa gave up her dream job at the library to be part-owner of a bookstore, along with Simon.  The store will be housed in Simon's shop, you see.   But there are other inhabitants, and danged if they weren't famous writers - well, when they were in the flesh.  And poor Lisa, the ghost of Charles Dickens does not think much about her writing.  And guess who is investigating the aforementioned murder?  Lisa's ex-husband (Daniel) of 12 year ... and somebody forgot to stamp out that forest fire!

Simon is doesn't have much more luck himself.  He is arrested for the murder.  While in jail, his estranged son comes in and starts trying to 'assume control'.  Once Simon gets released, he declares he is leaving the house to Lisa, instead of his son.  Uh-oh.  You can see that one coming eh?  MAJOR friction between Lisa and the son.  Then someone tries to poison Simon!

Here's where being a mystery writer comes in handy - even if you are as yet unpublished.  Lisa recognizes the scent of lavender and knows Simon does not care for the scent.  So, he would be unlikely to have it around.  She also finds a little bottle that housed the lavender essence is 'quite firm' with the ER staff as to what they need to check for, even though they try and pull medical rank.  Turns out there's a reason Simon does not like lavender.  (I think my husband has the same thing.  The scent of lavender gives him migraines.)

I love the ghost and parapsychology angle to this book.  And I never knew Charles Dickens was such an egotist!  *LOL*  But when you are uber-talented and are lucky enough to receive acclaim in your lifetime back in the day, that was quite a feat!

Given the events of the last month or so, the future of Lisa and Simon and their delightful book shop is unclear.  I tell you one thing though, I shall be a loyal 'customer' (reader) for however long the doors stay open.

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MEET THE AUTHORS



Joyce and Jim Lavene wrote award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They lived in rural North Carolina with their family.

Joyce passed away toward the end of last month.  My condolences her family and loved ones.  She will remain on my list of favorite authors.  And my full support (if only in spirit) to her family, who have rallied around and continued with the work that she loved.

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GIVEAWAY!!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Click on the link to go to the tour page, where you will find more reviews, as well as guest posts and interviews.  You can also find out how to apply to become a tour host yourself.

(Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the authors and publishers via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.)

15 comments:

  1. The more I see about this book the more I must read it! Love these blog tours. Miss Joyce's posts.

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    1. You and me both, Grandma! You'll love the book. :O)

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  2. I am a recent, but excited fan of Joyce and Jim Lavene. Their books have been some of my best reading adventures. This book is exciting, as I am a fan of Victorian/Dickens themed Christmases. I continue to be deeply saddened by Joyce's passing, but she'll always be there through her work.... I take comfort in that! kat8762@aol.com

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    1. I highly recommend it, Anne! Thanks for stopping by! :O)

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  4. Love to Christmas mysteries over the holidays and this one sounds like a winner. Thanks for a chance to win a copy.

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    1. If I hadn't already read it, I'd be entering the contest myself, Elaine! ;)

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  5. I would love to read this book during the holidays

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    1. It could become a Christmas tradition, Kaye, like "It's a Wonderful Life"! :O)

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  6. I loved this one too. And I'm a loyal reader and fan of all of their series also!

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    1. Always glad to have a sister Lavene-ite on the porch, Laura!

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  7. Sounds like an action packed mystery with thrills and chills!! :)

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    1. Welcome, Shilpa! The Lavenes are definitely one of my favorite author teams!

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  8. Great post! I really enjoyed reading your review and learning about this book. This book sounds like such an interesting read. Looking forward to reading this book!

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