#BookReview: A BODY IN THE BOOKSHOP by Helen Cox @Helenography @QuercusBooks @ellakroftpatel

A Body in the BookshopPublication: 31st October 2019 – Quercus

It’s nearly Christmas in York, but it seems the season of goodwill hasn’t touched everyone…

When DS Charlotte Banks is suspended from the police on suspicion of assaulting a suspect in the burglary of a local bookshop, librarian Kitt Harley and her friend Evie Bowes refuse to believe she is guilty. But why is she being framed?

With Charlotte’s boss DI Malcolm Halloran unable to help, Evie decides to take matters into her own hands. Kitt takes little persuading to get involved too – after all, as well as Charlotte’s career to save, there are missing books to be found!

From the tightknit community of York’s booksellers, to the most gossipy bus route in the country, Kitt and Evie leave no stone unturned to get at the truth behind the burglary.

Then the discovery of a body raises the stakes even higher. For Evie, and now Kitt, this case is as personal as it gets. Can they catch the murderer in time to turn a bleak midwinter into something merry and bright?

**********

A few weeks ago I was invited to join the media blast for the first novel in the Kitt Hartley Yorkshire Mystery series and I enjoyed reading about this librarian turned investigator. So, when I found out that the second book in the series, A Body in the Bookshop, was coming out on 31st October I knew I had to read it right away. Not only because I really love the title (it’s great, isn’t it?!?), but because I fell in love with the characters, the setting of the books, and I enjoy the author’s clear and flowing writing style.

So, in A Body in the Bookshop, we find the three funniest and smartest amateur detectives back for another case. It all starts with the robbery of some valuable first editions at Kitt’s favourite bookshop and the suspension of DS Charlotte Banks for assaulting a suspect. Feeling protective and grateful to DS Banks following the case in Murder by the Minster, Evie convinces Kitt, once again, to do their own investigation in the case. This case gives Kitt the excuse to visit all bookshops in town in search of clues, while Evie is determined to find out the truth and help DS Charley Banks. Helping them are the always loyal assistant librarian and online genius Grace and the 85-year-old psychic Ruby who reads tarots and gets her info on the bus 59.

While Murder by the Minster was more Kitt’s story, A Body in the Bookshop focuses more on Evie. She is still processing the events of the first book and its consequences. On the romantic side, she is struggling with her unexpected feelings for someone and we get to read more about her friendship with Kitt. I wish there had been more about Kitt and detective Halloran’s new romance (I love this couple!), but I enjoyed getting to know Evie better. Once again, Kitt is full of literary references that make me like her more and more (and increase my TBR pile) and I love the character of Grace. She is such a fun character, so smart, resourceful, and full of life and she always makes me laugh.

With good pacing and a few twists, the author addresses themes of police corruption, blackmail, secrets, and, of course, murder. Even though it is the second book in the series, it can easily be read as a stand-alone, but I highly recommend you read the first book, too, not only because it’s a fantastic read, but to better understand the characters and their story. A Body in the Bookshop is an engaging, thrilling, and addictive cosy mystery and I am already looking forward to the third book in the series which is out next March!

A huge thank you to Quercus and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of the novel.

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