Wed, Read & Dead Review

Title: Wed, Red and Dead (Mystery Bookshop #4)
Author: V.M. Burns
Published: April 30 2019
Publisher: Kensington Books
Readership: Adult
Genre: Cozy-Mystery
Rating: ★★★.5

I received a copy of Wed, Read and Dead from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Bookstore owner Samantha Washington sells and solves mysteries in North Harbor, Michigan—including the murder of her mother’s wedding planner . . .
Sam’s mother can’t wait to wed her wealthy beau, Harold Robertson. The big mystery is how they’re going to pull off a lavish wedding in three weeks. Harold’s snobby sister-in-law proposes a solution: engage flamboyant wedding planner Lydia Lighthouse. But their beacon of hope quickly sends everyone into a blind rage, most of all the groom-to-be. So when the maddening micromanager is strangled with her own scarf, it’s a shock, but not a surprise.

It’s a case of art imitating life as Sam pens her next historical mystery set in England between the wars. Lady Daphne Marsh insists on marrying Lord James Browning on Christmas Eve, three weeks hence. But when the fop planning their wedding ends up with a knife in his back, she vows to nab the backstabber before she walks down the aisle.

Meanwhile, when she’s not writing, Sam and her beloved and boisterous Nana Jo rush to shine a light on Lydia’s killer—so her mother’s new husband won’t spend his honeymoon behind bars . . .

I read my first Mystery Bookshop book (book 3) last year when I requested it on Netgalley not knowing it was the most recent book in a series. The wonderful thing about cozy mysteries is that – often times – you can jump in at any point and still catch up on all the main points, but it was definitely nice to have a point of reference while reading Wed, Read and Dead.

Local bookshop owner, Samantha Washington, loves murder mystery books, her family and solving real-life mysteries. What she doesn’t particularly like is the hot-pink cupcake-like bridesmaid dresses her mother keeps picking out for her! Sam’s mother’s marriage to the wealthy Harold Robertson has everyone in a spin until Harold’s standoffish sister-in-law hires wedding planner Lydia Lighthouse to save the day… or perhaps make it worse. Lydia’s overbearing nature and attitude quickly runs afoul of everyone up until she’s found murdered with her own scarf. Then it’s up to Sam, her grandmother and friends to solve the murder.

This is a cozy mystery with a fast-pace, lots of heart and lots of delicious food mentioned all the time. (I felt like I need to have something sweet on hand the whole time I was reading!)

What I liked most was the reliability of Sam’s situation – her mother’s getting remarried and the entire thing is stressful not only for her, but also Sam and Sam’s sister as they try to cope with their mother’s stress. I also enjoyed reading about Sam’s story a lot more this time round, possibly because I was familiar with her already so I didn’t have to build up a lot of backstory, but also because I think the whole thing felt a lot more natural.

Sam’s group of senior sleuths were, as last time, hilarious and fun and have so many connections with which to find out information that it’s totally unbelievable and yet credible at the same time.  The addition of the younger, college-aged characters was great because they added a different dynamic to the mostly over 40 cast of characters and also tied in nicely with a sub-plot about some runaway children which made for some of the most heart-warming scenes.

There were lots of twists and turns, and this made for an enjoyable afternoon read.

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