A Treacherous Tale

The Cambridge Bookstore Series Book 2

Elizabeth Penney

St. Martin’s Paperback

August 23rd, 2022

A Treacherous Tale by Elizabeth Penney is set in an English bookshop with the main character Molly Kimball.

“I had the idea to write a story with children’s books.  In the previous book I mentioned it and tried to run with it in this book. It developed in that the author of the book wrote a new edition. I also incorporated an Anglo-Saxon archeological dig around the area. It was near the property where the author lived. The mystery plot is about how items are sold of what they dug up. I looked up the legends and folklore in the area to include.”

“I even decided to include an archeological dig. I am fascinated with them I recently saw a movie, called “The Dig” on Netflix.  In England in the 1930s someone dug up burial grounds and found an entire ship. I like the idea of finding items that are a picture of their lives. Maybe something could be found that no one has discovered before. I read how in the Cambridge area a dig found gems of someone considered a princess. This gave me the idea. It seems every time the ground is dug up evidence is found of an earlier civilization.” 

Lately, Molly has been feeling that she might have fallen into a fairy tale: she’s reinvigorated the family bookshop Thomas Marlowe-Manuscripts and Folios, made friends in her new home of Cambridge, England, and is even developing a bit of a romance with the handsome Kieran, a bike shop owner with a somewhat intimidating family pedigree.

Having recently discovered The Strawberry Girls, a classic children’s tale, Molly is thrilled to learn the author, Iona York, lives nearby. But while visiting the famous author at her lovely cottage in nearby Hazelhurst, an old acquaintance of Iona’s tumbles off her roof to his death.

“I thought of a fictional book titled The Strawberry Girls. I decided I wanted to build a story around it.  I thought it was cute to have two sisters born around a strawberry moon in a cottage with a thatched roof.  These children were characters in a book, but, existed. I put in the towers where the princess was locked up.”

Then, when one of Iona’s daughters, an inspiration for the original Strawberry Girls, goes missing, Molly begins to worry this story might be more Brothers Grimm than happily-ever-after. Especially after Molly learns about the mysterious long-ago death of Iona’s husband and co-author of The Strawberry Girls. Molly must put the clues together before someone turns this sweet tale sour.

“I like to include scenes from a fictional book in the stories. My next book will have a Gothic theme out around August. They have a cousin who studies Gothic literature with someone writing a Gothic novel, published in the mi-1800s.  They used certain themes and motifs that I included. I am writing samples of a Gothic novel. It is titled The Fatal Folio because everyone who owns it dies.” 

Penney has many people of interest, several suspects connected to The Strawberry Girls. This includes family, neighbors and scholars conducting an archaeological dig. Once again, Molly works with her friends and family to solve the mysteries. 



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About the Author

Elise Cooper

Elise writes book reviews that always include a short author interview.