Chapter and Curse
Cambridge Bookshop Book 1
St. Martin’s Paperback
Sept 28th, 2021
Chapter and Curse by Elizabeth Penney brings to life a fabulous cozy mystery. This first of the series has a community readers will care about, detailed descriptions of the town, and an engaging mystery with blackmail, deceit, and murder. Beyond that the author chose the historic town of Cambridge England set in a 400-year-old bookshop.
“My mother is from England and went to nursing school there. I lived there when I was little. Just like the main character’s mom, my mother married an American and left. Because I have relatives who live there, I set it in Cambridge England in a bookstore of an old Tudor building of the 1600s. Cambridge has several bookstores and is a city that values them. I made sure to have the store sell antique books because the city has a lot of literary history. In the story I wrote about the “OZ” books. To be realistic I looked up what a first edition would be worth.”
After the death of her father Molly Kimball realizes her mother Nina needs a change of scenery. When a letter arrives from an aunt who lives in Cambridge requesting their help in running the family bookshop Nina and Molly decide to travel to Britain. Since Molly is a librarian, she comes up with ideas on how to bring in revenue to the bookstore, “Thomas Marlow-Manuscripts and Folios.” She invites her Aunt Violet’s college classmate, famed poet Persephone Brightwell to hold a reading in the shop. Unfortunately, at the end of the event another of Violet’s college roommates, Myrtle Marsh, is found dead, killed with her aunt’s knitting needle.
“Molly is inquisitive, outgoing, and sociable. She is also enthusiastic, smart, kind, and a people person who loves cats. Her profession is a librarian, which helps with her sleuth work. Both use research skills. The other main character, Kiernan, will eventually be Molly’s love interest. He is from nobility but wants to be just a regular guy. He is very independent, warm, friendly, and supportive.
Molly and some new friends try to prove Aunt Violet’s innocence since she is considered a person of interest. Besides Molly and Nina, there is Sir John, a former lawyer and spy, George, landlord, and handyman, Daisy, a coffeeshop owner, and Kiernan, a bicycle shop owner who Molly begins dating.
“The victim is not really likeable. She is manipulative, devious, sly, sneaky, and is blackmailing people.”
This cozy mystery has a captivating setting, engaging characters, buried secrets, and a suspenseful mystery with many people of interest and twists and turns.