Proof of Murder (Book #4: Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery Serie) by Lauren Elliott

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Bookshop owner Addie Greyborne must solve a locked-room murder in a supposedly haunted mansion to recover a priceless Sherlock Holmes original . . .

The seaside New England town of Greyborne Harbor is home to many grand estates, including the Queen Anne Victorian Addie inherited from her great aunt. Now one of those mansions is holding an estate sale, which is just what the bookshop owner needs to replenish her supply of rare editions–even if the house is rumored to be haunted. Assisting an overwhelmed insurance appraiser with the inventory, Addie discovers an 1887 magazine containing Arthur Conan Doyle’s first Sherlock Holmes novel, A Study in Scarlet, which she estimates to be worth over one hundred and fifty thousand dollars.

But when Addie later finds the appraiser dead in the estate’s private library, with the door bolted from the inside, and the priceless edition missing, it’s a mystery worthy of the Great Detective himself. She’s certain the death and the robbery are connected–but who, other than a ghost who can walk through walls, could have gotten in to do the deed? It’s up to Addie to find the key to the crime–before she’s the next one cornered by a killer . . .

Review. Text on the string. Conceptual 3d image

Source: NetGalley and Kensington Books          Rating: 4½/5 stars

Addie Greyborne just never seems to be in the right place at the right time.  In her twoish years in Greyborne Harbor, she’s been pulled into three murder investigations, seen her best friend accused of one of them, met two intriguing men, and been generally off kilter since arriving in town.  With hope in her heart, Addie is looking forward to a stretch of good and quiet where she can focus on her business, her growing relationship, and her burgeoning friendships. 

And then Addie arrives in the wrong place at the wrong time!

With nothing but good intentions, Addie volunteers to help an old family friend get ready for an impending local auction.  With her appraisers’ hat on, Addie sets to work and discovers some beautiful and very rare books that will surely bring a fortune at auction.  Thinking she’s done nothing but a good deed, Addie leaves the site looking forward to participating in the auction the next day.  As the next day dawns and Addie arrives at the auction site, she finds herself, once again drawn into a murder, only this time, Addie is the prime suspect.

In months and investigations past, Addie has been able to rely on her relationship with the police chief to help her through difficult times.  This time, Marc is not only adamantly and angrily against her, but his new girlfriend seems to have a huge grudge against Addie and is looking to put her behind bars.  With few people to rely on and trust, a very hurt Addie drags out her trusty murder board and begins to put the pieces together. 

As always, the evidence and clues lead Addie down a long and winding path that takes her from the present to the distant past and through the lives of a troubled family and their dilapidated home that is now considered haunted.  What’s more, the house is the site of the impending auction and for weeks, valuable items have been going missing and is the site of the murder Addie is accused of having committed.  What Addie uncovers is a sordid tale of lechery, deceit, and murder that has left at least one person with nothing but revenge and retribution on the brain.  To be sure, Addie is up to her neck in the mess and if she doesn’t uncover the identity of the real killer, she may be spending the next several decades behind bars.

The Bottom Line: I feel like this series has really hit its stride and I hope to continue seeing books of this quality.  As with the previous books, the mystery is suitably complicated and interesting to have me turning pages like a mad woman.  I absolutely love the combination of the past meets the present and that is prevalent in this book.  I also like all the complicated relationships currently in Addie’s life.  She is really rolling in emotions in this book and it made for a great secondary plot line that FINALLY brought out some real anger in Addie.  I loved seeing her mean side especially towards those who more than deserved it.  In all, a cozy mystery series that I have been impressed with and hope to see continue in a similar manner.

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