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by V.M. Burns

Pub Date: Nov. 28th, 2023
ISBN: 9781496739483
Publisher: Kensington

A much-hated author’s publicist is offed by a poisoned cocktail doubtless designed for his client. Who had the guts to do what everyone wished they could’ve done?

Michigan’s North Harbor Book Festival has brought some of the best and brightest to the area, so Samantha Washington is tickled to be part of an author panel even though some attendees might think she’s just a local yokel surrounded by big names. Samantha’s proud of both the launch of her mystery series and the bookshop she runs with her Nana Jo, Market Street Mysteries, even if neither one will change the world. It’s fun to do what she loves and get the stories in her head down on paper for others to enjoy. But that sense of humility isn’t something all authors share, and Samantha’s fellow panelist, bestseller Judith Hunter, certainly could use a dose that would bring her down to earth. Samantha watches Judith go head-to-head with two other authors, one of whom even jokes about starting an I-Hate-Judith-Hunter Fan Club. So terrible is Judith that when her publicist, Clark Cunningham, is poisoned during the cocktail reception following the big panel, Samantha is certain the drink that killed Clark was meant for Judith instead. With the help of Nana Jo and their shared network of connections, Samantha tries to figure out which of Judith’s many highly motivated enemies stepped up to kill the famous author. Interspersed extracts from Samantha’s work-in-progress, a sequel to her first cozy, Murder at Wickfield Lodge, drop broad hints about the killer’s identity before the characters can figure it out.

The remarkable heroine’s refreshing lack of aspirations adds to the charm of this modest mystery.