Monday, January 30, 2017

Book Review: Prose and Cons by Amanda Flower

From the publisher: In Cascade Springs, New York, Violet Waverly and her grandma, Daisy, are the proprietors of Charming Books, where the power of the written word is positively enchanting...

October in Cascade Springs means tourists are pouring in for the annual Food and Wine Festival, and Daisy hopes to draw those crowds to the store. She asks Violet and the local writing group, the Red Inkers, to give a reading of the works of Edgar Allan Poe in the shop’s back garden to entertain the revelers. Everyone eagerly agrees.

Yet their enthusiasm is soon extinguished when Violet discovers one of the writers dead during the event. After the shop magically tells Violet she’ll need to rely on Poe’s works to solve the murder, she enlists the help of her trusty tuxedo cat, Emerson, and the shop’s crow, Faulkner. But they must act fast before someone else’s heart beats nevermore...

I adored last year's debut of Amanda Flower's Magical Bookshop mystery series and knowing that book 2 was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, one of my all-time favorites, had me anticipating Prose and Cons even more than usual.

It's just before Halloween and Violet and her grandma Daisy are making final preparations for the Food and Wine Festival when Charming Books will be hosting a Poe-try Reading of the master of the macabre's works in the garden. The reading will be done by Violet's writing group the Red Inkers, and member Sadie, owner of the local vintage clothing shop, is in charge of providing the period costumes. On the afternoon of the reading, Red Inker Anastasia goes upstairs to use Violet's apartment to change, and moments later is found dead at the foot of the stairs, her neck broken. What looks like a tragic accident soon becomes a murder investigation when it's discovered that her dress was soaked in liquid nicotine in order to disorient her, making dressmaker Sadie the #1 suspect. The magical bookshop leads Violet to consult Poe's stories to help solve the crime, and before long Violet discovers that not only was Anastasia collecting blackmail materials on her fellow Inkers, she was also hiding a doozy of a secret herself!

Everything about this book is positively enchanting. The scene where Violet has to retrieve her wayward (but wise) cat Emerson from the victim's creepy mansion is straight out of a Poe story. The little town of Cascade Springs and it's residents are brought to life on every page. Violet's new life there is an unexpected blessing as she's still recovering from past tragedies, and in Prose and Cons she's still struggling with her feelings for two suitors while the arrival of another man in her life blindsides her. The killer was a mystery until the very end (although I had my suspicions) and the revelation was a heartbreaker. That's something unique and very special about an Amanda Flower mystery: the killer is hardly ever anyone who evokes strong feelings of dislike, their motives actually make them sympathetic characters.

I can hardly wait to see what's next in Violet's world...

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.


  1. My to-read list is getting so long (and that's totally fine with me)! I think this series is pretty high up on that list, though, as it sounds so fun and magical. Thank you for sharing yet another must-read, Mudpie and Melissa!

  2. This one is on my list and I can't wait to get to it! The first book was such fun, and it sounds like this one is just as good.

  3. Thanks, Melissa (and Mudpie). I'm looking forward to reading Prose and Cons.

  4. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!
    This sounds like a good read ;)
    Purrs Georgia,Julie and JJ

  5. The cover is absolutely charming and the book sounds like a wonderful diversion to read! Purrs from Deb and the Zee/Zoey gang

  6. Ooh!! This looks terrific, Mudpie! I look forward to reading it! Thank you!

  7. This series sounds great!! Thanks for the review!!