In Murder in the Paperback Parlor, the second book in the Book Retreat Mystery series by Ellery Adams, Storyton Hall is hosting the Romancing the Reader convention, devoted to Regency Romance Novels and featuring the top novelists in the genre. Jane Steward’s book club, the Cover Girls, have just read and admired The Devilish Duke by the top Regency Romance author, Rosamund York, and her strong, empowered female characters who cause men to reform in order to earn the love of the ladies.
When Rosamund passes out advance copies of her newest novel, Eros Steals the Bride, she incurs the wrath of a young feminist who has viewed Rosamund as her hero until now. In the new book the hero treats the women, all weak, helpless, and asking to be ravished. As for the other guests of he convention, while not as passionate in their hatred of the book, most women view the new book and its author with total disgust.
Thus, Jane is alerted that a guest has been found dead in the gazebo, it does not come as a surprise to Jane that the dead guest is Rosamund. Jane and the Fins, men who have sworn an oath to protect Storyton Hall and its secrets, rush to solve the case before word of the murder of the number one romance novelist at their resort destroys the reputation of the Hall and threatens the secrets they all guard with their lives. In the meantime, things progress in Jane’s personal relationship with the mysterious and dashing Edwin Alcott, who arranges for her to spend an hour waltzing with him, with only the orchestra in the room. After this magical evening, Jane’s great-aunt confronts her with great displeasure. But what evil secret about Edwin Alcott could possibly exist?
As with the previous book, Murder in the Mystery Suite, I was thoroughly enchanted by Storyton Hall and Murder in the Paperback Parlor. The resort sounds like paradise to this book lover, and I only wish that it actually existed!
As with all her books, Ellery Adams does a fantastic job of drawing her characters for us to see clearly and either love or love to hate. In addition, this author is noted for the way her characters grow personally and change over the course of her series. Though this is just the second book in the series, we already see real growth in Jane as she learns more about her role as Guardian and trains, along with her twin 6-year-old boys, for all that she needs in order to perform her job to her best ability. The boys thoroughly delight, and I like the way they seem like real well brought up 6-year-old boys, at one minute giving the bicycle they won in a contest to a classmate whose family has fallen on especially hard times and then the next getting in trouble for running and screaming and almost knocking over someone with a walker.
Johanna Parker continues the narration of the audio version of this book. The more I listen to her, the more I appreciate the choice of Parker as the narrator of this series, as she has a voice that comes across as both gentle, which suits Jane’s character well, and with tones of mystery about it.
With Murder in the Paperback Parlor, Ellery Adams shows off her tremendous gifts of writing. She has become one of my very favorite authors this year as I have grown to know her through her different series. I very happily give this book five stars! To order the book from Amazon, click here. You may also find it in your local bookstore or library