Guidebook to Murder

Guidebook to Murder

by Lynn Cahoon


In the gentle coastal town of South Cove, California, all Jill Gardner wants is to keep her store–Coffee, Books, and More–open and running. So why is she caught up in the business of murder?

When Jill’s elderly friend, Miss Emily, calls in a fit of pique, she already knows the city council is trying to force Emily to sell her dilapidated old house. But Emily’s gumption goes for naught when she dies unexpectedly and leaves the house to Jill–along with all of her problems. . .and her enemies. Convinced her friend was murdered, Jill is finding the list of suspects longer than the list of repairs needed on the house. But Jill is determined to uncover the culprit–especially if it gets her closer to South Cove’s finest, Detective Greg King. Problem is, the killer knows she’s on the case–and is determined to close the book on Jill permanently. . 

Lynn Cahoon takes a break from her normal romance novels to delve into the world of cozy mysteries.  I have to admit that I was a tad hesitant at first, as romance is not a normal choice for me and I was worried that this would be a romance novel with just a touch of mystery.  I picked up the book because of the main character’s store, Coffee, Books,  and More, and I am glad I stuck with it, as Cahoon’s unique mystery left me guessing until the last page.

Warning:  Now I hate starting book reviews with negative comments, but I felt it best to get this out in the open as quickly as possible.  Guidebook for Murder is not for those whose blood pressure rises upon finding grammatical errors or discovering loose ends.  The story reads like a draft, as if it was published before the final edit that smooths out the last bits of clinging roughness.  Inconsistencies forced my attention away from the mystery, and at times the writing was a tad cliche.  At least one of the men in South Cove should have been less than model perfect and Cahoon never really describes Jill’s physical attributes besides her being of a curvier frame.  Hair color and length would have been good to know.  Small issues such as these littered the pages and I spent most of my time reading Guidebook to Murder wondering if it was self published.  I was quite surprised to discover that it wasn’t.

I definitely recommend this book for those strong enough to handle the coarseness because, despite what I said above, Cahoon has developed relatable characters within a twisted plot that keeps you yearning for more.  I couldn’t put the book down because I was invested in the characters.  I wanted Jill to keep the house and her business because she is a sweet and hardworking woman.  Greg King is charming, not because of his good looks,  but because he just assumes that Jill knows that they are dating because he spends all of his free time protecting her.  Mrs. Emily is a fiery woman who’s antics, such as declaring she be buried with no jewelry to prevent grave robing, kept me laughing long after she passed on.  The list of these characters just goes on and on, and I will be picking up the second book, Mission to Murder, at the end of July 2014.

Readers are swept along with Jill on her journey to discover the murderer of her dear friend, Ms. Emily, and join in her fight to save the home that she has inherited.  Cahoon’s descriptions of  Ms. Emily’s home restorations made me want to pull out my paint and brushes and get to work touching up my own house.  I would also love to spend my days at Coffee, Books, and More; South Cove here I come!

Guidebook for Murder is the perfect fun read for you if you enjoy murder, house restoration, buried treasure, books, and amazing coffee.  Enjoy!