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As Far as You'll Take Me by Phil Stamper
Belly Up by Eva Darrows
The Big Nap by Ayelet Waldman
Birds by the Shore by Jennifer Ackerman
A Deadly Chapter by Essie Lang
A Game of Cones by Abby Collette and Joell Jacob (narrator)
The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna
The In-Between by Rebecca Ansari
Just Because by Mac Barnett and Isabelle Arsenault (Illustrator)
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Long Island Iced Tina by Maria DiRico
Moriarty the Patriot, Volume 2 by Ryōsuke Takeuchi and Hikaru Miyoshi
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Nothing O'Clock by Neil Gaiman
Nubia: Real One by L.L. McKinney and Robyn Smith
Oddity by Eli Brown and Karin Rytter (illustrator)
The Old Boat by Jarrett Pumphrey and Jerome Pumphrey
Paladin's Strength by T. Kingfisher
Plantation Shudders by Ellen Byron
The Raconteur's Commonplace Book by Kate Milford

Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett
Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor
Restaurant to Another World Volume 3 by Junpei Inuzuka and Katsumi Enami (Illustrations)
Séance Tea Party by Reimena Yee
Stray Bullets by Robert Rotenberg
These Unlucky Stars by Gillian McDunn
Tin by Candace Robinson and Amber R. Duell
Victor and Nora: A Gotham Love Story by Lauren Myracle and Isaac Goodhart
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
Wicked Weaves by Joyce Lavene and Jim Lavene
The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life by Dani Jansen

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A Deadly Chapter: 03/30/21

A Deadly Chapter

A Deadly Chapter by Essie Lang is the third book in the Castle Bookshop mystery series. Murder finds Shelby at her home when a body is trapped between the dock and her houseboat. The man ends up being someone who spoke to her briefly about a woman he was trying to track down.

With the murder victim appearing in chapter one as a body there isn't any sort of build up. Shelby knew the man better than we, the reader, do and even she barely knew him. That doesn't leave much impetus for our amateur sleuth to go clue hunting or to interview people.

Instead of being focused on who killed the man who washed up under the dock, Shelby's attention is almost entirely on her relationship with Zack. He's up for promotion and that would mean relocating to Boston. Thus her situation is similar to Angie in Death by the Dozen by Jenn McKinlay (2011).

The big difference between Roach and Zach is one of plot. Yes, Angie is seriously considering moving to Los Angeles, but she and Mel are kept busy by a baking competition as well as the ongoing murder investigation. Shelby's time in A Deadly Chapter is primarily given to her job at the bookshop, which gives her lots of time to pine over her beau.

The solution to the murder is a rather obvious one. It has to be because no time was spent introducing a cast of potential suspects and motives. The way the investigation comes to a close is also rather unsatisfying, being done so in a similar fashion to Bedeviled Eggs by Laura Childs (2010).

Five stars

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