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A Deadly Chapter: 03/30/21
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).