Today we are really pleased to welcome bestselling author Elizabeth Penney to Alternative-Read.com
Happy Mother’s Day Mums! Hope you enjoy! I love how today’s book features a Cambridge bookshop. Cambridge is my hometown and we do have one of the oldest, if not the oldest, bookshops in the world. The Cambridge University Press Bookshop.
Chapter and Curse by Elizabeth Penney
Chapter and Curse by Elizabeth Penney brings to life a fabulous cozy mystery. This first of the series has a community readers will care about, detailed descriptions of the town, and an engaging mystery with blackmail, deceit, and murder. Beyond that, the author chose the historic town of Cambridge England set in a 400-year-old bookshop.
After the death of her father Molly Kimball realizes her mother Nina needs a change of scenery. When a letter arrives from an aunt who lives in Cambridge requesting their help in running the family bookshop Nina and Molly decide to travel to Britain. Since Molly is a librarian, she comes up with ideas on how to bring in revenue to the bookstore, “Thomas Marlow-Manuscripts and Folios.” She invites her Aunt Violet’s college classmate, famed poet Persephone Brightwell to hold a reading in the shop. Unfortunately, at the end of the event another of Violet’s college roommates, Myrtle Marsh, is found dead, killed with her aunt’s knitting needle.
Molly and some new friends try to prove Aunt Violet’s innocence since she is considered a person of interest. Besides Molly and Nina, there is Sir John, a former lawyer and spy, George, landlord, and handyman, Daisy, a coffeeshop owner, and Kiernan, a bicycle shop owner who Molly begins dating.
This cozy mystery has a captivating setting, engaging characters, buried secrets, and a suspenseful mystery with many people of interest and twists and turns.
Elise Cooper: How did you get the idea for the story?
Elizabeth Penney: My mother is from England and went to nursing school there. I lived there when I was little. Just like the main character’s mom, my mother married an American and left. Because I have relatives who live there, I set it in Cambridge England in a bookstore of an old Tudor building of the 1600s.
EC: Why a bookstore in Cambridge?
EP: It has several bookstores and is a city that values them. I made sure to have the store sell antique books because the city has a lot of literary history. In the story I wrote about the “OZ” books. To be realistic I looked up what a first edition would be worth.
EC: You added flavor to the story by explaining the “English language.”
EP: Words in England have different meanings than in the US. Words such as crumpet which we call an English Muffin, fit which we refer to as attractive, skip is not a movement in England but means alley, and their 999 is our 911. My main character Molly is American, and she comes across some of these terms. It was how she was introduced to the English culture.
EC: You also explain the English culture?
EP: I spoke with online groups who live in England. This is why I put in the book how the English drink coffee. A lot of tea shops now sell coffee.
EC: How would you describe Molly?
EP: Inquisitive, outgoing, and sociable. She is also enthusiastic, smart, kind, and a people person who loves cats. Her profession is a librarian, which helps with her sleuth work. Both use research skills.
EC: How would you describe Kiernan?
EP: He will eventually be Molly’s love interest. He is from nobility but wants to be just a regular guy. He is very independent, warm, friendly, and supportive.
EC: Most of the time victims are sympathetic but not this one?
EP: She is manipulative, devious, sly, sneaky, and is blackmailing people.
EC: What role does the journal play?
EP: I joined this Cambridge group to get a feel for the culture. The journal allows me to have a past thread and to give readers a feel of what happened in the past.
EC: Next book?
EP: It is titled Treacherous Tale and will be out next September. In it Molly will visit Kiernan’s family in their manor. Instead of a journal there will be a children’s book called Strawberry Girls, which I made up. A mother wrote it for her daughters who are now young adults. It is a fairy tale and gives clues to what happened in the story. The mystery involves a man falling off the roof of their cottage and dies.
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Chapter and Curse by Elizabeth Penney
In Elizabeth Penney’s Chapter and Curse, Molly Kimball is used to cracking open books . . . but when a poetry reading ends in murder she must use her skills to crack the case.
A MARY HIGGINS CLARK AWARD NOMINEE!
“With its bucolic British setting, engaging heroine, and unsolved murder dating back decades, Elizabeth Penney has penned the perfect cozy.”–Ellen Byron, USA Today Bestselling Author
Librarian Molly Kimball and her mother, Nina, need a change. So when a letter arrives from Nina’s Aunt Violet in Cambridge, England requesting their help running the family bookshop, they jump at the chance.
Thomas Marlowe—Manuscripts and Folios, is one of the oldest bookshops in Cambridge, and—unfortunately—customers can tell. When Molly and Nina arrive, spring has come to Cambridge and the famed Cambridge Literary Festival is underway. Determined to bring much-needed revenue to the bookstore, Molly invites Aunt Violet’s college classmate and famed poet Persephone Brightwell to hold a poetry reading in the shop. But the event ends in disaster when a guest is found dead—with Molly’s great-aunt’s knitting needle used as the murder weapon. While trying to clear Violet and keep the struggling shop afloat, Molly sifts through secrets past and present, untangling a web of blackmail, deceit, and murder.
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