Tuesday 26 March 2024

Murder Marks the Page (Tomes & Tea Mystery series Book # 1) by Karen Rose Smith

The first in a new series spun off from the Daisy Tea Garden Mysteries, Daisy’s daughter Jazzi Swanson has opened her own book and tea shop, providing a variety of literature and flavored beverages for a rural New York community. But Jazzi has not only inherited her mother’s gift for brewing tasty drinks—she also has a nose for sniffing out murder.

New York State’s Belltower Landing is a lakeside resort town where tourists spend their summer days boating, floating, and paddle-boarding on the water. It’s also the perfect place to cuddle up with a good book and enjoy a cup of tea, courtesy of Tomes & Tea. Owned and operated by Jazzi and her best friend Dawn Fernsby, the book bar is beloved by vacationers and locals alike, but browsers grabbing brews in the off season aren’t enough to help them make ends meet.

Between brainstorming social media publicity ideas for the shop and fending off flirtatious men she has no interest in or time for, Jazzi befriends a woman named Brie who has recently made contact with her biological father. As an adopted child herself, Jazzi is more than happy to give Brie emotional support, especially as her wealthy father’s wife and children see her as a threat.

But Brie is also looking to start a family of her own. Unfortunately, all the potential princes she’s met through a dating app turn out to be frogs. Then, when Brie is found murdered, Jazzi finds herself playing detective. With a list of suspects ranging from jealous half-siblings to less-than-suitable suitors, Jazzi may need to consult some of her shop’s bestselling mysteries to help her uncover a killer . . .  (Summary via Goodreads)

Right after I finish writing my review for Murder Marks the Page by Karen Rose Smith, I am going to go pack because I am moving to Belltower Landing immediately ... as soon as I find out where this fictional town is located.  Murder Marks the Page is the first book in the Tomes & Tea Mystery series by Smith and boy does she set the stage beautifully !!!

In Murder Marks the Page readers are introduced to Jazzi and Dawn who are longtime friends having met in college at a group for adoptive children.  They bonded over the fact that they were both adopted and became roommates and then moved back to Belltower Landing where Dawn is from and where Jazzi would spend her summers.  Now they are business owners as well as roommates.  They own Tomes & Tea where they sell tea, baked goods and books.

Jazzi and Dawn are introduced to Brie by their friend Delaney who knows about their adoptive pasts and feels that Brie, who is looking for her adoptive father, will benefit from their experiences.  Unfortunately shortly after they meet, and before they can begin to help her with her quest, Delaney finds Brie's body.  This was right after Jazzi had dinner with her and was getting to know her so her and Delaney are questioned by the police.

Jazzi knows that she should focus on the shop and not murder but she is drawn to Brie's case because that is what Jazzi's mom would do.  And even though she needs to convince Dawn not to share her part of the business and this is the time of year that the town relies on tourists, Jazzi can not say no the Brie's mother when she asks for help.

There is a lot going on in the town of Belltower Landing and readers will love every part of it.  Getting to know a new town, the businesses, the people and the relationships is always fun with a new series and Karen Rose Smith does not disappoint !!  She is spot on with this debut book and you will become a fan as soon as you open the book.  You will want to move there also ... and if you find Belltower Landing, please let me know .... we can be roommates !!

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