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Mystery bookstore owner Samantha Washington is trying to keep her grandmother from spending her golden years in an orange jumpsuit . . . The small town of North Harbor, Michigan, is just not big enough for the two of them: flamboyant phony Maria Romanov and feisty Nana Jo. The insufferable Maria claims she's descended from Russian royalty and even had a fling with King Edw Mystery bookstore owner Samantha Washington is trying to keep her grandmother from spending her golden years in an orange jumpsuit . . . The small town of North Harbor, Michigan, is just not big enough for the two of them: flamboyant phony Maria Romanov and feisty Nana Jo. The insufferable Maria claims she's descended from Russian royalty and even had a fling with King Edward VIII back in the day. She’s not just a lousy liar, she's a bad actress, so when she nabs the lead in the Shady Acres Senior Follies—a part Nana Jo plays every year in their retirement village production—Nana Jo blows a gasket and reads her the riot act in front of everyone. Of course, when Maria is silenced with a bullet to the head, Nana Jo lands the leading role on the suspects list. Sam’s been writing her newest mystery, set in England between the wars, with her intrepid heroine Lady Daphne drawn into murder and scandal in the household of Winston Churchill. But now she has to prove that Nana Jo’s been framed. With help from her grandmother's posse of rambunctious retirees, Sam shines a spotlight on Maria’s secrets, hoping to draw the real killer out of the shadows . . .


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Mystery bookstore owner Samantha Washington is trying to keep her grandmother from spending her golden years in an orange jumpsuit . . . The small town of North Harbor, Michigan, is just not big enough for the two of them: flamboyant phony Maria Romanov and feisty Nana Jo. The insufferable Maria claims she's descended from Russian royalty and even had a fling with King Edw Mystery bookstore owner Samantha Washington is trying to keep her grandmother from spending her golden years in an orange jumpsuit . . . The small town of North Harbor, Michigan, is just not big enough for the two of them: flamboyant phony Maria Romanov and feisty Nana Jo. The insufferable Maria claims she's descended from Russian royalty and even had a fling with King Edward VIII back in the day. She’s not just a lousy liar, she's a bad actress, so when she nabs the lead in the Shady Acres Senior Follies—a part Nana Jo plays every year in their retirement village production—Nana Jo blows a gasket and reads her the riot act in front of everyone. Of course, when Maria is silenced with a bullet to the head, Nana Jo lands the leading role on the suspects list. Sam’s been writing her newest mystery, set in England between the wars, with her intrepid heroine Lady Daphne drawn into murder and scandal in the household of Winston Churchill. But now she has to prove that Nana Jo’s been framed. With help from her grandmother's posse of rambunctious retirees, Sam shines a spotlight on Maria’s secrets, hoping to draw the real killer out of the shadows . . .

30 review for The Novel Art of Murder

  1. 5 out of 5

    LORI (Dollycas) CASWELL

    Dollycas’s Thoughts We are back in North Harbor, Michigan just in time for Samantha Washington’s Nana Jo to become a murder suspect. It seems her usual part in the Shady Acres Senior Follies has been given to Maria Romanov, a woman of questionable character. Said to be descended from Russian Royalty and a great actress, Nana Jo knows the woman is a phony. As soon as others hear her sing, they know it too. Nana Jo tries to take the woman to task publically so when Maria ends up dead, Nana Jo’s fat Dollycas’s Thoughts We are back in North Harbor, Michigan just in time for Samantha Washington’s Nana Jo to become a murder suspect. It seems her usual part in the Shady Acres Senior Follies has been given to Maria Romanov, a woman of questionable character. Said to be descended from Russian Royalty and a great actress, Nana Jo knows the woman is a phony. As soon as others hear her sing, they know it too. Nana Jo tries to take the woman to task publically so when Maria ends up dead, Nana Jo’s fate as a murder suspect is sealed. Not so fast, Sam is on the case. Using her current work in progress where Lady Daphne is in the middle of a murder in the home of Winston Churchill to settle her mind and draw parallels, she is sure to find who has framed her Nana. The crew from Shady Acres steps in to help too and soon real suspects are uncovered and clues start to fall into place. That’s Oreo and Snickers on the cover, Oreo looks nothing like my Oreo but I love the author’s choice of pet names. The expression of the dog in the back cracks me up every time I look at the cover. Okay, the cover is great, but the story/stories within are excellent. Ms. Burns gives us a present-day cozy mystery and her character Samantha Washington is an author and we get to read her latest work too. I love that we get two stories in each novel. It took some getting used to with the first book, but now with book 3, I hit the rhythm right away. I really enjoy how they work together. Full of colorful characters the story sets a nice pace. Intrigue with a big dose of humor keeps the pages turning and both stories had wonderful surprise endings. Some parts are truly laugh out loud funny. I loved this book and can’t wait for more! This is the first book of 2019 to receive my top Paradise rating and a place on my Best Reads of 2019 list. While the story can stand on its own I recommend starting at the beginning of the series for maximum enjoyment.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    The Novel Art of Murder was another wonderful installment in the Mystery Bookshop cozy series and I enjoyed it quite a bit. Every year mystery bookstore owner Samantha Washington's Nana Jo is cast in the leading role in the Shady Acres Senior Follies, the production from the local retirement village. But this year flamboyant Maria Romanov lands the role despite being a terrible actress causing Nana Jo to lay into her in front of everyone. When Maria turns up dead a few hours later, Nana Jo become The Novel Art of Murder was another wonderful installment in the Mystery Bookshop cozy series and I enjoyed it quite a bit. Every year mystery bookstore owner Samantha Washington's Nana Jo is cast in the leading role in the Shady Acres Senior Follies, the production from the local retirement village. But this year flamboyant Maria Romanov lands the role despite being a terrible actress causing Nana Jo to lay into her in front of everyone. When Maria turns up dead a few hours later, Nana Jo becomes the prime suspect much to Sam's dismay. Determined to prove her grandmother's innocence, Sam and Nana Jo's group of friends set out to uncover Maria's secrets including who would want to kill her. Sam is such an amazing main character that it makes it impossible not to like these books. She runs a successful business while pursuing her true passion with writing and she's such a genuine and caring person that you can't help but like her. I really enjoy her relationship with her grandmother as well as the mother-son type relationship she has with Dawson. In the last book, Read Herring Hunt, the possibility of a romance for Sam was introduced which is further explored in this book. While Sam is still grieving her husband, she is slowly exploring a relationship with Frank and I have to say I quite like the two of them together. The mystery in this book is very well done and I found myself eager to find out who the killer would end up being. I liked that Sam paralleled the book she's writing with real life events as that made things a bit more interesting as Sam explored her theories through her writing. Once again Nana Jo's group of friends return to help clear her name and I loved seeing these ladies again. Their friendship is wonderful and I like how each lady brings her own set of skills to the investigation. I was a bit surprised by the killer's identity as I had someone else in mind, but I will say I enjoyed the reveal and thought it was cleverly done. The Novel Art of Murder has definitely solidified the Mystery Bookshop series as one of my favorite cozy mystery series and I highly recommend this for new and old fans of the genre. **I received an advance copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**

  3. 5 out of 5

    Miss W Book Reviews

    The Novel Art of Murder is Book 3 in the Mystery Bookshop Series. Firstly, I LOVE BOOKS ABOUT BOOKS! I also really enjoy the senior citizen characters who have not only one, but two murders on their hands to solve at Shady Acres. The mystery is so well done, with a murderer I did not see coming. I really enjoy the Mystery Bookshop Series with such likeable characters and a great plot. This is a stand alone story, but the first two books are equally as fantastic, so go read those TOO!!!

  4. 5 out of 5

    JoAn

    The Novel Art of Murder by V.M. Burns is book three in her Mystery Bookshop series and captured my attention from the first page. I confess that I love this series and am always excited when another book is ready for release. Ms. Burns' writing is descriptive and her characters are realistic, likable and quirky which adds to the fun as I read. I am also a fan of historical cozy mysteries so I get two for one with this series. The plot moved quickly with plenty twists, clues and red herrings to kee The Novel Art of Murder by V.M. Burns is book three in her Mystery Bookshop series and captured my attention from the first page. I confess that I love this series and am always excited when another book is ready for release. Ms. Burns' writing is descriptive and her characters are realistic, likable and quirky which adds to the fun as I read. I am also a fan of historical cozy mysteries so I get two for one with this series. The plot moved quickly with plenty twists, clues and red herrings to keep me guessing and turning the pages. The suspects were a devious lot that kept Sam, Nana Jo and the rest of the Sleuthing Seniors Book Club working hard to ferret out their history. I do love Nana Jo's friends and truly wish I could meet them and spend some quality time with them. I confess that I caught on to who the killer might be before Sam did this time and was quite elated when I was proved right. I almost never figure it out before the reveal. I'm looking forward to the next book in this series. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from Kensington via NetGalley. All of the above opinions are my own.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Peggy R

    This is the third book in a fun series that I would highly recommend. The writing is descriptive and flows nicely. The characters are intelligent, diverse and a bit quirky. What I really like most about the characters is that many of the secondary characters are all friends from the Shady Acres retirement facility. The author does a terrific job of depicting these ladies as funny, vibrant, intelligent and still with purpose. They have life experience and it comes in handy when there is a murder This is the third book in a fun series that I would highly recommend. The writing is descriptive and flows nicely. The characters are intelligent, diverse and a bit quirky. What I really like most about the characters is that many of the secondary characters are all friends from the Shady Acres retirement facility. The author does a terrific job of depicting these ladies as funny, vibrant, intelligent and still with purpose. They have life experience and it comes in handy when there is a murder to solve. The mystery flows nicely through the entire story. Nana Jo is in need of help this time as she is the prime suspect in her rival's murder. There are plenty of suspects and motives to keep the reader guessing if there is one killer or two. The clues are peppered throughout the story and I like how the author will often tie in how the mystery in Sam's book helps solve the main mystery. This book is scheduled for release November 27th. I voluntarily read a digital ARC provided to me by the publisher, Kensington, through Netgalley.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tari

    This series was SO good to begin with, but if you can believe it, it keeps getting better! This one had all the senior sleuth friends playing fairly equal parts, along with a new retired judge friend. When a murder at Nana Jo's retirement community points to none other than Nana Jo herself, Sam had more than a vested interest in solving this case. She even appealed to Det. "Stinky" Pitt that if they worked together and shared information, she could guarantee him the killer before Thanksgiving. H This series was SO good to begin with, but if you can believe it, it keeps getting better! This one had all the senior sleuth friends playing fairly equal parts, along with a new retired judge friend. When a murder at Nana Jo's retirement community points to none other than Nana Jo herself, Sam had more than a vested interest in solving this case. She even appealed to Det. "Stinky" Pitt that if they worked together and shared information, she could guarantee him the killer before Thanksgiving. He grudgingly tried to go along with that. I just love when the sleuths all gather at the bookshop or Frank's restaurant to talk about the case. They each have their assignments, and these tech-smart seniors are forces to reckon with. I liked that Judge Miller was in on it more this time. I'm sure he was consulting on other books (it's so hard to remember details lol) but it was fun to get to know him a little better. After another murder at the retirement village, the sleuths really had their hands full and Sam's brain was working overtime. The showdown was absolutely awesome! It was funny to picture it and let's just say the perp probably never knew what him them! There's an excerpt in the back of this book for the next book, and I'll be reading that excerpt quickly after I leave my reviews and before I dig into the next book I want to read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Robbins

    *I received a free copy of this book which I voluntarily chose to write an honest review for. As the third installment to this adorable series we are familiar with the characters and if you have not read the other two that is okay too as they each come to life all on their own as the story progresses showing their distinct personalities which are hoot to say the least. We have a fairly recent widow surrounded by a group of seniors that are very busy in their day to day lives at their community wh *I received a free copy of this book which I voluntarily chose to write an honest review for. As the third installment to this adorable series we are familiar with the characters and if you have not read the other two that is okay too as they each come to life all on their own as the story progresses showing their distinct personalities which are hoot to say the least. We have a fairly recent widow surrounded by a group of seniors that are very busy in their day to day lives at their community which seems to offer all kinds of things to keep them busy. Unfortunately murder just happens to pop up as well with Samantha's grandma the main suspect so they all get involved depending on where their skills are used best to figure it all out. Add in the charming book store, the cute poodles, and the little town to create a literary cozy that fans can really enjoy. Lots of little twists and turns to keep you guessing wrapped around enough charm to really draw the reader in. Perfect for fans of literary cozies especially since we get a entire second story for free as the Sam writes to relax her mind. I really liked it so I give it 4/5 stars.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    This is the third book in the series, and my favourite so far! The main character is also a writer, so there is a bonus in that there are two mysteries to solve within the book, which is a bonus and not a distraction from either story. The mysteries were well written and kept me guessing! I especially enjoy the senior citizens, who were written as smart, full of life and entertaining. I look forward to reading the next in the series. I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kirsti

    Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the chance to read this book! I have an odd relationship with this series, because while I enjoy the antics that Samantha and Nana Jo get up to, I could do without the Regency mystery that is told alongside the main story. I mean, I get WHY it's there, but I don't have to like it as much. I feel like it's too simple or something, I just don't know. But I did like the mystery of the two murders, and I like the dynamics developing with all of the interes Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the chance to read this book! I have an odd relationship with this series, because while I enjoy the antics that Samantha and Nana Jo get up to, I could do without the Regency mystery that is told alongside the main story. I mean, I get WHY it's there, but I don't have to like it as much. I feel like it's too simple or something, I just don't know. But I did like the mystery of the two murders, and I like the dynamics developing with all of the interesting side characters, especially the oddness that is Stinky Pitt xD Plenty of food references too; this book makes me hungry! Of course the mystery is solved and neatly wrapped up in the end, and there is a teaser chapter for the next book which I didn't read (not a fan of teaser chapters, I never read them) A fun series, four stars!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Patty

    The Novel Art of Murder by V. M. Burns is the 3rd book in the Mystery Bookshop series, and it is becoming one of my favorites. Samantha Washington owns Market Street Mysteries bookstore in North Harbor, Michigan. Nana Jo always plays the lead in the Shady Acres Senior Follies, but this year Maria Romanov gets the part. After a loud fight between Nana Jo and Maria, Maria is found dead and Nana Joe is the prime suspect. Sam is determined to find the real killer, and the sleuthing begins. This book The Novel Art of Murder by V. M. Burns is the 3rd book in the Mystery Bookshop series, and it is becoming one of my favorites. Samantha Washington owns Market Street Mysteries bookstore in North Harbor, Michigan. Nana Jo always plays the lead in the Shady Acres Senior Follies, but this year Maria Romanov gets the part. After a loud fight between Nana Jo and Maria, Maria is found dead and Nana Joe is the prime suspect. Sam is determined to find the real killer, and the sleuthing begins. This book was great. It has so many twists and turns. The author did an excellent job, I was hooked from the start. I am looking forward to the next book in the series. I would definitely recommend this book. I received an ARC copy of this book from the author for an honest review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Morin

    The Novel Art of Murder is a fun and colorful addition to the series. I immediately connected with the characters and this story kept me engaged from beginning to end. The story was well told and provided plenty of twists and turns to keep me guessing. I volunteered to read and review an ARC of this book provided by the publisher and NetGalley.

  12. 4 out of 5

    RO G'ma

    The Novel Art of Murder is the third in V. M. Burns’ Mystery Bookshop series. This is an entertaining read with a great cast of characters and an interesting mystery. The storyline is well plotted and flows at a steady pace, with situations where I found myself laughing out loud, and lots of twists, clues, and red herrings to keep me guessing. The well-developed characters are likable, diverse, fun, although somewhat quirky, and the main character is writing a mystery book that is included withi The Novel Art of Murder is the third in V. M. Burns’ Mystery Bookshop series. This is an entertaining read with a great cast of characters and an interesting mystery. The storyline is well plotted and flows at a steady pace, with situations where I found myself laughing out loud, and lots of twists, clues, and red herrings to keep me guessing. The well-developed characters are likable, diverse, fun, although somewhat quirky, and the main character is writing a mystery book that is included within the storyline and provides a second mystery and clues that often help solve the main mystery. Samantha “Sam” Washington is the owner of the Market Street Mysteries Bookstore in North Harbor, Michigan. After the death of her husband, Sam sold their home, purchased a building, quit her teaching job, and opened a mystery bookstore. Sam, an aspiring author who’s writing a British historical cozy mystery, lives in an apartment above the bookstore along with her two aging poodles, Oreo and Snickers, and is dating Frank Patterson, the proprietor of North Harbor Café. Her grandmother, Nana Jo, owns a home in Shady Acres Retirement Village. Sam’s mother makes a shocking announcement to her family. Michigan Southwest University’s star quarterback, Dawson Alexander, is Sam’s assistant, lives in the apartment above her garage, and bakes delicious treats for the bookstore. Nana Jo is devastated when a new resident, Maria Romanov, beats her out of the lead role in the Shady Acres Senior Follies not only because she’d portrayed Eudora Hooper for the past ten years, but also because Maria had no talent. When Maria is found murdered in her locked apartment, Nana Jo becomes Detective Brad Pitt’s prime suspect because they had a big argument and she was overheard threatening Maria. Sam joins her feisty grandmother and her retirement village friends, Judge Ben Miller, and Frank to clear Nana Jo before the incompetent detective arrests her, and Sam makes a deal with Detective Pitt to share information they discover. When another resident, Magnus von Braun, is found dead in his apartment, Sam wonders if the two incidents are connected. Sam often turns to her writing to help her think and discovers her writing often parallels the real-life mysteries she’s trying to solve. I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Schmidt (Reading is My SuperPower)

    This is my first book by V.M. Burns and it won’t be my last! While this is the third in the series, it can easily be read as a standalone – but I’m totally going to go back and read the first two books at my earliest opportunity. Samantha “Sam” is a great heroine, someone you’d like to have as a friend for sure. Not only does she run a successful mystery bookstore but she also gets to carry out her dream of writing. I loved how Sam uses the events in the story we’re reading to parallel things in This is my first book by V.M. Burns and it won’t be my last! While this is the third in the series, it can easily be read as a standalone – but I’m totally going to go back and read the first two books at my earliest opportunity. Samantha “Sam” is a great heroine, someone you’d like to have as a friend for sure. Not only does she run a successful mystery bookstore but she also gets to carry out her dream of writing. I loved how Sam uses the events in the story we’re reading to parallel things in the story she’s writing, a story within a story of sorts. And of course there’s the ladies of the Shady Acres retirement village, including Sam’s Nana Jo who is cast every year in the leading role of the Shady Acres Senior Follies. Therein lies the problem – and the murder – this year, and Sam needs the help of the other ladies at Shady Acres to keep her Nana Jo from being arrested. Enter a bevy of delightful, quirky, and diverse characters who are full of life and intelligence and wit. I loved these secondary characters and can’t wait for another chance to visit with them. Bottom Line: A well-written cozy mystery with charm and heart, The Novel Art of Murder is a truly enjoyable read from start to finish. The murder case itself was nicely-plotted and kept me guessing until the big reveal, and the dash of romance of course had my full attention. Vividly-drawn characters represent a mix of ages and race, and each had a role to play. Looking forward to more from this author and series! (I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book) first seen at Reading Is My SuperPower

  14. 5 out of 5

    Reading Reindeer 2021 On Proxima Centauri

    First of all, this cover is adorable! I love how the artist personalized the two poodles, and made them very different in character. Wonderfully illustrated! Second, it's wonderful to read how strongly these ladies are connected. Samantha Winston, bookstore owner and widow; her grandmother Nano Jo; and the friends of Nana Jo's who all live at the retirement complex; plus Nana Jo's retired police officer boyfriend and Sam's new boyfriend with the mysterious past (possibly covert government agency First of all, this cover is adorable! I love how the artist personalized the two poodles, and made them very different in character. Wonderfully illustrated! Second, it's wonderful to read how strongly these ladies are connected. Samantha Winston, bookstore owner and widow; her grandmother Nano Jo; and the friends of Nana Jo's who all live at the retirement complex; plus Nana Jo's retired police officer boyfriend and Sam's new boyfriend with the mysterious past (possibly covert government agency), are all "fun" characters, whom the author draws very realistically. All are strongly united friends, mostly unselfish, devoted to each other. The book is so encouraging in that way, as is the group's diligence at ferreting out a murderer, and the contrast with the admittedly bumbling police detective, "Stinky" Pitt. I highly recommend this series.

  15. 5 out of 5

    VaLinda Miller

    This is the third book in the series about widower Samantha, who owns a mystery bookstore while solving murders. You know why I really love this book, it's by an African American woman author, it's about a bookstore owner, the grandmother, who knows how to use a gun and can do karate, with her very intelligent and funny retirement friends, show you how a real murder is solved and it doesn’t matter the age. Agatha Christie would be proud. It's funny and you don't have cute until way later in the This is the third book in the series about widower Samantha, who owns a mystery bookstore while solving murders. You know why I really love this book, it's by an African American woman author, it's about a bookstore owner, the grandmother, who knows how to use a gun and can do karate, with her very intelligent and funny retirement friends, show you how a real murder is solved and it doesn’t matter the age. Agatha Christie would be proud. It's funny and you don't have cute until way later in the book who the killer is.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kelsey

    This is the third book in the series, and it is just as sweet and entertaining as the previous two! I cannot recommend this series enough. It is a light-hearted, funny, clever, and well-written series with fantastically quirky characters. How many series have senior citizens as the main hero? If you haven't read these books I would highly recommend them for a cozy weekend read. This is the third book in the series, and it is just as sweet and entertaining as the previous two! I cannot recommend this series enough. It is a light-hearted, funny, clever, and well-written series with fantastically quirky characters. How many series have senior citizens as the main hero? If you haven't read these books I would highly recommend them for a cozy weekend read.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nora-adrienne

    It's a cute story whose characters remind me of some of my older relatives then they were still around. It's a cute story whose characters remind me of some of my older relatives then they were still around.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Janet Graham

    Cozy Mystery Within a Mystery This is another episode in the Mystery Bookshop series. The book is actually a mystery inside a mystery. Our heroine is attempting to solve a real-life crime while she is also writing a murder mystery. As readers, we get to enjoy 2 developing stories and solve 2 mysteries. It is such fun! The plot is tight with plenty of suspects and motives in both stories. All of the characters are well developed. This is the first of this series that I have read and it makes me wa Cozy Mystery Within a Mystery This is another episode in the Mystery Bookshop series. The book is actually a mystery inside a mystery. Our heroine is attempting to solve a real-life crime while she is also writing a murder mystery. As readers, we get to enjoy 2 developing stories and solve 2 mysteries. It is such fun! The plot is tight with plenty of suspects and motives in both stories. All of the characters are well developed. This is the first of this series that I have read and it makes me want more! I will be reading all of this author's work that I can. I received this ARC book for free and this is my honest review.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Robin Rider

    #65 I love books about books, bookstores, in other words, all things tomes and The Novel Art of Murder by V. M. Burns certainly fills the bill. Part of the Mystery Bookshop series, this cozy includes a cast of endearing senior citizens who must solve not one, but two murders at Shady Acres. The information about Operation Paperclip was fascinating. Release date November 27.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bobbie Kirkland

    I received a free copy of THE NOVEL ART OF MURDER (Book 3 of the Mystery Bookshop Mysteries) by V.M. Burns in exchange for an honest review. Samantha Washington is close to her grandmother and her grandmother’s friends. When a woman her grandmother recently argued with and threatened is murdered in a locked room, Nana Jo is the primary suspect. Sam is able to cut a deal with the detective; she’ll find the murderer by Thanksgiving and give him the credit, or he can arrest her grandmother. When on I received a free copy of THE NOVEL ART OF MURDER (Book 3 of the Mystery Bookshop Mysteries) by V.M. Burns in exchange for an honest review. Samantha Washington is close to her grandmother and her grandmother’s friends. When a woman her grandmother recently argued with and threatened is murdered in a locked room, Nana Jo is the primary suspect. Sam is able to cut a deal with the detective; she’ll find the murderer by Thanksgiving and give him the credit, or he can arrest her grandmother. When one of Nana Jo’s friends is present during the poisoning of another retirement home resident, Sam has to figure out how the homicides are linked. Through it all, Sam takes the time to write a World War II era murder mystery of her own. I haven’t read the other books in the series, so I don’t think I had the connection to the characters I could have had. Over all, this story was pretty entertaining. You get the bonus of two mystery books for the price of one. #TheNovelArtOfMurder #NetGalley

  21. 5 out of 5

    Fred

    A Novel Art Of Murder is the third book in the A Mystery Bookshop Mystery series. I enjoyed another visit with Samantha(Sam), her grandmother Nana-Jo, and Nana-Jo’s “posse” from the retirement community. Nana-Jo is mad enough to spit nails as this story starts. Nana-Jo has played the lead in the Shady Acres Senior Follies for the last ten years. But this year the lead role has been given to Maria Romanov. Nana-Jo and her posse just don’t understand, as Maria can’t carry a tune in a bushel basket. A Novel Art Of Murder is the third book in the A Mystery Bookshop Mystery series. I enjoyed another visit with Samantha(Sam), her grandmother Nana-Jo, and Nana-Jo’s “posse” from the retirement community. Nana-Jo is mad enough to spit nails as this story starts. Nana-Jo has played the lead in the Shady Acres Senior Follies for the last ten years. But this year the lead role has been given to Maria Romanov. Nana-Jo and her posse just don’t understand, as Maria can’t carry a tune in a bushel basket. This causes a very loud argument between Nana-Jo and Maria in front of several witnesses. Then when Maria is found dead from a gunshot, Nana-Jo becomes a prime suspect. Sam and Nana-Jo and their friends begin to investigate to clear Nana-Jo’s name. Then, when Irma finds Magnus von Braun, another resident, is found dead in his apartment from an apparent poisoning, Sam begins to wonder if there might be more than one killer. They now set off to learn if there is anything to tie each other to a single killer or not. Sam is an aspiring author and has finished a couple manuscripts and has found that turning to write her next book helps her to find the answers to the actual mysteries that are being faced in the real world. This book within a book deals with Winston Churchill who is hosting a house party at his home, Chartwell House. I feel this book is well-written and plotted and a very interesting cast of characters. It also has enough red herrings and twist and turns to keep me guessing till the exciting ending. I also enjoy having a story within a story. I will definitely be watching for the next book in this interesting series.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    The Novel Art of Murder (Mystery Bookshop, #3) by V.M. Burns. This is the 3rd in this series and my 3rd. Nana Jo is furious to put it lightly that she wasn't given her usual role in the Shady Acres Senior follies. A role that was tailor-made for her and which she has had for the past several years. Her role has been given to a total stranger, someone from who knows where. Maria Romanov was outrageous and gaudy to boot. Her acting skills didn't exist as Nana Jo watched from the audience and Maria' The Novel Art of Murder (Mystery Bookshop, #3) by V.M. Burns. This is the 3rd in this series and my 3rd. Nana Jo is furious to put it lightly that she wasn't given her usual role in the Shady Acres Senior follies. A role that was tailor-made for her and which she has had for the past several years. Her role has been given to a total stranger, someone from who knows where. Maria Romanov was outrageous and gaudy to boot. Her acting skills didn't exist as Nana Jo watched from the audience and Maria's clothes were depressingly hideous. No one seemed able to calm Nana Jo down. Maria's claim to be descended from royalty adds to her long list of lies. Maria is found with a bullet to her head which points towards Nana Jo as her killer. Detective Pitt puts Nana Jo with the means, motive and opportunity to be named the #1 suspect in this murder. Now it's up to Sam to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Nana Jo is innocent of all charges. This is just the beginning of this mystery. Along the way, another murder takes place inside Shady Acres Nursing Home. Is that murder connected to Maria's murder? Who among the residents could have known both these victims? Samantha keeps her nerves intact by writing her own novel. She finds that her novel basically parallels the goings-on in reality. I became more interested in this novel within a novel than I had been before. Well researched with historical facts during Winston Churchill's era made it all the more engrossing. Highly recommended.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jeanie Jackson

    I adore the characters in this series and The Novel Art of Murder. Ms. Burns does a beautiful job of allow even the secondary characters to shine. The bookshop workers and their friends are the stars of the book even though none of them are the primary suspect this time. In fact, things at the bookshop are going great but the same can't be said for the retirement village our favorite seniors live in. History from as far back as World War II and as recent as the last decade come into play when a I adore the characters in this series and The Novel Art of Murder. Ms. Burns does a beautiful job of allow even the secondary characters to shine. The bookshop workers and their friends are the stars of the book even though none of them are the primary suspect this time. In fact, things at the bookshop are going great but the same can't be said for the retirement village our favorite seniors live in. History from as far back as World War II and as recent as the last decade come into play when a recent addition to the retirement condos is found dead in her room. The complexity of the background was fascinating but I was a bit disappointed that the murderer seemed too obvious. Since I read the book as an ARC there could be changes, and I can't wait to read the final product to see if that has happened. Of course, the person I think is most obvious usually isn't and other readers often have different ideas. The possible motives and intertwined characters still kept me hooked to the main mystery as much as the wonderful characters. As has been the norm, the historical romance that Sam is writing has parallels that help her work through the real mystery as well as the newest book in the series that she is writing. I love that we get two whole mysteries rather than just snippets of Sam's work.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Some series start to fade a bit by book three but this series just keeps getting better. Sam and her grandmother, Nana Jo are two people I would love to have as family. Add to that Sam's bookstore and the books she writes, well, I just want to climb into the book and stay there. I read this one on a rainy afternoon, sitting in my comfy chair with a big mug of tea - pure bliss. This time Nana Jo is the prime suspect when somebody else takes center stage with the leading role in the Shady Acres Sen Some series start to fade a bit by book three but this series just keeps getting better. Sam and her grandmother, Nana Jo are two people I would love to have as family. Add to that Sam's bookstore and the books she writes, well, I just want to climb into the book and stay there. I read this one on a rainy afternoon, sitting in my comfy chair with a big mug of tea - pure bliss. This time Nana Jo is the prime suspect when somebody else takes center stage with the leading role in the Shady Acres Senior Follies. (How can I get a front row seat?) Nana Jo more than a little blows a gasket and, in front of witnesses, tells Maria what she really feels about it. Oops, not good as Maria is later found very dead and fingers all point to Nana Jo. Turns out she wasn't the only one with a motive for murder. Maria was known to play around with the truth and there are some secrets in her life to dig up. Sam had better start digging fast to keep Nana Jo out of the slammer. I would encourage a reader new to this series to read them in order to get the most out of each one but, if this is already within your reach, grab it and settle down to a very well crafted mystery. Then go get the previous ones. I'm already for book #4. My thanks to the publisher Kensington and to NetGalley for giving me an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    V.M. Burns' The Novel Art of Murder is the 3rd charming book in her Mystery Bookshop series about widow Samantha Washington, her grandmother, and Nana Jo's band of senior sleuths. Murder hits a little too close to home for Sam when Nana Jo is a suspect in the untimely death of a resident in her retirement community. Poison, blackmail, Nazis, and priceless stolen artwork all feature in this very cozy mystery, and Ms. Burns has once again included snippets of the delightful English cozy that Sam i V.M. Burns' The Novel Art of Murder is the 3rd charming book in her Mystery Bookshop series about widow Samantha Washington, her grandmother, and Nana Jo's band of senior sleuths. Murder hits a little too close to home for Sam when Nana Jo is a suspect in the untimely death of a resident in her retirement community. Poison, blackmail, Nazis, and priceless stolen artwork all feature in this very cozy mystery, and Ms. Burns has once again included snippets of the delightful English cozy that Sam is writing (a mystery on its own!!!) for an added bonus. I love, love, love this series and highly recommend it! 5 stars!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    In, The Novel Art of Murder, book 3, we welcome back Sam (Samantha) Wainwright along with her Nana Jo and a remarkable cast of characters, mostly Nana Jo’s senior posse, from the previous books. I really admire these characters and have fallen in love with them. I am beginning to feel as if they are a part of my family, and I cannot wait to hear from them again. In this story, Sam must try to save her Nana Jo from being taken in as a murderer. Each year Nana Jo has a lead in the Senior Community’ In, The Novel Art of Murder, book 3, we welcome back Sam (Samantha) Wainwright along with her Nana Jo and a remarkable cast of characters, mostly Nana Jo’s senior posse, from the previous books. I really admire these characters and have fallen in love with them. I am beginning to feel as if they are a part of my family, and I cannot wait to hear from them again. In this story, Sam must try to save her Nana Jo from being taken in as a murderer. Each year Nana Jo has a lead in the Senior Community’s play – until this year. When another person is given the lead – one who Nana Jo dislikes immensely, she sure as heck lets her know! When the actress turns up dead, Nana Jo is suspected of the crime. Sam and Nana Jo’s group of energetic seniors, along with the help of family and friends race to find who murdered this woman and the many secrets behind her life. One of the many reasons I enjoy this series so much is that Sam, also writes British cozy mysteries while running a mystery bookshop. There is a cozy mystery within a cozy mystery. Ms. Burns achieves the perfect balance as she incorporates the two mysteries within the one book. As a talented author, and storyteller, I look forward too many more books from this lovely lady!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Amanie Johal

    Aaaaaah I'm so torn! On one hand, I'm loving the mystery side of this novel, and am even enjoying the book-within-the-book as well. On the other, this is the second book in a row where the victim (Maria) was some "floozy" that Nana Jo and the crew could slut-shame! I'd understand it if they were all uppity, conservative old women who can't get with the times (I wouldn't agree with it, but at least it would make sense), but they're mostly sexually liberated old women with active sex lives who judge Aaaaaah I'm so torn! On one hand, I'm loving the mystery side of this novel, and am even enjoying the book-within-the-book as well. On the other, this is the second book in a row where the victim (Maria) was some "floozy" that Nana Jo and the crew could slut-shame! I'd understand it if they were all uppity, conservative old women who can't get with the times (I wouldn't agree with it, but at least it would make sense), but they're mostly sexually liberated old women with active sex lives who judge other women for the same choices if they're not "good" (ie. likable) women. I keep thinking of all my "feminist" high school classmates who routinely slut-shamed fellow students, yet I'm reading about octogenarians and these books were released AFTER I graduated high school! I've briefly read through the reviews for the next book (Wed, Read & Dead) and I'm unsure if the pattern is broken; it seems like the victim is once again an unlikable woman, but I couldn't find anyone referencing any slut-shaming (though, I couldn't find any reviews mentioning it for this book either, so I'm not holding my breath). Regardless, I probably need a bit of space in between these books. Luckily, that decision has been made for me because my library only had the first three books stocked; I'll likely pick the next one up, but it's dependent on when the library gets it in. For now, I'm gonna have to put a pause on this series, and that's probably for the best!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Angel White

    Nana Jo finds herself in hot water as a rival actress in the Shady Acres Senior Follies ends up dead. Nana Jo was seen and heard arguing and threatening this rival and she soon becomes the primary suspect. Soon after, another resident of Shady Acres ends up dead and it looks like the murders are connected. With Detective Pitt on the prowl to make an arrest it looks like Sam and the Sleuthing Senior Book Club have their work cut out for them. Can they save Nana Jo in time? This is such a fun series. Nana Jo finds herself in hot water as a rival actress in the Shady Acres Senior Follies ends up dead. Nana Jo was seen and heard arguing and threatening this rival and she soon becomes the primary suspect. Soon after, another resident of Shady Acres ends up dead and it looks like the murders are connected. With Detective Pitt on the prowl to make an arrest it looks like Sam and the Sleuthing Senior Book Club have their work cut out for them. Can they save Nana Jo in time? This is such a fun series. It has everything a cozy lover could want with the added bonus of a mystery within a mystery. I really enjoy the short British cozies that pop up during these books. I love all the characters and the setting.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Samantha Hamilton enjoys running her mystery bookstore, with the help of her grandmother, Nana Jo. But when Jo is suspected of murdering one of her fellow residents at the senior living center, Sam and the posse of Nana Jo's friends must leap into action. Sam is also worried about her mother, who wants to remarry a man her family hasn't met, and is also occupied in writing another historical detective story set in England in the 1930's, chapters of which appear in the text. A romantic interest i Samantha Hamilton enjoys running her mystery bookstore, with the help of her grandmother, Nana Jo. But when Jo is suspected of murdering one of her fellow residents at the senior living center, Sam and the posse of Nana Jo's friends must leap into action. Sam is also worried about her mother, who wants to remarry a man her family hasn't met, and is also occupied in writing another historical detective story set in England in the 1930's, chapters of which appear in the text. A romantic interest is a change for the widowed Sam, who also befriends a number of college students. This is an enjoyable series.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Audra

    Maybe it's because I have been reading the books in this series one right after the other, but I began to get bored with the book and the characters. Again, too many expository dumps. Not sure if I'll read the last one. Maybe it's because I have been reading the books in this series one right after the other, but I began to get bored with the book and the characters. Again, too many expository dumps. Not sure if I'll read the last one.

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