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Guidebook to Murder

(Tourist Trap Mysteries #1)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  4,242 ratings  ·  600 reviews
In the gentle coastal town of South Cove, California, all Jill Gardner wants is to keep her store—Coffee, Books, and More—open and running. So why is she caught up in the business of murder?

When Jill's elderly friend, Miss Emily, calls in a fit of pique, she already knows the city council is trying to force Emily to sell her dilapidated old house. But Emily's gumption goes
Paperback, 228 pages
Published April 1st 2014 by Kensington Publishing Corporation
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Average rating 3.79  · 
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 ·  4,242 ratings  ·  600 reviews

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Mar 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Jill Gardner has left behind the fast paced life as a lawyer and a marriage gone south to settle South Cove, California and open a book store Coffee, Books, and More. Things maybe slow at the shop but they are peaceful until, a sudden call from her dear friend, Miss Emily, things quickly go downhill. Miss Emily is receiving threats to kick her out of her home, Jill thinking to find out more about this and check on her friend find herself in devastated when she finds her friend dead. Dealing wit
Dec 17, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some things I found a bit too implausible, the romance passages were a bit weird sometimes, and some of the end parts were rushed but despite all that I still enjoyed reading this. It did have me gripping the pages at certain points too.

The mystery seemed secondary to the town and characters in the story. Loved Aunt Jackie and Jill but felt everyone else could have been fleshed out a bit more (Well, aside from Sabrina.. she was a piece of work).

Not a bad start to the series but dunno if I'll be
Sep 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good start to a cozy series that takes place in a cute little town where nothing ever happens outside of the normal. When Jill, a gal in her thirties, decides to run away from the big city and big career, she eventually lands in South Cove where she feels at home from the first day she arrives. Miss Emily, an older resident, befriends her and their relationship blossoms into a a very strong mother daughter type of bond.

Upon a call from Miss Emily concerning a legal matter, Jill decides to go
The setting and premise of this cozy mystery were appealing - a bookstore/coffeeshop an hour or so from San Francisco, and a heroine who has escaped hectic city life after a divorce. The premise held up - evil developers pursuing and maybe murdering locals to do their dirty deeds and make loads of money.

Many cozy heroines have love interests. But the writing of these scenes read more like parts of a bodice ripper which I found very annoying. It made the book seem as though it couldn't decide wh
Mar 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good first book in the series. I liked the California coast town setting and the characters were likeable too. The mystery was good and kept me guessing. The ending seemed kind of rushed and may be could have just benefited from the last scene being set up as an epilogue instead of a continuation of the last chapter.
Mar 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a most excellent 5 star read! review to come...:)

guidebook to murder: a tourist trap mystery:
I knew right away I was going to like this book. What a hoot. I don't take notes while reading, that would so wreck the book buzz I get but, upon reflecting for the book review I could not stop chuckling!
Jill Gardner, owner of Coffee, Books and More in the small town of South Cove, California is just like all the rest of us, she is plagued with self doubt, yet strong and tuff when she needs to be. She f
Apr 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the quiet coastal town of South Cove in California, Jill Sanders sets up her shop “Coffee, Books, and More”. Jill loves to read and wants nothing more than to make the shop a success. Things turn out to be not so quiet when she gets a desperate phone call from her elderly friend Miss Emily. It seems the town council is issuing her ultimatums to get her old house in shape or else. Miss Emily seeks out Jill’s assistance, but when Jill arrives, she finds her friend dead. The police are sure it w ...more
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2018
I broke my own rules with this author -my rule is never to buy a whole or even a part of a series no matter how cheap it is UNTIL I've read the first book. Well, I must have had a major brain fart because I now own this entire series except book 2 -and the first book pretty much sucked.

There were too many inconsistencies that I just couldn't overlook, too many red herrings, too many characters for a first book in a series, impossible plot points, unfortunate policing, and the main character acts
Melissa Borsey
May 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book from beginning to end. I can’t wait to read more books in this series.
Lark of The Bookwyrm's Hoard
Review originally published at The Bookwyrm's Hoard.

Guidebook to Murder takes the well-known "unexpected inheritance" plot and gives it almost too many twists in the form of additional "treasures," a mayor and developer intent on condemning Jill's new house to put up condos, and several other possible claimants to Miss Emily's estate. Throw in an attractive but possibly married police detective, a series of threats, a sudden disappearance, and tensions around Jill's coffee shop and bookstore
Judy D Collins
A special thank you to Kensington Books and NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

A wonderful series to curl up with on a rainy afternoon. A light and entertaining read--Think small business, quaint town, shops, espresso, bookstore, cafe, coffee, galleries, inns, and a good cozy mystery which GUIDEBOOK TO MURDER offered; full of lovable (and not so likable) characters and friends in this small South Cove, CA tourist town.

Jill, a former lawyer has inherited Miss Emily’
Dec 10, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The description of this book is what made me pick it up to read it...I mean, what could be better than a book about a book store, coffee, and murder?
There were many things I liked about the story:
- I did not figure out who did it even though I was convinced I knew the answer.
- It was a quick read.
- I wasn't bored...there were enough elements to keep it interesting.
- The characters were not over developed...just enough information to flesh them out.
So why only 2 stars?? If there is one thing that
Mar 29, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of cozy murder mysteries.
When Jill Gardner moved to South Cove, CA she was looking for a fresh start after her divorce and a quiet life running a café / bookshop. But then one of her close friends, Miss Emily tells her the council and a developer are trying to bully her into selling out and shortly thereafter she turns up dead. Jill knows there is something hokey going on and convinces the town's detective to investigate.
Adding to her woes, Miss Emily left everything to her except the family bible which she left to her
Chatting About
Feb 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mystery
Jill Gardner owns Coffee, Books, and More in the city of South Cove, CA. When Jill moves to the California coast, she meets and becomes close friends with a sweet, elderly lady, Miss Emily. Miss Emily has no one to look out for her, and she becomes like a mother to Jill as their friendship flourishes. When Jill finds Miss Emily dead in her bed, grief hits her hard. Did Miss Emily simply die of old age, or did something sinister happen to her?

Jill's friend, Amy, works for Mayor Baylor, who's a me
South Cove California is a tourist stop along the coast. Jill Gardner owns Coffee, Books, and More and she just wants to make enough to keep the business open. She is relatively new to the town. It was meeting Miss Emily one day that convinced her to move to South Cove. Miss Emily is an elderly woman who has had a bunch of businesses crop up around her home. Her house needs a lot of work but when she receives a letter telling her the town council is going to condemn her home or force he to sell ...more
Made it to 50% before deciding to give up. It probably would have been mildly decent if the main character Jill didn't spend most of her time swooning over the police chief who she thinks is married. It's bad enough that she won't stop thinking about how cute he is and his buff physique and how much she has a crush on him but it's worse since she thinks he's married. (I'm guessing he's divorced but I never got far enough to find out.) She also "waxes poetic" over one of the possible antagonists. ...more
Jenni Schell
Feb 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-books
This is the kind of book that I love. It had everything that I look for; a great plot, a wonderful mystery, an amazing heroin, a murder that I didn't figure out, and topped of with a hint of romance. This is a fantastic read.
Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
After settling down in South Cove, Jill Gardner is spending her days running her shop and enjoying the town she fell in love with enough to restart her life in. Things are going well until Miss Emily passes away. In her heart, Jill immediately knows it was murder because Emily’s derelict house was sitting on an extremely profitable piece of land. When it turns out Emily left everything to her name to Jill, poor Jill finds herself trying to solve a murder before she becomes the next victim.

I real
Prince William Public Libraries
Guidebook to Murder delivers exactly what readers of cozy mysteries expect: a lightly themed, not too gruesome murder mystery set in a small town with a dash of romance. The story isn't unusual or particularly inventive, but it's not boring, either. Many of the plot elements are typical of cozy mysteries (flexible job that allows time to investigate, outspoken BFF, romantic tension, savings fund / inheritance that means the main character doesn't have to worry too much about making money), but C ...more
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
I am a dyed-in-the-wool horror, and science fiction fangirl. I love the sound of organs slowly sliding from an eviscerated body. I relish the moans from the undead. Nothing makes me happier than the vision of an apocalypse; be it by invading alien horde, off course meteors, or plagues that only spare type AB positive, left handed children under the age of 10.675 years of polish decent.

But I also love reading stories about little old ladies, lazy Scottish police constables, and slightly plump co
Heather L
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Originally, I was going to give this one three stars, but... There were editing issues in the last few chapters. One of my biggest peeves is authors not knowing what their characters are doing. Chapter 16 starts out with the main character wearing Capri's, but then changes mid-chapter into a sundress...then at end of the chapter is suddenly back in pants again, and she had not stopped to change again before engaging in the activity that supposedly got the pants dirty that she was not wearing at ...more
❂ Murder by Death
First in a new series that I received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. A very strong start and really likeable characters. A very solidly plotted mystery as well.

Full Review:
Nov 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, cozy
What a great book! I've read Lynn Cahoon's Cat Latimer books, but this is the first Tourist Trap mystery I've read. There were more than one mystery in this story, which made it rich and complex. But it was a fast read for me, not wanting to put it down. There were several reasonable suspects, and I didn't solve the mysteries until they were revealed in the book. I loved Jill, owner of a book/coffeeshop in a coastal California tourist town. She was realistic to me, with flaws and weaknesses, wit ...more
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is my first book by Lynn Cahoon. I am not going to write a synopsis since many reviewers have already done this since the book was written in 2014.

I have the largest range in my four star reviews. This book is at the lower end of a four star review. I gave it four stars due to the good mystery plot. I did not have it figured out until the author divulged it. There was humor and likable characters. It is on my lower end of 4 stars due to this cozy mystery being a little heavier on romance th
Micky Cox
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great new to me cozy mystery series! The book was excellently plotted with multiple potential suspects for the suspect pool, layered mysteries that may or may not be connected (you'll have to read to unravel that part for yourself, no spoilers here!) and great interpersonal relationship plots peppered throughout to add interest to the intrigue! Good character development that brings to life the characters and makes you root for or against them as the story unwinds. I'm quite looking forward to t ...more
Not bad for the first in a series. It reminded me a lot of the Booktown Mystery series by Lorna Barrett. The similarities were striking! But the story was quite different. While I liked Jill, the main character, her choices grated sometimes. I found myself annoyed with how she thought she knew better than others, and it was often the opposite. Still, I guess this helped to make the mystery mysterious. Not sure I'll continue with the series, but it was an entertaining read on its own.
Mar 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoy good mystery books that keep me on the edge of my seat, and this book definitely fulfills that requirement. I also like when the book has a reasonable ending that ties everything together and the guilty person isn't a character that showed up in the book for exactly one sentence. The murderer should be someone the reader has become familiar with. This book had a very nice, pulled-together conclusion.

The main character, Jill, is an attorney who left behind the big city because she
Mary Brown
Jun 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Guidebook To Murder by Lynn Cahoon is a great start to a new cozy mystery series. Jill is the owner of a bookstore/ coffee shop who's elderly friend is murdered. She inherits her friends house and the problems that go along with that. The mayor and council are threatening to destroy the house unless it's brought up to meet regulations. Jill only has a month to accomplish this. And if that isn't enough to handle, her best friend is missing. With all these problems to handle and worry about, she e ...more
Karen B.
This was a fun, light read and a typical cozy. If you don't like cozies you won't like this. Jill has fallen in love with the small down after meeting Miss Emily who befriended her. A former lawyer, Jill now runs a small coffee store /bookstore. There is a death by poisoning providing the main "murder mystery". A handsome detective on the case to whom Jill finds herself attracted. Just wish the whole married or not married discussion had come up earlier in the book instead of Jill constantly str ...more
Jul 18, 2020 rated it liked it
I've got mixed feelings on this book. Overall it was a pretty good story. Jill Gardner runs a bookstore/coffee shop in a small town in California. Her elderly friend, Miss Emily, calls and asks her to come over because she has received a letter from the city council, threatening to condemn her house if she doesn't sell out to a developer. Soon after, Jill finds Miss Emily dead, and suspects murder.

It's some of the things Jill does that annoyed me. Of course, there's a hunky police detective, but
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NYT and USA Today bestselling author, Lynn Cahoon, writes the Tourist Trap, Cat Latimer and Farm-to-Fork mystery series. The Kitchen Witch cozy mystery series will release in 2021. No matter where the mystery is set, readers can expect a fun ride Sign up for her newsletter at

Other books in the series

Tourist Trap Mysteries (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • Mission to Murder (A Tourist Trap Mystery, #2)
  • If the Shoe Kills (A Tourist Trap Mystery, #3)
  • Dressed to Kill (A Tourist Trap Mystery, #4)
  • Killer Run (A Tourist Trap Mystery, #5)
  • Murder on Wheels (A Tourist Trap Mystery, #6)
  • Tea Cups and Carnage (A Tourist Trap Mystery, #7)
  • Hospitality and Homicide (A Tourist Trap Mystery, #8)
  • Killer Party (A Tourist Trap Mystery, #9)
  • Memories and Murder (Tourist Trap Mysteries #10)
  • Murder in Waiting (Tourist Trap Mysteries #11)

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