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A Dark and Stormy Murder

(Writer's Apprentice Mystery #1)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  2,267 ratings  ·  489 reviews
An aspiring suspense novelist lands in the middle of a real crime, in the first in a captivating new series by the author of the Undercover Dish Mysteries.
Lena London's literary dreams are coming true—as long as she can avoid any real-life villains...
Camilla Graham’s bestselling suspense novels inspired Lena London to become a writer, so when she lands a job as Camilla’
Paperback, 273 pages
Published July 5th 2016 by Berkley
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Average rating 4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,267 ratings  ·  489 reviews

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Jul 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
A Dark and Stormy Murder ( A Writer's Apprentice Mystery #1) by Julia Buckley is a 2016 Berkley publication.

This first book in the series sets the tone for future installments with a solid base, interesting characters, and an ongoing investigation that will bleed over into the next release. I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery and enjoyed living vicariously through Lena. She lives out every reader or aspiring writers dream.

No doubt about it, I am definitely on board for the next installment. I ca
May 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one fun and entertaining read. It is a traditional murder mystery with gothic atmosphere, and just a pinch of romance. Readers compare it to Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, and Phyllis Whitney. I love those authors, and I could not put this one down. It is the first in a series and should be read in order. This murder mystery is solved by the ending, but there is second mystery that began here and it is the set up for book two, which I immediately had to get my hands on. Highly recommended.
Jun 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I just finished A Dark and Stormy Murder by Julia Buckley Saturday night, not only did I not want to put it down, I did not want it to end. This was one of the best books I have ever read. When I put the book on my table Saturday morning I had no idea what I was in for! The cover art perfectly captures the feel of the book and I so love it when that happens! The title is also a perfect fit, if ever there was a book that called to me based on sight alone it was this one. The double mysteries, set ...more
Jul 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: cozies-mysteries
First in a series.

I had high hopes for this book, looking at all the 5 star reviews (though frankly there are some reviewers out there who seem to give everything 5 stars...), so I am kind of disappointed.

What I liked: The main characters. I like Lena and Camilla. They clicked for me.

What I didn't like: We were threatened with a love triangle.

What I did like: It was resolved at the end of the book, rather than left to drag on, and on, and on...

What I didn't like: This was a big one. Enough that
Diana | Book of Secrets
Jun 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
It was a dark and stormy night...

Aspiring author Lena London lands her dream job as assistant to her most favorite writer, Camilla Graham. Lena never dreamed that she'd be pulled into a real murder mystery, but that's exactly what happens when she spots a dead body not far from Camilla's Victorian home.

I enjoy books about books, and this one in particular was a delight because it was all about classic Gothic romantic suspense, and the main character getting to live inside one. Lena went full on
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: buckley-julia
Any dedicated reader who has a favorite or several favorite authors could easily see herself, or himself, in the lead character's shoes. That dream of one day meeting your very favorite author and, not only spending considerably time in their presence, but to be asked to live in their home and read, edit, consult on and/or make suggestions on their yet to be published book. To actually be able to become dear friends and valued for your opinions and contributions to their book was fun to imagine. ...more
Jul 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, series
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 15, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: mystery, 2016
This didn't work for me.

1. The heroine has met a suspected murderer four times and the first time he was an obnoxious ass. Now she believes he's innocent because he's so sincere and honest, because no one can *act* sincere, right? Then a Cop does this suspect a favor and heroine goes nuts and throws pecans at the REALLY NICE COP. Really?

2. They find a picture of someone smiling. They cover up everything but the eyes. The eyes show FEAR. Really? If you took a picture of my eyes right now, could y
Mark Baker
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, 2017
Aspiring novelist Lena London has been given the change of a lifetime, helping her idol, best-selling author Camilla Graham, polish up her newest novel. But Lena has hardly arrived in town when she finds the dead body of a young man near Camilla’s house. What is going on?

There is a strong element of wish fulfillment in this novel, and I must admit I enjoyed that real life fantasy. Camilla writes gothic novels, and there are elements of those here as an homage to the genre. Even though I’m not fa
Lisa Ks Book Reviews
Jul 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
There are many things I can say about this first book in the new series by author Julia Buckley. The first thing that comes to mind? That would be . . . WOW!

A DARK AND STORMY MURDER is a brilliant mix of the feel of Agatha Christie, Caroline Keene, and also a little bit Hitchcocky, but wonderfully balanced by Julia Buckley. This extraordinary story is cozy in all senses of the word, but with a certain something that makes it stand apart.

From the third page I had already clicked with protagonist
Cozy Reads
Apr 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Lena gets the call of her dreams, not only does her favorite author want to meet her and work with her, she wants Lena to live with her and work on her new book. Lena is soon not only working on the mystery in Camilla Graham’s new book but she is trying to solve a few mysteries in her new town and home. I absolutely loved this book. The writing style was beautiful and drew me in completely. I was very invested in the mysteries in this book. I adored all the characters. I can not wait to continue ...more
Chatting About
Aspiring writer, Lena London, receives the job offer of a lifetime--bestselling author, Camilla Graham, Lena's idol, is looking for a ghost writer to help her plot her newest manuscript. Lena and her cat, Lestrade, travel to beautiful Blue Lake, Indiana and move into Camilla's home. Les becomes quick friends with Camilla's two German Sheperds, Rochester and Heathcliff. Lena and Camilla immediately bond--two great minds think much alike and compliment one another making a great team.

This clever,
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
Oct 12, 2016 rated it liked it
As a vacation book, i.e. fast and not too demanding, A Dark and Stormy Murder is pretty good.
I liked the clear cut story of an aspiring writer who got the chance to work with her idol. I loked the setting of a small town. I liked the red herrings the author subtly used.

I think the character of her idol Camilla is too perfect, a sort of what you'd like to think about authors, but is rarely the case, but I still liked them together.

I didn't like a couple of tstl moments, but I understand that a
Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very meaty cozy mystery! What I mean by meaty is the characters and plots, and even the subplots are very good. You can certainly get your teeth into them.

Lena London goes to work with her all-time favorite author, Camilla Graham, who writes gothic thrillers a la Phyllis A. Whitney. Of course, strange things happen in little Blue Lake as soon as Lena gets there.

Lena also meets two single men who are interested in her as soon as she arrives.

There's also 2 dogs and a cat and a house with secre
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from Berkley and Netgalley. This title will be released on July 5. All thoughts and opinions stated in this review are entirely my own.*

If A Dark and Stormy Murder is any indication, you'd better get ready because Julia Buckley is soon going to be a common name in the cozy mystery world. I loved this book so much, I absolutely couldn't put it down and I was honestly disappointed that it ended so soon.

Lena was an absolute joy t
Dawn Frazier
Jun 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
WOW!!! I won an early copy of this book, and what a treat it was. This is one of the best mysteries I have ever read. It grabbed me from page one, and didn't let go. The whole book is absolutely perfect! I loved the characters, the setting, the mystery. I hated to see it end! I hope this is one series that keeps going. This first book is so great, I could, and eventually will, read it again! ...more
Dec 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An aspiring writer lands her dream job with her literary idol, a reclusive gothic novelist who lives in a sprawling house overlooking the ocean. This gothic cozy mystery series is off to a delightful start.
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Lena London is living her best life in Blue Lake, Indiana: working as an assistant/ghost writer for her idol, best-selling Gothic mystery author Camilla Graham, living in a lakefront mansion with secret rooms, and solving mysteries, all while two handsome men vie for her attention.

There's really two story lines in A Dark and Stormy Murder, which ultimately didn't really work for me.

The first story line is a fairly typical cozy mystery: Lena discovers a dead body on Camilla Graham's property, and
Sep 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was a fantastic read! Definitely one of the best cozies I have ever read.. It kept me on the edge of my seat, bed, wherever I was reading--I was enthralled. Mysteries within mysteries and the ending leaves some parts finished while others leaving me waiting for the next installment in the series...

If I could give this more than 5 stars, I would!!
Two stars for "it was okay."

It tried to be a gothic-flavored tale about a secluded writer with a mysterious neighbor. It actually was a predictable story with a friendly writer and a grieving neighbor...the mystery pops up at about 40% and the murderer is easily spotted (I kept thinking they must be a red herring because it was so easy).

I did enjoy the Indiana setting and the mentor/friend relationship between the two women. There were some major plot detail fails (for example, the author met an
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a great "cozy" -- I really fell under the spell of the wish-fulfillment scenario (I mean, who wouldn't *love* to work with a writer they idolize?!) and was quickly pulled into the murder mystery; you go along for the ride with some relatable, well-rounded characters -- each one feels distinct, and the author is good at casting doubt on multiple suspects until you get to the big reveal. Additional high marks go to Julia Buckley for crafting a delicious plot. This first book in the series ...more
I liked this one a lot, too.
Jun 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A Dark And Storm Murder is the first book in the A Writer's Apprentice Mystery series.

Lena London has just gotten her dream job. Her friend, Allison, called to let her know that Camilla Graham, one of Lena's favorite authors was looking for an assistant. Lena immediately called and a week later is heading for Blue Lake, IN to start a job she had only hoped to have.

The day after arriving, Lena decides to take Graham's two German Shepherd for a walk and to take a look at the town of Blue Lake. As
I used to love cozy mysteries in my younger days and have gooey nostalgic feelings for the mystery genre as a whole - so I thought I'd try this first book in a series. It's OK. Look, I think I've changed. Cozies occupy this idealistic world view that doesn't exist and it's just not the way I want to spend my escapist reading time these days. Everything is very cutesy (the only thing the town of Blue Lake is missing is a cupcake shop) and the heroine smacks of Pollyanna, especially when leaping t ...more
Jun 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: gave-up
I give up. I know there are a lot of 5 stars for this book but I just don't get it. I found the characters boring and flat from the beginning. Found myself avoiding reading because I wasn't looking forward to this book. Too many other books out there to read to spend so much time reading a book I was not enjoying. Sorry Julia Buckley, moving on. ...more
Mid-Continent Public Library
What a terrific title! I like nothing more than cuddling up with a cozy mystery on a dark, stormy night. What could be better than to cuddle up with A Dark and Stormy Murder by Julia Buckley.
Lena London has read every suspense novel ever written by Camilla Graham, the author who inspired her to become a writer in her own right. You can imagine, when Lena lands a job as her idol’s new assistant, she can hardly believe it! Not only is she working for Camilla, she gets to live with her in her beau
Jane Irish Nelson
Apr 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, contemporary
Probably 3.5 stars. This cozy mystery is a nod to the romantic suspense novels and Gothic romances of the past. When Lena London, and aspiring writer lands a job as assistant to Camilla Graham, the author she has always adored, she is ecstatic. And she even gets to live in Camilla's mansion! But almost immediately she stumbles into not one, but two mysteries, involving many of the classic tropes. Fun, quick-paced, with the obligatory touch of romance. Recommended. ...more
Sep 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
A Dark And Stormy Murder is the first book of Julia Buckley's Writer's Apprentice Mystery series and I enjoyed this introduction to the main characters: aspiring writer Lena London and her idol, favorite author, and new boss - Camilla Graham.
Other than Lena being a bit of a "Mary Sue" character, I found this book very entertaining. One nit to pick: I have always had a hard time accepting "instant" friendships/relationships and anyone (much less a famous, wealthy author) inviting a stranger to li
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Who doesn't love two mysteries for the price of one? That's exactly what you get with this story. The body found on the beach definitely felt secondary to the missing wife storyline but they both flowed and commingled together nicely. The ending left you begging for more and had me running to get the next book in this awesome series. I hope Mrs. Buckley keeps this series going for years to come. ...more
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Julia Buckley is a Chicago-area writer. She has written three mystery series with Berkley Prime Crime, including the best-selling Writer's Apprentice Series, which Mystery Scene calls "engaging, enjoyable, and surprising," while Kirkus dubs it "pleasantly old-fashioned." The Library Journal called Buckley "a writer to watch."

Buckley is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and

Other books in the series

Writer's Apprentice Mystery (5 books)
  • Death in Dark Blue (A Writer's Apprentice Mystery, #2)
  • A Dark and Twisting Path (A Writer's Apprentice Mystery, #3)
  • Death Waits in the Dark (A Writer's Apprentice Mystery #4)
  • Death with a Dark Red Rose (A Writer's Apprentice Mystery #5)

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“Nothing bonds two people so well as loving the same books.” 1 likes
“I knew that writing was a layered process, and one had to find little joys as one went along. A finished novel was a culmination, but Camilla had once said, in a 1981 interview, that “the real joy is in going down the path, pen in hand, and meeting your story as it comes. You never know what adventures await you, and it’s the start of the journey that is the most thrilling. At the end, when the book is done, you all say good-bye. I far prefer the start: my characters as my friends, and a whole adventure awaiting us.” 0 likes
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