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The Plot Is Murder

(Mystery Bookshop #1)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  1,436 ratings  ·  391 reviews
The small town of North Harbor on the shores of Lake Michigan is about to have a new mystery bookstore. But before the first customer can browse its shelves, the store’s owner is suspected of her own murder plot . . .

Samantha Washington has dreamed of owning her own mystery bookstore for as long as she can remember. And as she prepares for the store’s grand opening, she’s
Paperback, 254 pages
Published November 28th 2017 by Kensington
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Melanie You could skip it, it's a style choice more than a contribution to the actual plot!…moreYou could skip it, it's a style choice more than a contribution to the actual plot!(less)

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Average rating 3.74  · 
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 ·  1,436 ratings  ·  391 reviews

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Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Samantha Washington's life has completely changed. Her husband of 13 years died, but he made her promise to fulfill her dream of opening a bookshop. She keeps her promise, selling their house, buying a building and preparing to open her mystery bookshop in North Harbor, MI. Not only is she opening her dream shop, but Samantha is also writing a murder mystery. All her dreams are about to come true. Things are moving along smoothly until she discovers the dead body of real estate agent Clayton Par ...more
☆Dani☆ ☆Touch My Spine Book Reviews☆
V.M. Burns created a cozy masterpiece with this book! When reading through this book I was so excited and just wanted more! I absolutely loved the characterisation in this book. I loved how the main character(Samantha) went sleuthing with a group on senior citizen ladies! These ladies were a hoot and could out party me any day! I just loved Nana Jo and how she was described as “all of the Golden Girls” wrapped up in one! Her group of friends that her and Samantha tagged along with made me laugh ...more
Nov 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
After the unexpected loss of her husband Samantha Washington has become determined to live out her dreams that she has always had that were put on the back burner for a more steady and reliable income. Part of her dream has been to open her own bookstore and cafe in the small town of North Harbor on the shores of Lake Michigan. Samantha is also a budding writer herself and has finally begun work on her own cozy mystery.

Things seem to be going well in her new life until one night when her realto
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am very blessed to be able to read so many cozy mystery books and I will say that I actively lobbied author V.M. Burns for the opportunity to have this book on my table as soon as possible. Sometimes I can look at a cover and just know a book is going to be amazing, and I was very right with The Plot Is Murder. I did not read the book intro which I have posted below. I just saw the cover and knew I wanted to read the book. Yes I judge books by their covers, and I am not ashamed. This book was ...more
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2017
Dollycas’s Thoughts

Who doesn’t love a mystery within a mystery?

Samantha Washington has lost her husband and she is a little apprehensive about following her dreams on her own. She has purchased an old warehouse and turned it not only into her home but the lower level is now her mystery bookstore. That was her first dream, the second is to become a cozy mystery author. She not sure if she will let anyone read it, but she has started a story set in England about two sisters, their suitors, and a m
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great first book in a new cozy series that introduces us to a widow finally following her dreams to open a bookstore and write a cozy of her own. Has all the things I love about cozies, including food, great setting and an interesting cast of characters. I especially loved Nana Jo and the Sleuthing Seniors. Stephanie Plum's Grandma Mazur would fit right in with that group.

It also had something I haven't seen: we get to read Samantha's work in progress so we're trying to solve two whodunits. Just
Chatting About
The coastline of Michigan is the setting chosen for the debut Mystery Bookshop Cozy series. Widow, Sam Washington is following her and her deceased husband’s dream of opening a bookstore, Market Street Mysteries. Secretly, Sam is penning a mystery novel set in Great Britain in 1938. Surrounded by a great family to help her run the bookstore, Sam opens shop. The next thing she knows, her crooked realtor’s corpse is found outside. Innocently caught up in a crime family’s crosshairs, Sam and her fa ...more
Nov 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: dogs, e-books, arc, cozy
A new author for me and the first book of the series. The cover and author's name attracted me to this book. I was disappointed because the format of the book is not a favorite of mine. I find it difficult to jump from one story to another. I thought the ending was original but easy to guess it. I like the current mystery and would have a higher rating of the second story had not been included. I found the book being written by the main character very simple and the titles of the characters anno ...more
Libby Klein
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very cute dual mystery within a mystery. And i love the feisty grandma and her friends.
Oct 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the chance to read this book.

I'm not going to lie, I read A LOT of cozy mystery, and this one just didn't tick all the boxes for me. It SHOULD have, because it's a cozy mystery set in a mystery book store but it just felt far too simple for my tastes. Everything is simple; the writing style, the mystery, and even the main character. She didn't even do any of the sleuthing herself, she just chauffeurs around the senior citizens with far more gumption
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A mystery within a mystery...I absolutely loved it!

When Samantha Washington opens her new bookstore, she doesn't anticipate that she'll have to solve a murder. But when nasty broker Clayton Parker is murdered in her backyard and the police try to pin the ghastly deed on her, she's forced to take matters into her own hands and root out the real culprit. Fortunately, her Nana Jo and the sleuthing seniors provide her with plenty of intel and backup. The sleuths are loads of fun, and I enjoyed every
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If you adore cozy mysteries, READ THIS BOOK! It is SO good. I really enjoyed curling up with my dogs, a cup of tea and this book.
The main character, Samantha Washington, is embarking on a new chapter in her life. This includes a new home, opening her dream book store AND writing a novel (shhhh! She doesn't want anyone to know). Samantha's new life seems to be coming together until someone is found murdered on her property and she becomes a suspect! Samantha, Nana Jo and her retired friends (thi
Angela Maria Hart
Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'm so happy that this was the first book for The Cozy Mystery Book Club in 2020. We started the year off with a 5 star read!
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
**I voluntarily read this ARC**

An enjoyable first in series. Small town Michigan is one of my favorite settings, so obviously I loved the setting. The senior citizens were awesome. The book inside the book was interesting, but slightly distracting. I kept trying to solve the wrong murder. I found the mystery interesting yet slightly predictable.
Jan 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was so lucky to win a paperback copy of "The Novel Art of Murder" (Mystery Bookshop, #3) from the author from the Kensington December (2020) Mystery and Thriller Launch Party on FB. When I'm aware that the novel is part of the series my preference is to read the series in order which leads to my review of "The Plot is Murder."

After the shattering loss of her husband Leon, Samantha Washington is fulfilling her husband's dream (and mine!) of opening a bookstore that specializes in selling myster
Read In Colour
While this was a cute cozy mystery, I don't think I'll be returning for the rest of the series. The old lady "gang" that helps the protagonist solve mysteries is adorable, but I can't get past the fact that the author (a black woman) chose to make the main character and most of the people surrounding her white at a time when black readers are so hungry for cozy mysteries featuring black leads. Another reader pointed out that the author never says what race the lead character is so that readers c ...more
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
This is my totally biased opinion about my book. It's my first book and I think cozy mystery readers will enjoy the cast of characters in this series. Plus, readers will have the opportunity to solve 2 mysteries in every book. ...more
I must admit that I had been waiting months for the release of author V.M. Burns' cozy mystery debut - The Plot is Murder. The cover, the title, and the plot (no pun intended!) description grabbed my attention from the moment I first saw it, and I pre-ordered the book as soon as it was available. I was lucky enough to obtain an advance copy to review, and it did not disappoint! Not only do we get the story of bookshop owner Samantha Washington, we also get to immerse ourselves in the British coz ...more
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cozy-mystery
The Plot Is Murder was an amazing read featuring a compelling mystery and a charming cast of characters.

Sam has spent the past six months trying to find a way forward in life after her husband unexpectedly died. Their dream was always to open a mystery bookstore with a café and now Sam is realizing that dream on her own hoping to honor his memory. Her dream hits a bit of a snag when the shady realtor who tried to stop her from buying the building for her shop is murdered in the courtyard behind
Chris Conley
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a fun book. Two different starring the new main character and the second, written by said main character! Really fun.
Barb (Boxermommyreads)
Feb 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
I picked up "The Plot is Murder" because I was craving an easy, cozy mystery read. Usually I can flu through this genre and have fun while doing so but unfortunately, that wasn't always the case with "The Plot is Murder."

Our main character, Samantha, is leaving her teaching position to start her own mystery bookstore. Within the last year she has lost her husband, sold her house, and invested her future in this brand new endeavor. Samantha is also a "closet writer" and hopes someday to publish a
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of my favourite books of 2017.
I enjoyed the premise of the character owning a mystery bookstore. The characters were well written and I look forward to reading more about them, especially the senior citizens, who were written as smart, full of life and entertaining.
The whodunit was well plotted and kept me guessing.
This is the first in a new series, and I cannot wait to read the next in the series.
I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.
Kerry (lines i underline)
This is only my second time ever reading a true cozy mystery and so I feel a bit like a fish out of water trying to evaluate it. I’m only just figuring out the conventions of the genre.

In some ways it was just what I expected - light, more about plot than character, a little cheesy, quirky characters. However I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I wanted more and at times it was a push to keep reading. Something felt like it was missing for me. I wasn’t very invested in the mystery or the ma
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good mystery overall but the embedded cozy mystery (written by the main character) kind of broke up the story and it didn't flow as well as it could have. ...more
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What an awesome start for a new series! This was a well-written book with a mystery in a mystery. Bookshop owner Samantha Washington is also writing a British cozy set in 1938, so it was fun to get a peek first hand at what she was writing and see that case solved right along with the main case.

Sam had recently lost her husband Leon to cancer but carried out both their dreams of owning a mystery bookshop. When the shady real estate agent who was trying to block the sale at the last minute ended
Lisa Morin
The Plot is Murder, written by the incredibly talented V.M. Burns is a 10 star winner! I was hooked on the book from the first couple of pages and could not put it down. I spent the entire day with Samantha, Dawson, Nana JoJo and all the wonderful and colorful characters in this well written story.
Set in North Harbor on the shores of Lake Michigan, The Plot is Murder takes the reader to the opening of a new mystery bookstore. After the death of her husband Leon, Samantha makes a brave choice, to
This was a cute cozy by an author I hadn’t read before. I did the audio and the narrator was adequate, although a bit of a stilted over-enunciator at times for my taste.

This book does a weird thing where you are going along with the main plot of a recently widowed woman who is opening a mystery bookstore in a small town in MI interspersed with chapters of the cozy British mystery she is writing on the side. And the thing is - I just didn’t care about her cozy British mystery. At all. Every time
Samantha Washington, a young widow, is living out her husband's dream of opening a murder mystery bookstore in their hometown of North Harbor, Michigan. Sam's dream has always been to write a murder mystery but she is eager to try her hand at running a bookstore/cafe. It took a lot of effort and one savvy attorney to purchase the historic Gargoyle building for her store/apartment. When Clayton Parker, the shady realtor who sold Sam the building tries to talk to her after closing one night, she r ...more
Carla Johnson-Hicks
This is the first book in a new cozy mystery series. This series is a bit different from other cozies I have read. Samantha Washington, the protagonist is also a budding author. When she is stressed, she works on her book to relax. Because of this, there are two different short mysteries going on simultaneously. I did not have a problem following them, but I am sure some readers might. It is an interesting premise though.

Samantha (Sam) loves a good mystery. She and her husband Leon had always wa
Annie ⚜️
2.5 stars. I hate to give a cozy mystery a poor review but this was just not very good and the story within the story was almost comical. Whodunnit was glaringly obvious in both stories and that's saying a lot coming from me because I almost never figure it out. ...more
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V.M. Burns was born in Northwestern Indiana and spent many years in
Southwestern Michigan on the Lake Michigan shoreline. She is a lover of dogs,
British historic cozies, and scones with clotted cream. After many years in the
Midwest she went in search of milder winters and currently lives in Eastern
Tennessee with her poodles. Her debut novel, The Plot is Murder was nominated for a 2017 Agatha Award

Other books in the series

Mystery Bookshop (7 books)
  • Read Herring Hunt (Mystery Bookshop, #2)
  • The Novel Art of Murder (Mystery Bookshop, #3)
  • Wed, Read & Dead (Mystery Bookshop, #4)
  • Bookmarked for Murder (Mystery Bookshop, #5)
  • A Tourist's Guide to Murder (Mystery Bookshop, #6)
  • Killer Words (Mystery Bookshop, #7)

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