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Addie Greyborne loved working with rare books at the Boston Public Library—she even got to play detective, tracking down clues about mysterious old volumes. But she didn't expect her sleuthing skills to come in so handy in a little seaside town . . .

Addie left some painful memories behind in the big city, including the unsolved murder of her fiancé and her father's fatal car accident. After an unexpected inheritance from a great aunt, she's moved to a small New England town founded by her ancestors back in colonial times—and living in spacious Greyborne Manor, on a hilltop overlooking the harbor. Best of all, her aunt also left her countless first editions and other treasures—providing an inventory to start her own store.

But there's trouble from day one, and not just from the grumpy woman who runs the bakery next door. A car nearly runs Addie down. Someone steals a copy of Alice in Wonderland. Then, Addie's friend Serena, who owns a nearby tea shop, is arrested—for killing another local merchant. The police seem pretty sure they've got the story in hand, but Addie's not going to let them close the book on this case without a fight . .

305 pages, Kindle Edition

First published October 30, 2018

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About the author

Lauren Elliott

10 books1,166 followers
Lauren grew up devouring the entire Nancy Drew series and then graduated to Victoria Holt, Agatha Christie, Barbara Erskine, Lynn Kurland, and Michael Crichton to name a few of her favorite authors. When it came time for post-secondary education, journalism seemed like the logical choice as she had written for as long as she could remember. Soon after graduation, while working for a small publication, she discovered that reporting wasn’t what fueled her writing passions. As someone with an additionally strong background in professional theater who had the love of storytelling and captivating and holding an audience, her fiction-writing career began to take center stage.

Lauren Elliott’s new Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery series promises to keep readers guessing right up until the last chapter. Plot twists and an array of colorful characters make for page turning, whodunit adventures filled with suspense, mystery, murder and just a touch of romance.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,005 reviews
Profile Image for Dawn Michelle.
2,290 reviews
November 4, 2018
November 11. 2018
Stopped at 20% [Read some of the end and it was just so ludicrous I am so glad I didn't waste my time].

First, I am glad that I got this as a NetGalley ARC and that I didn't actually pay money for it.
Second, I am VERY glad that the audiobook was on Hoopla so I didn't pay money for that either [because I would so be returning it if I had paid good money for this].
Third, I realize I am going to be in the minority here [considering all the 4 and 5 star reviews I am seeing. Clearly we are not reading the same book].

The things I didn't like about this book:
1. The main character. CAN anyone be stupider? I find it hard to believe that she ever lived in a big city. Ever. She is careless, overly-naive [to the point of being stupid] and has the "poor me, WHY is this happening to me" kind of attitude. She grated on my last nerve. When two women CLEARLY run a con on her to get her keys, she is so clueless about it I wanted to both scream and bang my head against my desk. Someone one like that NEVER worked and lived in a big city like Boston or London. Sigh.

2. Freaking romance. Again. Seriously? The main character and the cop/police chief/detective. This story-line arc is getting seriously old and I sure wish authors would figure that out. P L E A S E.

3. The even ditzier "best friend" [who she meets and two seconds later they are best friends like they have known each other their whole lives, even though someone is breaking into her shop and trying to run her down, she immediately believes that it CANNOT be this girl blah blah blah]. I actually like Serena better than Addie, but still.

4. The fact that almost everyone in this town has a GINORMOUS chip on their freaking shoulders and they are all just mean. Plain and simple, they are a very mean bunch. And they do not care who they hurt with their words and actions. I am not sure why Addie would even want to stay there to be honest, because they are horrible. Their snide remarks, harsh criticism and just plain meanness was a huge turnoff from the beginning and just continued to be as I read on.

5. The ending/reveal. Because I read ahead. No. Just no. SO glad I didn't waste my time for THAT. Puh-LEESE!!!!

What I liked about this book:






You get the picture.
I will not be reading the next one in the series [there is a spoiler chapter at the end and it is clearly more of exactly the same as was in this book. EXACTLY. Pass. Pass. P A S S.

Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Publishing for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Carrie.
3,094 reviews1,512 followers
October 28, 2018
Murder by the Book by Lauren Elliott is the first book in the cozy Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery series. Well, I'm going to call this one a cozy mystery as it does have the elements there but it also felt a bit like romantic suspense too. 

Addison Greyborne had not been having a good year before she moved to a small New England town that had been named for her ancestors back in Colonial times. Addie is still recovering from the murder of her finace, her father dying in a tragic accident and then finding out a long lost aunt had also died but left her whole estate to Addie. 

Addie inheritance however has given her the opportunity to start over and continue to work with books after leaving her job at the Boston Public Library. With her aunt having so many rare book in her collection and the funds to open a shop Addie decides to open Beyond the Page and had even begun to make friends in the town when her good friend Serena is arrested for murder and Addie finds herself teaming up with Serena's police chief brother to clear her name. 

Now as I said this one seemed to be crossing a bit over into romantic suspense with the main character not exactly working on her own and against the police as with a normal cozy set up. Instead Addie is pushing herself into the investigation and actually working with the police chief using her skills she had from her previous job and with a lot of flirting between the two a romantic connection did begin to grow. I do however like this set up as it gives credibility to the investigation. 

This one however was missing my love of the overly quirky and eccentric characters but Addie was likable enough along with her love interest that I still enjoyed getting to know them. I did think a few times though that Addie's actions seemed a bit too childish for a thirty something woman while flirting with someone. In the end though the book had a ton of action and an interesting plot relevant to the character that led me to give this one 3.5 stars and I would definitely continue with the series. 

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/
Profile Image for Marty Tool.
518 reviews2 followers
September 12, 2018
Addie, an unlikable character I might say, has tragic deaths in her recent past and inherits a large home and money in a small town with her last name. Somehow she doesn't remember anything about the town or of her recently deceased great aunt, but decides to move to the town and open a store of curios and used books, both rare and valuable books. Then mystery and questionable murders happen seeming to revolve around her.
Problems I had with this book are many. First, she's been there for a month working all the time setting up her store, but never bothered to meet the business neighbors she's next to, but as soon as she opens her doors she is instantly bffs with one, and enemies with the other. Also she is constantly leaving the shop, when are the shoppers supposed to buy anything. Secondly, she is a self entitled know it all, rude and about as cuddly as a cactus. One minute she is attracted to the police chief, the next she is rude and rebuffs any friendly attempt from him, but gets all pissed when he doesn't hold her after she is held at gun point, plus she keeps butting into official police business. She has multiple chances to ask others about the mysterious strangers identity, or even take a photo to ask later, but she doesn't, but then the mystery would have been solved quickly. She knows someone is stalking her, lives in an isolated house, yet leaves the doors unlocked.
On to the stalker, robbers book thief. These are the worst international thieves ever. They are in the area before she moves there but don't find what they want. They break in to her store and home, but only when she's there, not when she's gone from either place. They also supposedly have been in this business for several years, they just aren't good at it.
Lastly, myself as a book lover, Addie recognizes a semi valuable book stolen from her store by the sticker from her shop on the cover. Nobody would place a store price sticker on a cover of a book worth something. Maybe on a jacket protector, not on the cover.
Lastly, why do writers think that having a strong female lead character means she has to be rude, arrogant and know it all's? I didn't come to even remotely like her and had to force myself to finish this. To the police chief-run, run quickly away.
Profile Image for Lucy.
213 reviews2 followers
June 7, 2019
This should have been good. It had all the best markers; a bookstore, small town, girlfriend support, hunky single chief of police. But the writing was not good. Plotting was okay but the dialogue and character’s behavior was ridiculous. If I had a dollar for each time; Addie bit her lower lip, Mark winked, or any one of them smirked..I’d buy my own bookstore.
Profile Image for Madeline.
771 reviews47k followers
August 9, 2022
I'm going to get this out of the way right off the bat: this is one of those "cozy mysteries" where the amateur detective dates a cop. The romance is garbage, because it's always garbage, and we'll get into specifics later on, but everyone considering reading this should be forewarned about what they're getting into.

Anyway, Lauren Elliott follows the cozy mystery setup to a T, because if there's one thing I've learned from my foray into this subgenre, it's that its fans demand nothing less than rigorous adherence to tradition (see - authors insisting to pretend that local cops in small-town America are exactly like the polite local constable who popped 'round to the vicarage to have tea with Miss Marple once a week). Our heroine and future amateur detective is Addison "Addie" Greyborne, who - sing along if you know the words - returns to the small town of her youth following a traumatic event, and opens a twee small business. In this case, the traumatic event is the murder of her fiance, and the twee small business is a bookshop. Addie is back in Greyborne Harbor because her distance great-aunt has recently died, leaving Addie her house and a small fortune. When Addie moves in, she finds her aunt's house crammed with an extensive collection of rare books, and since Addie formerly worked as a rare books appraiser, she decides to open her own shop and sell the items from her aunt's collection. Oh, and also some guy gets murdered and Addie decides to investigate

Here's how much Lauren Elliott does not care about her own murder plot: the victim isn't even an established character. The first time we learn this man's name is when the news of his death breaks, so obviously we as the reader don't really give a shit either way - we're only supposed to care if Addie solves the crime because her best friend has been wrongly accused of the murder. Elliott is clearly way more interested in the romance between Addie and the cop investigating the death, so one wonders why she didn't just write a straightforward romance, and then I would have at least known to avoid it, because a plot description would have clued me into what I was looking at.

Listen, I'm trying not to harp on individual authors who make this choice. But Murder by the Book was published in 2018 (for context, the Tamir Rice murder was in 2014), and I think that if you're an author writing a murder mystery set in modern day America, you have a certain degree of responsibility when it comes to portraying the way many people in this country view the cops. Sure, your detective needs an inside source within the local police force so they can learn details about the case, but there are so many other ways to do it besides a romance. It's lazy and bordering on irresponsible.

Or at the very least, can we not make the cop love interest such a fucking dick? The guy in this one is the worst, and if you think I'm being biased (which I am, duh), then please enjoy this excerpt where Cop Love Interest comes to Addie with important news:

"He sauntered past her over to the coffee machine. 'Want one?'

'No, I don't want coffee. I want to know what's got you grinning like the Cheshire cat.'

'Everything in good time.' He dropped a pod into the machine.

She stood back and crossed her arms, tapped her foot, and glared at the back of his head. He was silent as his coffee brewed. She opened her mouth to speak, but shut it when he slowly tore open a sugar packet and poured it into the steaming paper cup. Believing he was done, she opened her mouth again. Without turning around, he raised his finger to silence her and picked up a spoon, methodically stirring his coffee. By this time, her cheeks were burning and beads of sweat were forming inside her collar. When he was finished, he placed the spoon on the counter, took a long sip, stretched out his rigid shoulders, and sighed. Her jaw tensed. She took a step toward him. He spun around, a sly grin across his face, and then he burst out laughing.

'Darn you.' She stamped her foot. 'Stop with the teasing.'

'Ah, but it's so much fun.'

'What has you in such a great mood?'

'Well, partner' - he winked - 'it seems we found enough evidence today to place a reasonable doubt on Serena's charge of second-degree murder.'"

I hate this. I hate it so much.

For context, the "Serena" they're talking about is the one who's been falsely accused of murder. She also happens to be Addie's best friend and the cop's sister. So Elliot has written a scene, which she genuinely believes is cute, where the cop has found evidence absolving his own sister of murder and is about to tell her best friend, but then this fucking guy decides that what he really needs to do first is a hacky, "don't talk to me until I've had my coffee" comedy routine. WHY. HOW COULD ANYONE POSSIBLY FIND THIS CHARMING. The man learned his sense of humor from a thrift store coffee mug and I'm supposed to root for him to make out with the protagonist?!

God, and the actual mystery isn't even that good.

Profile Image for Juli.
1,859 reviews473 followers
September 29, 2018
Addison Greyborne worked at the Boston Public Library until a year ago, but then her life fell apart. Her fiance was murdered and her father died in an accident. While still reeling from the deaths, a relative died and left her money and a house in Greyborne Harbor. She opened her own shop, Beyond the Page Books & Curios, and started trying to piece her life back together again. Someone seems determined to put a damper on her plans. Her shop and home are broken into and a dark car seems to be following her. Just as she makes a new friend, that friend is arrested for killing another local merchant. Addie is determined to clear Serena's name and discover who is behind the break-ins and other bad happenings in Greyborne Harbor.

Murder By the Book is a great start to a new cozy series! I do wish they had chosen a more creative title for the book though. There are SO many mysteries with the same title. It's been done before.....1000 times. The story line is a bit trope-y too.....mysterious, unknown relative leaves money and property to main character and bad things happen. But, I enjoyed the characters and the background theme of a book and curio shop. The story was entertaining and the mystery plot engaging enough to hold my interest. So, I forgive the tropes.....

I wish the small town I live in had a shop like Beyond the Page. I would be there all the time!! :)

A second book in this new series, Prologue to Murder, will be out in 2019. I will definitely read more of this series!

**I voluntarily read an advanced readers copy of this book from Kensington via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**
Profile Image for Gail C..
348 reviews
September 9, 2018
I received an advanced digital copy of Murder By the Book by Lauren Elliott from NetGalley and Kensington Books in exchange for an honest review. This is the first book in a planned series featuring Addie who has recently moved from Boston to a small harbor town after experiencing several personal tragedies. Having inherited an estate and lots of money, Addie decides to indulge her love of old books by opening a second-hand book store. She is a former librarian who researched many old and valuable books, which has allowed her to develop her investigative skills.

Almost immediately we learn of the accidental death of her father and the unsolved murder of her fiance, as well as the death of a previously un remember great aunt who is believed to have died from natural causes. The book begins with Addie opening her new bookshop and then almost being run down by a black sedan, an occurrence she brushes off as the result of a distracted driver. Almost immediately, there is a breakin at the shop, Addie’s keys are stolen, suspicious people wander into the shop and then her house is burgled. This sets up the constant bringing together of Addie and the police chief, Marc. It’s clear from the beginning there is a physical attraction between Marc and Addie and they spend the rest of the book being drawn to one another then pushing each other away, only to repeat the same action with much the same written description a few pages later.

The book relies more on relationship building than on solving the numerous murders that are ultimately determined to have occurred. Other characters who are likely to be recurring fixtures in future books include Serena, who owns a shop down the street and is Marc’s sister, Martha who owns the bakery next door and Paige, who comes to work for Addie. The relationships spring up almost immediately, with Addie and Serena becoming best friends almost overnight and Addie hiring Paige, then immediately giving her a substantial raise and responsibilities in the shop in spite of the fact Paige is Martha’s daughter and Martha is doing everything she can to shut Addie down and force her out of business.

There is almost too much happening within the world of this one book. It abounds with secret staircases, hidden drawers in furniture and connections that are revealed at the convenient time for Addie and/or Marc to further their investigation. Often the dialog and writing comes across as more suited to the young adult reader. The final chapters are written in a way to summarize all that has taken place within the book, some of it having been telegraphed early on and some of it being revealed through the sudden appearance of knowledge that gives the results away.

It is hard to believe that Marc, chief of police, would involve Addie in crime scene investigation on one hand and then insist she stay out of it because she is an amature on the other. Throughout the book there is a constant shift between Marc being stern and business like only to have his look soften in the next paragraph as he gives in to Addie’s desire to be involved in learning why she is being targeted through break-ins and threatening occurrences.

In summary, the book reads more like a very light romance/relationship novel with a mystery component than an in-depth mystery that offers some relationship building. It is probably best suited for the reader who is interested in the personal lives of the characters and how they relate to one another.
Profile Image for Kim Kaso.
298 reviews59 followers
November 8, 2018
This was a light, fairly fast, mostly fun read, but very much a novice writer. Too many bitten lips & putting of a strand of hair behind an ear on the romance side, it called attention to itself and made the romantic scenes feel clunky to me. I liked the bookstore & the rare books aspect, the small town politics felt like one more layer complicating things. Many of the characters were stock, stereotypical without clear motivation or depth. I wanted to like this book more than I did, I thought New England & bookstores would be right up my alley, but the author needs to hone her writing & could use some time with an editor.
99 reviews1 follower
November 5, 2018
What an over the top, drama laden book! The main character, Addie, is a case study in a number of psychological issues including co-dependency. She is whiny, clingy and imposing on people who she hasn’t known for 5 minutes. Overshare does not appear to be a word in her vocabulary – but it certainly needs to be. The supposition of the story is that Addie has been in town long enough to completely make over a business property and set up a store, yet she knows no one in town – no one. It takes place in a town where no crime ever happens, but suddenly everyone is sneaky, evil, out to get Addie and – way beyond belief. And only goes downhill FAST from there!

This was a painful read. I would suggest rethinking how real people actually function in the world. This book sure isn’t it. The story is unbelievable on the whole to the point of being incredibly annoying.
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,292 reviews263 followers
November 24, 2019
Murder by the Book was a pleasant start to the Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery series with its charming setting and compelling mystery.

After her fiancé is murdered and her father dies in a car accident, Addie Greyborne is ready for a change. When she receives an unexpected inheritance from her great aunt, Addie leaves Boston behind for the quaint seaside town of Greyborne Harbor where she uses the book collection left to her by her aunt to open a used bookstore. Once her store is up and running, Addie quickly makes friends with Serena who owns a tea shop next door to Addie’s. But when Serena is accused of murdering another local merchant, Addie knows she’s innocent and vows to find the real killer and clear Serena’s name.

The mystery in this book is solid and in my opinion the best aspect of the book. I found myself second guessing everyone Addie came into contact with wondering if they were the ones following her and breaking into her home and bookstore. Add in the murder Serena was accused of and I found myself not trusting anybody. I enjoyed the investigative techniques Addie used, particularly the murder board, as unlike most of the cozies I’ve read she doesn’t have a wide variety of contacts yet to get information from. Ultimately I did end up guessing the culprit prior to the big reveal, but it was still cleverly done with a few surprises thrown in.

Addie is incredibly knowledgeable about books and I loved her enthusiasm for her work. It’s clear she greatly enjoyed the investigative aspects of her time spent at the Boston Public Library and her stint at the British Museum. My one complaint about Addie as a character is how much she doesn’t keep her word and how she creates inventive ways to get around her promises. I understand in cozies that usually the main character is investigating against police wishes, but the amount of times she lies to Marc (the police chief and Serena’s brother) grated after a while when it became clear he was a potential love interest for her.

The author does a great job creating that small town feeling particularly with the town residents which includes quite a few busybodies. One of the things I didn’t enjoy about the book though was the abrupt start and Addie instantly making an enemy and a best friend. Addie has been in town for a few months and has been busy with preparing her bookstore, but she never talks to any other town residents and only meets everyone for the first time the day she opens her store. I had a bit of a hard time buying Martha’s intense hatred of her on sight as well as the immediate closeness Addie has with Serena. I wish the author had shown Addie preparing to open her store and having her build a friendship with Serena over time.

Despite not completely loving Murder by the Book, I still found it to be an enjoyable read and I think the series holds promise. I’ll definitely be checking out future books in the series and I’m excited to see what the characters get up to next.

**I received an advance copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**
Profile Image for Gloria.
802 reviews58 followers
November 12, 2018
I was pulled into this story from the beginning and it kept me interested to the end. Addie Grey has background working with rare books with the Boston Public Library and even worked in London for six months in a work exchange at the British Museum. She moved to Greyborne Harbor after her aunt died leaving her Greyborne Manor, her aunt's large estate. Addie has recently lost her boyfriend David, who was murdered and her father to a car accident so she has no family. With her love of rare books and antiquities, she opened a bookstore, Beyond the Page, selling rare books and collectibles. Her first day starts off badly when someone tries to run her down in a black sedan, her shop is broken into and later, her home is broken into. She quickly makes friends with the owner of SerenaTEA, a tea shop next door, Serena, who calls her brother, Chief of Police, Marc, to the scene. This is fast paced and it becomes obvious that someone thinks that Addie has something of value that they want. She doesn't have a clue what that would be but the culprits won't let anyone get in their way as murders start happening and someone in a black sedan follows her around even sitting outside her home. The mystery goes deeper than anyone thought, is far-reaching and bigger than one would expect. Thankfully, she has Serena and Marc to help her get through all the stressful events. This is a great whodunit, first in the series, and I am looking forward to the next book in the series.
I received a complimentary ARC from Kensington Publishing through NetGalley. The thoughts and opinions stated are mine only.
Profile Image for PugMom.
494 reviews3 followers
November 20, 2018
Great first in series! I am eager to read more by this author.
Profile Image for Fred.
943 reviews38 followers
October 14, 2018
Murder By The Book is the first book in the A Beyond The Page Bookstore Mystery series.

After Addison Greyborne’s father dies in an automobile accident and her fiance is murdered. She has inherited her aunt’s home and extensive book collection and decides to move to Greyborne and with the extensive book collection, her aunt had she decides to open the Beyond The Page – Books & Curios store. But bad luck is continuing to follow Addie, as she’s heading to her store for the first time she is nearly run down by a speeding automobile. As Addie is straightening item in the store, Serena who has SerenaTEAS shop a few doors down the street comes in to welcome Addie. While they are discussing their shops, there is a disturbance out back and when they check what it was they encounter Martha who owns the bakery next to Addie’s who says someone with a crowbar was trying to get in Addie’s store. When Addie goes back into her store, she finds that it has been vandalized. Later she gets a message from Blaine Fielding, owner of the local department store asking her to come over. As she is heading across the street, Serena is being led out of the store be her brother, Marc who is also the police chief, in handcuffs. Fielding had been killed and Serena had been found holding the murder weapon.
Soon, there are also break-ins at her home too. Addie doesn’t feel that Serena is guilty and wants to clear Serena’s name. After some reflection, Addie begins to wonder if she wasn’t the one meant to find Fielding and to be framed for his murder. She soon believes that there must be something valuable enough hidden somewhere that is worth killing for and getting her out of town.

I found this to be a very interesting new series and there are a couple of other subplots, that if I would discuss, would take away from the mystery itself. I felt that the story was well written and had an interesting cast of characters. I’ll be looking forward to learning more about Serena, Addie, and her possible romantic interest with Marc.

I will be watching for the next book in this interesting new series.
Profile Image for Viola.
335 reviews48 followers
July 13, 2019
Viegla lasāmviela,kad ir vēlme atpūtināt smadzenes. Šo cozy detective gan izvēlējos tāpēc,ka darbība notiek lietoto grāmatu veikaliņā. Ir jau arī pa kādai klišejai,bet kopumā nav slikts žanra pārstāvis. Bonuss punkti par reto grāmatu pieminēšanu un crazy cat lady iesaistīšanu.
Profile Image for Peggy R.
1,012 reviews66 followers
October 23, 2018
This is the debut cozy mystery for Lauren Elliott in the Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery series. I think the series and the author have promise. Addie Greyborne is a likable protagonist. She is observant, independent and looking for a place to heal from a number of tragedies that she has suffered. The secondary cast of characters is well developed and likable as well. The mystery is woven throughout the story but there is so much going on at times it is a little overwhelming just how many people and incidents are connected to the mystery. Amateur sleuths are bread and butter of the cozy mystery genre but in this book it felt odd to see the police take an amateur sleuth and someone involved with the incidents occurring to an active crime scene.

I liked the characters, setting and writing style of this author. I think the series has promise but would like to see a bit more tightening on the mystery aspect of the story and something that is not quite so involved for the next book.

I voluntarily read an advanced review copy provided to me by the author.
Profile Image for Shirley Chapel.
556 reviews72 followers
May 2, 2020
Good mystery,if they had just left out the cussing that was sprinkled through out the book. There was about three murders and one or two attempted murders. I lost track. At the end of the book it took forever to explain why the murders were committed and who was who. It just dragged on and on. Will I read the other books in this series? Probably not. This one was quite enough, thank you!
If you're into mystery and the occasional cuss words doesn't bother you than you'll probably like this book.
I downloaded a Kindle ebook copy of this book from Amazon. A review was not requested. All opinions expressed here are my own thoughts about the book.
Profile Image for Madeline .
1,627 reviews122 followers
July 2, 2022
Too much face scrubbing, rubbing one’s own neck, and hair placed behind ears.

And way too much eyeball rolling from the reader…
Profile Image for Doward Wilson.
752 reviews11 followers
November 28, 2018
Meet Addie Greyborne, former rare books librarian at the Boston Public Library. After an unexpected inheritance from an aunt she never knew and the murder of her fiance, Addie moves to the small New England town that her family founded. Among the things left to her by her aunt was Greyborne Manor and a huge collection of books, many of them first editions, which prompts her to open an used book store. From opening day of business at "Beyond the Page-Books & Curios," Addie has break-ins at both the shop and home. When a murder occurs and her new best friend is the prime suspect, Addie knows the murder and break-ins are tied together.

An outstanding first book in a new series. I found the characters to be well defined and relatable. The background and setting are done well. The murder and break-ins lead you on a twisted path that will keep you turning the pages and guessing right to the surprise ending. I highly recommend this book to all cozy and mystery readers. I am impatient for the next book to come out!
Profile Image for Tari.
2,144 reviews68 followers
December 6, 2018
This was a fairly complex mystery that took place in one of my favorite places, a bookstore! There was even some international intrigue, possible arts/books/antiquities smuggling and everyone seemed to have secrets in Greyborne Harbor where Addie had just opened her used bookstore, Beyond the Page. It was nice that she was able to make a good friend right away that she could count on, because some of the town merchants didn't seem to trust her and thought she'd brought crime in from Boston when she came to town.

A couple of murders later, one of which is first blamed on Addie's new friend Serena, who happens to be the younger sister of handsome detective Marc Chandler, and Addie is filling out a murder board with suspects. Marc seemed incredibly patient with her compared to some detectives in stories I've read, but that added to the special cozy factor that he really liked her. I think that now she's gotten closure on her fiance's murder, maybe she'll feel she can move on, since by the end of the book, she and Marc were in a little bit better place as friends.

I'd had an idea of who did it, but honestly didn't know why, it was just a random thought that turned out to be right. In some places there was quite a bit more description or chatty dialogue than I'm used to, but it didn't really detract from the mystery and it compelled me to keep reading. I'm definitely interested in reading the next book--there was a little blurb at the end of this one that made it sound really enticing!
Profile Image for VickiLee.
964 reviews1 follower
March 8, 2020
Addie lost her father in an accident, her fiancée was murdered, but her great aunt left her a generous inheritance so she moved to a small New England town. From day one, nasty things start happening to Addie, from nearly being run down by a car, having her shop vandalized and dozens of other mishaps. I suppose the pleasure people get from cozy mysteries is the bad things that happen are not steeped in brutality or over the top violence.

One thing that irritated me was the character of Addie, who often seemed to behave like a child rather than a woman. I believe the author meant for her to be charming but I didn’t see her that way. She acts silly and playfully slaps at someone’s arm, bites her lip when stressed, has spontaneous temper tantrums, and in spite of her purported wisdom about books, she seems not very well informed.

So, this was a simple book with oodles of characters and story lines, certain to please cozy lovers.
Profile Image for Lucinda Race.
Author 44 books516 followers
December 20, 2021
This is my first book by Lauren Elliott but it won't be my last. I was pulled in from the first mention of the black Honda and I'm usually pretty good at figuring it out who dunnit but this book had me guessing almost until the end. Looking forward to the next book in the series.
Profile Image for Annie.
314 reviews7 followers
January 2, 2023
This book held a lot of promise: cosy mystery set in a bookshop with some appealing-sounding characters. Unfortunately, that's as far as it got. I struggled my way through this first-in-a-new-series book, nearly giving up at one point (around the 30% mark).

Addie Greyborne is left an inheritance by a great-aunt that she's never met, in a town that she's never been to but which bears her name. Addie has lost her fiancé, her father and her great-aunt to accidents, all within a very short span of time, and this inheritance allows her to up stakes from Boston and move to the idyllic seaside town of Greyborne. Within a month of arriving, she has bought, renovated and opened a bookstore which sells rare and first-edition books and bric-a-brac (and offers 'pod' coffee for patrons - Keurig or the like, I imagine. Wasteful. Also? Coffee - well, any food or liquid really - in a bookstore devoted to FIRST EDITIONS? Yikes.) The idea for this came from the discovery of her great-aunt's large library of old books, some of which turned out to be quite valuable.

This could have been a good book. Addie is a rare book expert, and had worked at the British Museum in London, and was the resident rare book expert at the Boston Public Library. This is a new and unique career for a cosy mystery MC and has so much potential. Unfortunately, it's not really explored or used to its full potential in this book.

Despite having been in Greyborne for a few weeks, Addie knows no one, but on her first day of business is more or less insta-BFFs with the tea shop owner, Serena, on one side, and has a sworn enemy in Martha, the baker on the other side. It is never really clear why Martha takes an instant dislike to her, and the thread of petitions and visits by angry business owners, initiated by Martha, to have Addie's shop closed simply tapers off and is never resolved.

The story is good. The characters not so much. There is a lot of crossing of arms, tapping of toes, rushing, dashing, racing, screeching of tires, brushing of hair off faces, tapping of fingers on noses and winking. So. Much. Winking. (Please, it's creepy. Don't do the winking). Addie randomly hires someone who just happens to be Martha's daughter, creating even more tension between them, although apart from plenty of glares, there isn't much interaction between the two of them anyway. Addie is absent from her business a lot, pursuing clues for an investigation she essentially batted her eyelashes to get into. This leaves the new girl, conveniently able to more or less immediately soak up all aspects of running the business, pretty much entirely on her own most days.

The chief of police, Marc, is Serena's brother and there are some very questionable police procedures. Marc arrests his own sister and does not recuse himself from the investigation, despite it centring on Serena. He allows Addie to go to crime scenes with him, remove evidence after promising to return it, discusses the case with her, and is so keen to show off to her that he even mixes up his degrees of murder.

This could have been a good story. The ideas are there, the mystery is actually quite good, but it was just poorly executed (oh, see what I did there?). A couple more serious edits would have been extremely helpful. I didn't hate it, but I won't be in a hurry to read the second book in the series either. It was overall disappointing.

Thank you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for the ARC to read and review. All opinions are strictly my own.
Profile Image for Betty.
2,006 reviews50 followers
October 1, 2018
The first in a new series and new author for me. The story starts out with a lot of action but the narrative did not flow smoothly making difficult to follow at times. The number of characters introduced made it hard to follow the main line and needed more development. A lot of time was spent on the backstory. At one time I felt for the MC because of all the negative events that were occurring around her. There were things that occurred that I question.
After the death of finance and Father, Addie Greyborne learned that unknown aunt has died and left her estate. Addie moved to the small coastal town where she learned that the town was named after her relatives. She discovered a number of rare books as more than enough books to open a bookstore. The first day she is open events occur causing her problems. Eddie made a friend and an enemy that day.. A bank official is a murder and her friend is accused of his murder. The story takes a major turn here and several unpleasant incidents occur before Addie's life is close to normal again. Addie needs answers before she joins her boyfriend and Father in death. I recommend this book.

Disclosure: Many thanks to Kensington Books for a review copy. The opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Trina (aNovelReader).
176 reviews26 followers
October 15, 2019
Any cozy mystery with a plot that involves a bookstore plus an old mansion are my favorite combination. Why then did I have trouble getting past the first chapter? I literally started this book three times and each time found the story line flat and the characters irritating. The main character, Addie, just opened a rare bookstore and one neighboring business owner immediately hates her and the other becomes her instant best friend. What? Addie confides in her new best friend that her fiance was murdered a year ago, her dad died in a mysterious car accident after that and her recently deceased aunt left her an old mansion in a town named after her. Wait, what? Too much, too soon. Where's the grief? Someone then tries to vandalize her store then breaks into her house. She calls 911 and the cops show up without their sirens so Addie doesn't even know they are there. Addie hears the getaway car leave but the cops don't. Really? The cops search the house while Addie is still in it..."clear, clear, clear." Reads like a first draft and with some editing this could turn into something enjoyable. As is, it was too excruciating and I couldn't make it past the 10% mark.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Doreen Petersen.
717 reviews107 followers
August 20, 2020
What a wonderful new cozy mystery series I've discovered! I absolutely loved it! Already started on the second book in this series.
Profile Image for Rae (Bookmark Chronicles).
241 reviews45 followers
October 22, 2021

This was my first time reading a cozy mystery and unfortunately this was not the one for me. I feel like this genre is typically predictable and whatnot so I had no problem with that. However, I really disliked the main character and the way that she was constantly overstepping boundaries and snapping at people who didn't deserve it. I also assume that some amateur sleuthing is to be expected as well but there were times where something was incredibly obvious and the characters are like "but what does it mean???"
I also did not believe the romance AT ALL
Profile Image for The Sassy Bookworm.
3,318 reviews2,283 followers
October 21, 2018


description I enjoyed this book quite a lot. It had a few issues here and there that ultimately affected my rating, but overall it was a pretty decent read. The mystery was fantastically written and definitely the high point of the book. It certainly had me guessing right until the end. I also enjoyed the small town setting. It also had great secondary characters. 


That said, it started out a bit rough with the author seemingly jumping into the story with both feet when I felt we needed a bit more buildup and fleshing out. For example, how did Addie spend months getting her bookstore set up with NEVER meeting another human being in the town? Especially Serena or Martha (her neighbors)? Martha, precisely because she seemed to be this over the top busybody that would have been over poking her nose in Addie's business first chance she got? There were also a few times here and there where the writing felt a bit clunky. 

My only other issue was Addie herself. She came across quite b!tchy at times. Specifically when it came to her interactions with Marc. To be honest, I am not really a fan of budding romances in cozy mysteries. If the heroine is going to have a romantic entanglement I prefer it to be one that is already established and on solid ground. If I wanted to read romance angst, I would read a romance book. So a bit of a mixed bag with this one, but overall I enjoyed it enough to check out the next book in the series. description



Profile Image for JoAn.
2,061 reviews1 follower
September 2, 2018
Murder by the Book by Lauren Elliott was an engaging beginning to a new cozy series that I had difficulty putting down.

I thought Addie was a very strong and resourceful young woman who has managed to keep moving forward in spite of the tragedies in her past. Her new friend, Serena, totally captured me with her positive attitude and her friendship to Addie. I thought Ms. Elliott's descriptive writing introduced reader to the lovely small New England town. I would love to visit this seaside town and see it for myself. The characters are beginning to develop and only left me wanting to get to know them better - well, except for Martha who runs the bakery. I'll take a pass on meeting her. The plot was skillfully paced with turns, twists and red herrings that kept me turning the pages. I was totally rocked by the reveal as I never saw it coming. A great beginning to what I hope is the start of a long running cozy series.

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from Kensington via NetGalley. All of the above opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Dana-Adriana B..
634 reviews265 followers
October 30, 2018
Thank you to the publisher via Netgalley for giving me an ARC of this book.
This is a Small-Town cozy mystery with lots of coffee cups. It's an easy read and the characters were well written. I do look forward to reading the next one in this new series.
Profile Image for Mallory.
1,045 reviews63 followers
November 29, 2020
This is the first in a cozy mystery series that is totally up my alley (who wouldn’t love an amateur sleuth running a bookstore?). This book took me a little bit to push through and I did feel the story lagged in times. I also felt like the main characters formed deep relationships too quickly and it felt a little forced. That being said I love the main character, Addie, and I think she has a lot of potential and I can’t wait to read the others in this series (in fact I started with the most recent one and loved it, so I know I love this series). The mystery was full of lots of twists and its as a pretty complex plot connecting lots of events. I love the literary references and really enjoy that a classic is highlighted in each book.
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