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The Novel Art of Murder

(Mystery Bookshop #3)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  591 ratings  ·  121 reviews
Mystery bookstore owner Samantha Washington is trying to keep her grandmother from spending her golden years in an orange jumpsuit . . .

The small town of North Harbor, Michigan, is just not big enough for the two of them: flamboyant phony Maria Romanov and feisty Nana Jo. The insufferable Maria claims she's descended from Russian royalty and even had a fling with King Edw
Paperback, 291 pages
Published November 27th 2018 by Kensington Publishing Corporation
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2019
Dollycas’s Thoughts

We are back in North Harbor, Michigan just in time for Samantha Washington’s Nana Jo to become a murder suspect. It seems her usual part in the Shady Acres Senior Follies has been given to Maria Romanov, a woman of questionable character. Said to be descended from Russian Royalty and a great actress, Nana Jo knows the woman is a phony. As soon as others hear her sing, they know it too. Nana Jo tries to take the woman to task publically so when Maria ends up dead, Nana Jo’s fat
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Novel Art of Murder was another wonderful installment in the Mystery Bookshop cozy series and I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Every year mystery bookstore owner Samantha Washington's Nana Jo is cast in the leading role in the Shady Acres Senior Follies, the production from the local retirement village. But this year flamboyant Maria Romanov lands the role despite being a terrible actress causing Nana Jo to lay into her in front of everyone. When Maria turns up dead a few hours later, Nana Jo become
Miss W Book Reviews
The Novel Art of Murder is Book 3 in the Mystery Bookshop Series.
Firstly, I LOVE BOOKS ABOUT BOOKS! I also really enjoy the senior citizen
characters who have not only one, but two murders on their hands to solve
at Shady Acres.

The mystery is so well done, with a murderer I did not see coming.

I really enjoy the Mystery Bookshop Series with such likeable characters and a great plot.

This is a stand alone story, but the first two books are equally as fantastic, so go read those TOO!!!
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, cozy-mystery
The Novel Art of Murder by V.M. Burns is book three in her Mystery Bookshop series and captured my attention from the first page.

I confess that I love this series and am always excited when another book is ready for release. Ms. Burns' writing is descriptive and her characters are realistic, likable and quirky which adds to the fun as I read. I am also a fan of historical cozy mysteries so I get two for one with this series.

The plot moved quickly with plenty twists, clues and red herrings to kee
Peggy R
This is the third book in a fun series that I would highly recommend. The writing is descriptive and flows nicely. The characters are intelligent, diverse and a bit quirky. What I really like most about the characters is that many of the secondary characters are all friends from the Shady Acres retirement facility. The author does a terrific job of depicting these ladies as funny, vibrant, intelligent and still with purpose. They have life experience and it comes in handy when there is a murder ...more
This series was SO good to begin with, but if you can believe it, it keeps getting better! This one had all the senior sleuth friends playing fairly equal parts, along with a new retired judge friend.

When a murder at Nana Jo's retirement community points to none other than Nana Jo herself, Sam had more than a vested interest in solving this case. She even appealed to Det. "Stinky" Pitt that if they worked together and shared information, she could guarantee him the killer before Thanksgiving. H
Jessica Robbins
*I received a free copy of this book which I voluntarily chose to write an honest review for.

As the third installment to this adorable series we are familiar with the characters and if you have not read the other two that is okay too as they each come to life all on their own as the story progresses showing their distinct personalities which are hoot to say the least. We have a fairly recent widow surrounded by a group of seniors that are very busy in their day to day lives at their community wh
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the third book in the series, and my favourite so far!
The main character is also a writer, so there is a bonus in that there are two mysteries to solve within the book, which is a bonus and not a distraction from either story.
The mysteries were well written and kept me guessing!
I especially enjoy the senior citizens, who were written as smart, full of life and entertaining.
I look forward to reading the next in the series.
I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.
Oct 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the chance to read this book!

I have an odd relationship with this series, because while I enjoy the antics that Samantha and Nana Jo get up to, I could do without the Regency mystery that is told alongside the main story. I mean, I get WHY it's there, but I don't have to like it as much. I feel like it's too simple or something, I just don't know. But I did like the mystery of the two murders, and I like the dynamics developing with all of the interes
Nov 27, 2018 marked it as to-read
The Novel Art of Murder by V. M. Burns is the 3rd book in the Mystery Bookshop series, and it is becoming one of my favorites. Samantha Washington owns Market Street Mysteries bookstore in North Harbor, Michigan. Nana Jo always plays the lead in the Shady Acres Senior Follies, but this year Maria Romanov gets the part. After a loud fight between Nana Jo and Maria, Maria is found dead and Nana Joe is the prime suspect. Sam is determined to find the real killer, and the sleuthing begins. This book ...more
Lisa Morin
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Novel Art of Murder is a fun and colorful addition to the series.
I immediately connected with the characters and this story kept me engaged from beginning to end.
The story was well told and provided plenty of twists and turns to keep me guessing.
I volunteered to read and review an ARC of this book provided by the publisher and NetGalley.
RO G'ma
The Novel Art of Murder is the third in V. M. Burns’ Mystery Bookshop series. This is an entertaining read with a great cast of characters and an interesting mystery. The storyline is well plotted and flows at a steady pace, with situations where I found myself laughing out loud, and lots of twists, clues, and red herrings to keep me guessing. The well-developed characters are likable, diverse, fun, although somewhat quirky, and the main character is writing a mystery book that is included withi ...more
Carrie Schmidt (Reading is My SuperPower)
This is my first book by V.M. Burns and it won’t be my last! While this is the third in the series, it can easily be read as a standalone – but I’m totally going to go back and read the first two books at my earliest opportunity.

Samantha “Sam” is a great heroine, someone you’d like to have as a friend for sure. Not only does she run a successful mystery bookstore but she also gets to carry out her dream of writing. I loved how Sam uses the events in the story we’re reading to parallel things in
First of all, this cover is adorable! I love how the artist personalized the two poodles, and made them very different in character. Wonderfully illustrated! Second, it's wonderful to read how strongly these ladies are connected. Samantha Winston, bookstore owner and widow; her grandmother Nano Jo; and the friends of Nana Jo's who all live at the retirement complex; plus Nana Jo's retired police officer boyfriend and Sam's new boyfriend with the mysterious past (possibly covert government agency ...more
VaLinda Miller
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the third book in the series about widower Samantha, who owns a mystery bookstore while solving murders. You know why I really love this book, it's by an African American woman author, it's about a bookstore owner, the grandmother, who knows how to use a gun and can do karate, with her very intelligent and funny retirement friends, show you how a real murder is solved and it doesn’t matter the age. Agatha Christie would be proud. It's funny and you don't have cute until way later in the ...more
May 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the third book in the series, and it is just as sweet and entertaining as the previous two! I cannot recommend this series enough. It is a light-hearted, funny, clever, and well-written series with fantastically quirky characters. How many series have senior citizens as the main hero? If you haven't read these books I would highly recommend them for a cozy weekend read. ...more
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cozies
It's a cute story whose characters remind me of some of my older relatives then they were still around. ...more
The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears
I'm really hooked on these and despite how annoying I still find the lack of description for Samantha (still am envisioning Octavia Spencer and will continue to do so until someone stops playing footsie because they don't believe readers will believe a Black woman as accidental sleuth), I find the intertwined classic English mystery and the modern story very clever. I'm also a big fan of the Sexy Seniors Sleuths, lol (not what they're really called but what I think of them). Thankfully Samantha ...more
Janet Graham
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cozy Mystery Within a Mystery
This is another episode in the Mystery Bookshop series. The book is actually a mystery inside a mystery. Our heroine is attempting to solve a real-life crime while she is also writing a murder mystery. As readers, we get to enjoy 2 developing stories and solve 2 mysteries. It is such fun! The plot is tight with plenty of suspects and motives in both stories. All of the characters are well developed. This is the first of this series that I have read and it makes me wa
Robin Rider
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
#65 I love books about books, bookstores, in other words, all things tomes and The Novel Art of Murder by V. M. Burns certainly fills the bill. Part of the Mystery Bookshop series, this cozy includes a cast of endearing senior citizens who must solve not one, but two murders at Shady Acres. The information about Operation Paperclip was fascinating. Release date November 27.
Bobbie Kirkland
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received a free copy of THE NOVEL ART OF MURDER (Book 3 of the Mystery Bookshop Mysteries) by V.M. Burns in exchange for an honest review. Samantha Washington is close to her grandmother and her grandmother’s friends. When a woman her grandmother recently argued with and threatened is murdered in a locked room, Nana Jo is the primary suspect. Sam is able to cut a deal with the detective; she’ll find the murderer by Thanksgiving and give him the credit, or he can arrest her grandmother. When on ...more
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Novel Art Of Murder is the third book in the A Mystery Bookshop Mystery series.

I enjoyed another visit with Samantha(Sam), her grandmother Nana-Jo, and Nana-Jo’s “posse” from the retirement community.

Nana-Jo is mad enough to spit nails as this story starts. Nana-Jo has played the lead in the Shady Acres Senior Follies for the last ten years. But this year the lead role has been given to Maria Romanov. Nana-Jo and her posse just don’t understand, as Maria can’t carry a tune in a bushel basket.
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: burns
The Novel Art of Murder (Mystery Bookshop, #3) by V.M. Burns.

This is the 3rd in this series and my 3rd. Nana Jo is furious to put it lightly that she wasn't given her usual role in the Shady Acres Senior follies. A role that was tailor-made for her and which she has had for the past several years. Her role has been given to a total stranger, someone from who knows where. Maria Romanov was outrageous and gaudy to boot. Her acting skills didn't exist as Nana Jo watched from the audience and Maria'
Jeanie Jackson
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I adore the characters in this series and The Novel Art of Murder. Ms. Burns does a beautiful job of allow even the secondary characters to shine. The bookshop workers and their friends are the stars of the book even though none of them are the primary suspect this time. In fact, things at the bookshop are going great but the same can't be said for the retirement village our favorite seniors live in. History from as far back as World War II and as recent as the last decade come into play when a ...more
Some series start to fade a bit by book three but this series just keeps getting better. Sam and her grandmother, Nana Jo are two people I would love to have as family. Add to that Sam's bookstore and the books she writes, well, I just want to climb into the book and stay there. I read this one on a rainy afternoon, sitting in my comfy chair with a big mug of tea - pure bliss.
This time Nana Jo is the prime suspect when somebody else takes center stage with the leading role in the Shady Acres Sen
V.M. Burns' The Novel Art of Murder is the 3rd charming book in her Mystery Bookshop series about widow Samantha Washington, her grandmother, and Nana Jo's band of senior sleuths. Murder hits a little too close to home for Sam when Nana Jo is a suspect in the untimely death of a resident in her retirement community. Poison, blackmail, Nazis, and priceless stolen artwork all feature in this very cozy mystery, and Ms. Burns has once again included snippets of the delightful English cozy that Sam i ...more
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In, The Novel Art of Murder, book 3, we welcome back Sam (Samantha) Wainwright along with her Nana Jo and a remarkable cast of characters, mostly Nana Jo’s senior posse, from the previous books. I really admire these characters and have fallen in love with them. I am beginning to feel as if they are a part of my family, and I cannot wait to hear from them again.

In this story, Sam must try to save her Nana Jo from being taken in as a murderer. Each year Nana Jo has a lead in the Senior Community’
Amanie Johal
Aaaaaah I'm so torn!

On one hand, I'm loving the mystery side of this novel, and am even enjoying the book-within-the-book as well. On the other, this is the second book in a row where the victim (Maria) was some "floozy" that Nana Jo and the crew could slut-shame!

I'd understand it if they were all uppity, conservative old women who can't get with the times (I wouldn't agree with it, but at least it would make sense), but they're mostly sexually liberated old women with active sex lives who judge
Julie Trapp
Oct 22, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021-books
The small town of North Harbor, Michigan, is just not big enough for the two of them: flamboyant phony Maria Romanov and feisty Nana Jo. The insufferable Maria claims she's descended from Russian royalty and even had a fling with King Edward VIII back in the day. She’s not just a lousy liar, she's a bad actress, so when she nabs the lead in the Shady Acres Senior Follies—a part Nana Jo plays every year in their retirement village production—Nana Jo blows a gasket and reads her the riot act in fr ...more
Angel White (Bookn.All.Night)
Nana Jo finds herself in hot water as a rival actress in the Shady Acres Senior Follies ends up dead. Nana Jo was seen and heard arguing and threatening this rival and she soon becomes the primary suspect.

Soon after, another resident of Shady Acres ends up dead and it looks like the murders are connected.

With Detective Pitt on the prowl to make an arrest it looks like Sam and the Sleuthing Senior Book Club have their work cut out for them. Can they save Nana Jo in time?

This is such a fun series.
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See top shelves…
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 Northern Georgia with her poodles. Her debut novel, The Plot is Murder was nominated for a 2017 Agatha Award

Other books in the series

Mystery Bookshop (8 books)
  • The Plot Is Murder (Mystery Bookshop, #1)
  • Read Herring Hunt (Mystery Bookshop, #2)
  • 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)
  • Bookclubbed to Death (Mystery Bookshop #8)

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