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Mystery Bookshop #4

Wed, Read & Dead

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Bookstore owner Samantha Washington sells and solves mysteries in North Harbor, Michigan--including the murder of her mother's wedding planner . . .

Sam's mother can't wait to wed her wealthy beau, Harold Robertson. The big mystery is how they're going to pull off a lavish wedding in three weeks. Harold's snobby sister-in-law proposes a solution: engage flamboyant wedding planner Lydia Lighthouse. But their beacon of hope quickly sends everyone into a blind rage, most of all the groom-to-be. So when the maddening micromanager is strangled with her own scarf, it's a shock, but not a surprise.

It's a case of art imitating life as Sam pens her next historical mystery set in England between the wars. Lady Daphne Marsh insists on marrying Lord James Browning on Christmas Eve, three weeks hence. But when the fop planning their wedding ends up with a knife in his back, she vows to nab the backstabber before she walks down the aisle.

Meanwhile, when she's not writing, Sam and her beloved and boisterous Nana Jo rush to shine a light on Lydia's killer--so her mother's new husband won't spend his honeymoon behind bars . . .

272 pages, Kindle Edition

First published April 30, 2019

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About the author

V.M. Burns

17 books987 followers
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 for Best First Novel. Her short story, "The Vermeer Conspiracy" was nominated for an Edgar Award in 2022. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Crime Writers Association, and Sisters in Crime. Readers can learn more by visiting her website at vmburns.com.

Contact Info: author@vmburns.com

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 146 reviews
Profile Image for LORI CASWELL.
2,352 reviews268 followers
May 4, 2019
Dollycas’s Thoughts

Wedding bells will soon be ringing for Samantha’s mom Grace who is set to be married on Christmas Eve to Harold Robertson. With just 3 weeks to make all the arrangements including the dresses for the bride and her daughters who will be her bridesmaids. The family gets together to meet the groom’s family and go over details. That is when his sister-in-law reveals her gift of a wedding planner even as she degrades the bride feeling she is not good enough for her brother-in-law. The wedding planner makes her grand entrance. Lydia Lighthouse flaunts all the lavish wedding she has planned. But her ideas fall short of what the couple wants and come with huge price tags. The groom can certainly afford them but when the planner continues with her plan ignoring Grace, her betrothed becomes livid. Later when Lydia is found dead no one is really shocked but when Harold is named the main suspect, Sam, Nana Jo, and the Sleuthing Seniors gather and use all their resources to find the killer.

Sam also opens her home to some special guests and works on her next book which also features a wedding. It takes place in England in 1938 at the home of Lord William March. And it includes a murder too.

What a fabulous book!

The first chapter was so funny. I was laughing out loud. Things get serious after that but Ms. Burns laces her mysteries with humor and I love that.

The characters in this story are so well crafted. From the youngsters to the seniors and everyone in between. There is a real sense of family in this story. A family that is so inclusive of not just blood relatives but the people that have been brought together through life choices and chances. It warms my heart to witness how Sam and Nana Jo open their hearts to others and how it expounds from there. This group of people comes together for all occasions even to solve a murder. Some investigate, some keep the bookstore going so Sam can pursue leads, while others try to get the wedding plans under control.

Two characters that always steal my heart are Sam’s toy poodles, Snickers, and Oreo. I too have 2 dogs, not poodles, but border collie mixes, one who happens to be named Oreo. In this story, we learn how much Sam’s Oreo enjoyed playing in the snow. His snowful joy mirrored my Oreo perfectly. Snickers doesn’t like the snow much at all and that behavior mirrored my other dog Nerabelle too. It was almost as if Ms. Burns had visited us.

The story includes two mysteries and I love that Sam uses her writing to settle her mind to ponder the clues in her real-life mystery. Both are well-plotted with great twists and turns. New readers to this series will have to get used to the switching back and forth from present day to Sam’s historical mystery but now look forward to it. In fact, I can’t wait for the parallel storyline to start.

Engaging and fun characters, two intriguing mysteries, romance that doesn’t go too far, and great dialogue all make this story so entertaining. I love the bookshop setting too!

I have enjoyed every book in this series and in Ms. Burns Dog Club Mysteries too. So much so, the last book in this series, The Novel Art of Murder was the first book this year to have a place on my Best Reads List for 2019. This book will join it as it now is my favorite book in this series. I can’t wait for the next one!
Profile Image for Lisa Ks Book Reviews.
843 reviews105 followers
May 1, 2019
This is the first book I’ve read in the Mystery Bookshop series, and I have no idea why! I have known of the books, and if I check my TBR I’m sure I have the others there. Well, better late than never they say. But oh, the time I have wasted!

From the very first page of WED, READ & DEAD, I enjoyed the flow of the story. Yes. The first page. Can’t you just tell when you start a book rather or not it’s the one for you? I can. The words just seem natural and, well, flowing. Author V.M. Burns certainly has that style of writing I seek out.

From the characters, the location, the theme, and of course the mystery, I can’t find one bad thing to say about WED, READ & DEAD. The wonderfully twisty plot held me captive until the reveal. We’ll I’ve read in some reviews that those readers solved it easily, I myself didn’t see it coming. I love that protagonist Samantha Washington owns a mystery bookstore. It is a dream of mine. I also like that the character is writing a cozy mystery, and we get to read it as well! Kudos to author Burns for writing a book within this book!

I could spend all day listing positive adjectives about WED, READ & DEAD. Instead of doing that I’ll just say this. Read. This. Book! Now I’m off to search my TBR for the first three!
Profile Image for JoAn.
2,047 reviews1 follower
May 1, 2019
Wed, Read & Dead by V.M. Burns is the fourth book in her Mystery Bookshop series and was one of those books that grabbed my attention from the first chapter. I laughed so hard at Sam while envisioning her trying on bubble gum pink bridesmaid dresses for her mother's wedding.

I wish there was something new that I could say about Ms. Burns writing that I haven't said previously. It's so much fun to read two mystery stories within one book which Ms. Burns gives us in each book of this series. Her writing is captivating for me. I enjoy her characters and find each one to be friendly and likable. I would love to meet Nana Jo, Dorothy, Ruby Mae and Irma and spend time with them. The plot was tightly woven with just enough clues, twists and suspects that I was guessing almost to the end of the book who might have done it. I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent with Wed, Read & Dead.

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 Dale Harcombe.
Author 12 books288 followers
December 4, 2019
Two and a half stars
Mystery bookshop owner Samantha is in for a trying time. Her mother Grace is marrying her wealthy fiancé Harold Robertson in three weeks. How on earth will they manage to pull together a wedding in that short space of time? Harold’s sister in law who is the most obnoxious snob hires a wedding planner, Lydia Lighthouse. Suddenly the bride is being bypassed on all decisions concerning the wedding, venue, wedding dress guests etc. Lydia manages to upset everyone and most of all the groom who is outraged at her behaviour. When Lydia is found dead, Harold is the prime suspect. It is up to amateur sleuth Sam and her spritely Nana Jo to find the real killer and uncover some secrets along the way.
This started out a light fun cosy read. Some parts are genuinely funny, especially with the bridesmaids dress hunt. I quite liked Sam and her outspoken grandmother. Some of the f the chracters are annoying but they are meant to be. What really got to me was the historical novel Sam was writing and it being interspersed into the narrative. I saw no point to it and it became an annoying distraction. In the end I skipped over those bits. And it pulled my rating down. One piece of information to do with Smaug from the Hobbit was just plain wrong.
I’m not a huge reader of cosy mysteries but the title of this one intrigued me. I thought this book started out better than it finished. It’s a light bit of fun, not to be taken too seriously and neither are some of the over the top characters. Amusing but not sure I’d be tempted to read any more with these characters. However if you are a huge fan of cosy mysteries you may really enjoy it.
Profile Image for Tari.
2,060 reviews66 followers
August 5, 2019
I believe that this is my favorite book in the series so far! I absolutely loved the added story line about the two kids named Lexi and Angelo that showed up while Sam and Nana Jo were investigating the latest murder (with Stinky's immediate blessing no less!). I was pleasantly surprised and happy to find out that this was a Christmas season book too, so it was like getting a Christmas gift.

There was a sneaky little clue that told me right away who the killer was, so I knew before Sam did. Another clue a little later confirmed that I was right. It was a very satisfying showdown when the killer got taken out--you'll never believe who got to do that! (not taken out as in killed, just maimed a little aka bloody nose) ;) I like how different members of the Sleuthing Seniors get a little bit extra mentions in each book, at least it seems that way. Ruby Mae seemed to be the one this time--it's awesome how she's got all these relatives that come in very handy in collecting information when the seniors are investigating. As always, there was a joyful ending, especially this time since it was Christmas.

I won a copy of the paperback in a little contest in an online book club. I wasn't influenced by winning to write a good review--I simply loved the book, and my opinions are my own.
2,618 reviews32 followers
May 18, 2019
Sam’s mother is planning a wedding in 3 weeks, to her wealthy beau Harold. How to get it all planned when her future mother-in-law doesn’t like her, get a wedding planner Lydia, who overrides everything the couple wants and charges huge amounts. When Lydia is killed everyone is afraid Harold will be blamed, since he was upset with her. Sam goes all out to find out who did kill her while watching 2 children that are found hiding in a store. Sam is also writing a book and between chapters of the story,there is the ‘story’ Sam is writing. The regular story is fine without the addition of Sam’s story.
January 31, 2020
The main character Sam is a young widow who is starting over with a new love and a couple of new careers – writing British historical cozies (how’s that for specific?) and running a mystery bookstore. Her family and friends who’ve become family are a very important part of her life, so she’s rarely sharing the scene with less than a handful of other people. Between her sassy Nana (who would purse whomp if she knew about my coined term, I’m sure of it), her sister and brother-in-law, her nephews, her mom, her mom’s fiance, her new boyfriend Frank, the Sleuthing Seniors (seriously, Irma cracked me up), and the college kids who help out in her store there are a lot of characters to fall in love with. Combined with the suspects and two adorable & heartwarming subplot characters, it could feel a bit crowded but it doesn’t at all. Everyone contributes to the plot in some way and the author maintains a seamless flow.

I also loved how the mystery Sam is writing becomes a story within the story that adds a bit of split-time genre to the mix, as well as helping Sam flesh out the real life mystery as she writes. Burns is clearly multi-talented as “Sam’s” novel is just as entertaining as the “actual” novel.

Bottom Line: Smooth writing, engaging characters, wit, humor (Irma!) and a multi-layered mystery that kept me guessing until very close to the end means I have a new fave author! Add in a bookstore setting & I’m eagerly waiting more books

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book)

first seen at Reading Is My SuperPower
Profile Image for Kirsti.
2,456 reviews83 followers
April 24, 2019
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the chance to read this book!

Well it's always fun to catch up with Sam and Nana Jo, plus all the girls in their quirky group of sleuths. Give them a mystery and they all get involved in their own way. It WAS kind of obvious who the target was from the start; they might as well have put an x on her head. There was also a moment where Smaug in the Hobbit was called a dinosaur. He's a fire drake, or a dragon.

I love the network Sam is creating around herself, with not just Dawson but now with Lexi and Angelo. I wonder how all that will work in the next book; I bet there is a fresh mystery, maybe involving the kids' parents death. The romance is trotting along nicely too, all things considered.

Can't wait for the next book, which is also out this year (I think) Five stars!
Profile Image for Jerri Cachero.
574 reviews49 followers
April 3, 2019
Once again, I enjoyed visiting with two of my favorite cozy mystery characters, Sam and Nana Jo! Reading the Bookshop Mystery series feels like coming home to visit friends and seeing what they're up to - this time it was a wedding and a murder!

When Sam's mother decides a wedding, in three weeks time, is just what she'd like, Sam and her family and friends try to make it happen. However when the wedding planner is murdered, and her mother's fiance is the prime suspect, the crime solving crew swings into action!

I love the "mystery within a mystery" concept the author uses so wonderfully. The historical mystery is filled with intrigue, spies, beautiful fashion and lively characters who you'd like to know better! Reading about Lady Daphne and her wedding woes and mystery, is perfect. Both mysteries had all the twists and turns I enjoy in a cozy!

It's uplifting to follow Sam's life changes - having her bookstore, a budding romance and having her literary career start to bloom. The addition of Nana Jo and her friends make the books even more entertaining and humorous and I love how the importance of family is stressed in each book.

I'm looking forward to the next visit with Sam and her family and friends!

I received an ARC from the author for a fair and honest review of the book.
Profile Image for Carla.
5,726 reviews121 followers
April 25, 2019
This is the fourth book in the Mystery Bookshop series and the first that I read. I will now go back and read this series from the beginning. This is a character driven, humorous, cozy mystery with so much going on, I had no problem whipping through this book. The main murder does not take place until about 30% of the way in, but that did not deter my enjoyment of this story. Sam's and Jenna's mother is getting married to wealthy Harold and he will do whatever it takes to make his bride-to-be happy. She really does not know what she wants in this wedding, but only has three weeks to plan it. I laughed loudly during the scene of Sam trying on bridesmaid dresses in bubble gum pink. When she falls over, I almost did the same. Not only is there the mystery of the murder, but there is a side mystery about two runaway children which just about broke my heart. I love the characters in this story. I would love to meet Nana Jo, Dorothy, Ruby Mae and Irma and spend time with them, they are so quirky and hilarious. I love their sleuthing and they all just happen to know someone. Frank, Sam's boyfriend is also a great character, but so are all the rest. V.M. Burns has penned an enjoyable story. The plot kept me hooked, but it is the characters that will keep me reading this series. So, two mysteries in one, humour, adorable kids that will break your heart, sassy seniors, the MC owns a bookstore and lots of food all add up to a wonderful cozy mystery that I can't recommend enough. Pick this one up, you won't be disappointed. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.
Profile Image for Nora-adrienne.
893 reviews119 followers
July 10, 2019
I'm in love with this series. The cast of characters are zany and fun to follow. I'm also very interested in the story within the story, with our heroine bookshop owner also writing her next novel to help her deal with real life.

I can't wait for the next book to come out, and I highly recommend the series.
Profile Image for QNPoohBear.
2,920 reviews1,468 followers
February 24, 2020
Bookstore owner Sam Burns is happy her mother is marrying her wealthy, adoring beau but Sam is NOT happy about her mother's choice of bridesmaid dresses. Little does Sam know that wearing a frilly, pink Southern Belle concoction is the least of her concerns. When Sam's family meets Harold's family sparks fly. His sister-in-law, Margaret, insists Sam's mother isn't good enough for Harold. Sam and Nana Jo are fighting mad. Margaret condescends to pay for a wedding planner to help organize the wedding so it will happen on Christmas Eve as planned. Wedding planner Lydia Livingstone completely takes over the wedding plans, overriding Grace's plans and spending Harold's money. Harold is furious at the treatment of his beloved and feels he could kill Lydia. When Lydia turns up dead, Grace knows Harold will be the chief suspect as well as she knows he didn't do it. Detective "Stinky" Pitt can't solve a crime to save his job so Sam, Nana Jo and the sleuthing seniors take the case to prove Harold's innocence and save the wedding. Sam's boyfriend Frank discovers some unexpected guests in the back of his restaurant at night. Sam is eager to help but the law may stand in her way. Meanwhile, back in the 1930s, Sam's art is imitating life when her character, Lady Daphne, prepares for her wedding to her beloved James. A fictional wedding planner from hell arrives to take over and ends up with a knife in his back. Was it the work of a serial killer widely believed to be a hoax or one of the house guests?

This series really doesn't appeal to me all that much. The story here moves faster than the previous two I read but it gets wrapped up too quickly. Again, I didn't care who killed Lydia. They did the world a favor. The secondary story about the homeless children is more interesting than the murder mystery. The 1930s mystery copies the "real life" mystery a little too closely. The characters don't act or sound period correct and the story is too full of holes to make sense but since Sam is not writing this one for publication, she gets a pass. Sam is spending some time working in her shop but not enough for an owner. The fact that the detective just literally hands over the case to a civilian which makes no sense at all. I'm fairly certain that's not legal and he deserves to lose his job. There are also a couple of inconsistencies. Sam first states she's in her mid-30s and then she says she was married to Leon for 25 years. How is that possible? Did she get married at 10? Nana Jo is in her 70s, which make sense for a grandmother of a 35 year old woman but the math doesn't add up. Not even a Jane Austen reference can save this book since the characters refer to the movie. They also reference The Two Towers, also the movie. There are some typos in the e-pub edition and odd punctuation.

Sam doesn't appeal to me very much. I'm not sure why, possibly because she's a nosy civilian helping a detective who shouldn't have his job. Maybe it's because she's a bit snobby about books other than mysteries. For a bookstore owner, Sam watches a lot more movies than she does read books. READ SOME BOOKS, Sam! Mysteries are great but there are other great books out there, like The Two Towers and Pride and Prejudice. (Actually she references other books she's read). Sam is a great dog mommy. I love Snickers and Oreo and she's taking great care of Snickers. Sam is more compassionate and caring in this novel. She relates the story pretty coldly until a subplot involving children is introduced. She wants to mother every young person in need and has a lot of love to give. This is really her only redeeming quality. Her relationship with Frank is getting more serious but they don't seem to have any chemistry. He's a great guy but I want some more of their relationship and why he loves her.

Nana Jo and her friends annoy me. They're supposed to be funny but I didn't really find their antics charming. It's too much of the same thing in every book. It gets old. I like Sam's sister Jenna. She's a practical attorney and the only one in the family with sense. I don't understand Grace's southern belle personality. Why is she so dependent on a man? Why is she always cold or why does Harold think she's cold? While she deserves a man who adores her and will treat her well, Harold goes a little overboard. Grace loses her personality once she is around Harold's family and wedding planner. What happened to Sam's tough, high brow mother? She seems so timid and weak willed around the others. She seemed to have a vision for her wedding, including a dress she liked, but then relinquishes all plans to other people, even after Lydia is killed. That doesn't make sense. She needs Harold to stand up for her and be her champion. While I applaud this and think it bodes well for their future, I don't understand why she doesn't speak up for herself.

Harold's family is awful. All the new characters are awful. Margaret is a horrible snob. She's rude and evil. I don't approve of Sam tossing out everyone's accomplishments just to show up Margaret. They should be proud of who they are even if they don't have good jobs/grades, etc. Sam should have taken the high road. Why is Harold's brother Oscar still married to this woman or why did he marry her in the first place? They're polar opposites. He's weak and lets her bully him. Lydia Lighthouse is pure evil. She's toxic- completely rude, uncaring, unconcerned with what the bride wants, bullies the vendors and generally makes everyone hate her. I'm not surprised she ended up dead.

Besides Harold's family, the suspects come from the wedding vendor list and also Margaret's assistant, April. I'm convinced April did it. It's always the mousy assistant. I'm sure if I were April I would have had enough of Margaret's bullying and certainly felt like murdering her. Plus I don't like April because she knows what Lydia is up to and doesn't say anything. The auditorium has been booked but not paid. Certainly there must be someone there who would be angry enough to kill Lydia in the heat of the moment? Lydia did to previous clients what she's doing to Grace. Perhaps one of them is a murderer or can provide a clue? Rudy Blakemore, the caterer, seems to have an edge to him. He has good reason to want Lydia dead but then again, so does everyone else. Maxwell Dubois, the ice sculptor, seems guilty for leaving town very suddenly. Felicity Abrams has a gambling problem or maybe she gambles to pay a blackmailer? None of these people have personalities and we never learn too much about them, aside from motives.

The only new characters I liked were Lexi and Angelo. I felt awful for them but not as much as Sam. I am glad she has so much compassion and wanted to do the right thing for them. They can't possibly go back to where they came from but I would probably have called DCYF and let them handle it. Angelo is a little much for me. I don't do boys or small children.

Is it sad that I LOVED the visit to Tippecanoe Place and wanted to hear the whole story? I stopped reading and looked it up. It sounds like a great place to hold a special event, like a wedding.

This series is just not for me. I've forgotten the book already. I forgot to write a review yesterday- that's how memorable the book was. I have to remember not to read more, not even when I need something to read!
Profile Image for Ellen.
926 reviews118 followers
September 6, 2020
Wed, Read & Dead (Mystery Bookshop, #4) by V.M. Burns.

This is the 4th in the Samantha Washington Bookshop series and my 4th. I've been enjoying every new entry and intend to continue. Sam's mother Grace has become quite serious about her future including a prominent man in the community Harold Robinson. No one could be more astonished but thrilled for her than Sam and her sister Jenna. A wedding is planned cutting very close to Christmas. as a matter of fact it's planned for Christmas Eve.
But then Harold's sister in law Margaret is introduced to Grace's family and a dark cloud appears on the otherwise happy event. A wedding planner is brought into the picture by Margaret which does a bit more than just darken the horizons of happiness. Insults and hurt feelings enter the celebrations and a murder is discovered.
Sam has a knack for developing her next historical novel to parallel that of her own realisty. Lady Daphne and Lord James are planning their wedding set to take place on Christmas Eve. And so the story developes.
Highly recommended to all lovers of cozies with well developed characters and plot lines.
Profile Image for Peggy R.
1,012 reviews64 followers
March 27, 2019
I love this series but I think this book might just be my favorite so far. When I pick up a Mystery Bookshop story I am transported from the first pages to the west side of Michigan. Ms. Burns writing has such great descriptions that I can picture the town and all the places. Part of it might be that I live in Michigan, but most of it is attributable to the author's writing style. I am a fan of the book within a book. In fact, I enjoy the historical mystery Sam is writing just as much as the mysteries involving Sam and the gang. At one point, I was reading the historical mystery as Sam was writing and when I turned the page and the story returned to the present I a bit put out because I was so engaged in that story. The characters in this series are fabulous. They all have great personalities, depth of character and are multi-layered. The generational relationships are well written. Nana Jo has to be my favorite because she can get up to some mischief and just makes me smile throughout the book. I also have a partial fondness for Irma and how everyone has to stop her before she curses.

The mystery was well done an flowed nicely through the entire book. The victim was not well liked so I wasn't sorry to see her go, but the author does offer a nice handful of suspects for the reader to choose from in terms of guessing the identity of the killer. There are some nice surprises dropped about the various suspects as well.

This is a great series and I look forward to each one. I am hopeful this series will have a long life.
I voluntarily read a digital ARC provided to me by the publisher, Kensington, through Netgalley.
Profile Image for The Cozy Review.
499 reviews31 followers
April 10, 2019
Series: Mystery Bookshop - Book 4
Author: V.M. Burns
Genre: Cozy Mystery/Bookstore
Publisher: Kensington Books
Page Count: 272

Arriving soon from Kensington Books is the new addition “Wed, Read & Dead” to the Mystery Bookshop Series by V.M. Burns. There is a cozy within a cozy in this book, both will make readers happy, keep them intrigued, and turning the page.

Wed, Read & Dead is a two for one book. The main character, Samantha Washington owns a mystery bookstore and writes mysteries as well. She is always busy but finds time to write while doing everything else her day demands, like helping her mother plan her wedding, and solving murders.

The characters in this cozy mystery book are lovable, they are talented and make readers want to stop by for a visit. Sam’s grandmother, Nana Jo is special, and caring while managing to keep her family, and occasionally those not in her family, in line. No one messes with Sam and Nana Jo’s family and gets by with it for long. They are exactly the type of relatives we all wish we had in our corner.

These characters hold the reader's attention and remain a happy part of their days long after the book has been read and put away. These are great characters and a cozy mystery book has to have compelling characters to keep readers coming back.

The location of Michigan is truly descriptive, and readers will enjoy learning a bit about a state that played such a huge part in the history of the United States. If you have never spent time in this northern state, you will want to after reading this book.

The villain(s) throughout the book is completely believable and a true reprobate, and yet, in some small way helps bring everyone together in the end. The unmasking is lively without putting the character’s in more danger than they can handle. The ending satisfies the reader as an ending to a mystery should.

Both mysteries in the book are easily solved without being too easy. The historical book Sam is writing mirrors what is going on in her family and life and makes for a fun read. Ms. Burns is a wonderful writer, her prose is fluid even when going from one story to the other. This is one of the best cozy mystery books coming out this month and I highly recommend Wed, Read & Dead to readers of all types of mysteries.

Readers will get a thrill from this book. If you enjoy authors such as Vicki Delany and her series “A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery” or the Ellery Adams series “Secret, Book & Scone Society Mystery” you will fall in love with this series and author.
Profile Image for RO G'ma.
1,001 reviews35 followers
November 23, 2019
Wed, Read & Dead is the fourth book in V. M. Burns’ Mystery Bookshop series. This is an entertaining read with a great cast of characters and an interesting mystery. The smoothly paced storyline is well plotted, with laugh out loud moments, and lots of twists, clues, and red herrings to keep readers engaged and guessing. The well-developed characters are likable, diverse, and fun. The main character is writing a mystery book that is included within the storyline that provides a second mystery and clues that often help solve the main mystery.

Samantha “Sam” Washington is the owner of the Market Street Mysteries Bookstore in North Harbor, Michigan. After the death of her husband, Sam sold their home, purchased a building, quit her teaching job, and opened a mystery bookstore. Sam, an aspiring author who’s writing a British historical cozy mystery, lives in an apartment above the bookstore along with her two poodles, Oreo and Snickers, and is dating Frank Patterson, the proprietor of North Harbor Café. Her grandmother, Nana Jo, owns a home in Shady Acres Retirement Village. She has an older sister, Jenna, and her husband, Tony Rutherford, are both lawyers and have two sons, Christopher and Zaq, who help out in the bookstore. The garage has an upstairs studio apartment where Sam’s assistant, Dawson Alexander, who’s like a son to her lives. Christmas is three weeks away, and Sam’s mother, Grace, is marrying Harold Robertson on Christmas Eve.

When the wedding planner, Lydia Lighthouse, Harold’s sister-in-law, Margaret, hired as a wedding present is murdered, Grace is worried that her beloved fiancé will be arrested because he was upset and threatened her. Detective Bradley Pitt of the North Harbor Police Department isn’t very competent, and Nana Jo tells Sam that it’s up to them to track down the culprit. Sam’s feisty grandmother and her somewhat quirky friends from the retirement village where she lives (a/k/a Sleuthing Seniors) and Frank help Sam solve Lydia’s murder while Jillian Clark, who’s dating Dawson, and Emma Lee, who’s dating Zaq, take over the wedding planning. The group discovers Lydia cheated her clients and bullied and/or blackmailed vendors into reducing their rates. Meanwhile, Frank discovers two children hiding in his back storage area who ran away from an abusive foster home.

I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed it.
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,291 reviews263 followers
April 12, 2019
Wed, Read & Dead was another great installment in the Mystery Bookshop series featuring an exciting and interesting plot.

Mystery bookstore owner, Samantha Washington, is in the peak of busy season in the weeks leading up to Christmas. But after her mother announces she will be getting married on Christmas Eve, Sam has to squeeze in wedding planning between her hours in the store. With everyone overwhelmed, the groom’s sister-in-law hires wedding planner Lydia Lighthouse to plan the affair. But what should have been the answer to their prayers quickly turns into a nightmare when Lydia disregards everyone’s wishes. After Lydia is found strangled with the groom the lead suspect, Sam and the Sleuthing Seniors set out to find the real killer before Sam’s mother ends up having a jailhouse wedding.

The mystery in this book was very well done and I had a difficult time pinning down a suspect so I was eager to find out who the killer was. Lydia was not a woman who endeared herself to anyone, so there were a number of suspects right from the start. Once again Sam worked the case with Nana Jo as well as the rest of the Sleuthing Seniors. I love how each of the ladies has their own connections and how they’re able to cover numerous leads at once. I was surprised when Detective Pitt agreed to Sam’s help with the case, but it’s nice to see that he’s learned from previous experience that Sam will get involved one way or another. The final showdown with the killer was well done and I enjoyed how everything was wrapped up.

In addition to trying to find Lydia’s killer between running her store, Sam is in the process of writing her next British mystery. Once again Sam draws upon the case in her real life as inspiration for her story which is something I enjoy about these books. I like how Sam uses her writing to work out her theories as it’s definitely led to her having an aha moment several times. I’ve definitely come to enjoy the characters in Sam’s stories throughout the four books.

Wed, Read & Dead, as well as the rest of the series, was a light and easy read that’s perfect for those new to the cozy mystery genre.

**I received an advance copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**
Profile Image for Amy.
492 reviews4 followers
May 11, 2019
Wedding bells are ringing for Sam's mother, Nana Jo, and her wealthy fiancé Harold. On a tight deadline, his snotty sister decides to hire a bullying wedding planner who is murdered shortly thereafter. Her nasty reputation both personally and professionally ensures that there are plenty of suspects with differing motives. Sam and her sleuthing Seniors want to solve this case yesterday to clear the aisle for the bride and groom to be married by Christmas. There are also two foster children who Sam temporarily takes in and the continuing subplot of her own cozy mystery book that she is writing--set in late 1930's England, where Jewish children are being sent in hopes of escaping the Nazi regime.

I've read two of the prior books in this series and enjoyed this one as well. The author does an excellent job of character development, creating lively dialogue and interesting plot twists. My favorite part of the book was the focus on family--especially the inclusion of those who may not be related by blood but are loved and accepted just the same.

Thanks to NetGalley and Kensignton for an advance digital review copy. My review is voluntary.
Profile Image for Jessica Robbins.
2,589 reviews39 followers
April 29, 2019
*I received a free copy of this book which I voluntarily chose to write an honest review for.

I swear each book in this series is even better then the one before! It is like getting two books for the price of one. We get the current time mystery being solved my Sam the owner of the mystery bookstore while she also writes a historical cozy for us to follow. Provides a great taste of both for the reader to savor though the main mystery gets the most page time as it should. Sam's mom is getting married to a really rich man in a short amount of time. Well of course this causes tension as the two worlds collide. Add in a wedding planner from hell to really get the story moving. I must say I was rooting for her demise so I was quite pleased when it happened. The twists were great as the clues popped up being found by all the quirky friends and family helping her. I need a Nana Jo like hers. that woman is such a hoot!! if you are looking for a fantastic cozy to while away the afternoon look no further then this gem. I totally loved it so I give it 5/5 stars.
Profile Image for Colleen.
199 reviews10 followers
August 11, 2019
This was the best book of the series thus far. The victim was easy to figure out but the twists and turns along the way had me second guessing my theory about the killer. I ended up being right in the end however, but that's besides the point.

Throughout the book, we see the true meaning of family, both biological and those that are chosen.

The book kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I laughed, cried and was scared for some of the characters throughout the book. While it ended on a happy note, it has me wondering where the characters will go from here. I can't wait for the next book in the series!
Profile Image for Karen.
648 reviews2 followers
March 23, 2019
Number four in the series does not disappoint!
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 regular cast of characters are so endearing and I love to read about them! I especially enjoy the senior citizens, who are written as smart, full of life and entertaining.
The mysteries are well written and kept me guessing!
I look forward to reading the next in the series.
I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.
Profile Image for Miss W Book Reviews.
1,105 reviews86 followers
March 16, 2019
Wed, Read & Dead is Book 4 in the Mystery Book Shop Series by V.M. Burns.
This was a great read! Sam is an incredible character and I was laughing out loud at some parts.

This book doesn't have just one mystery, but two! The characters are likeable and the story is so well written.

The characters Nana Jo, Dorothy, and others are so fun, I feel like I know them.

Highly recommend this mystery and this author.
Profile Image for Jeanie.
1,173 reviews1 follower
May 21, 2019
This is the first book I've read in this series, and I must go back to the beginning now and read the first three! What appealed to me initially is the author herself, as I've started reading one of her other series, the dogs, and the setting in Michigan. What will keep me coming back for more is the complex mystery, watching the protagonist write her own cozy mystery, the characters who I would love to know, and, of course, the dogs. Even though I am primarily a cat person.

Samantha owns a store that sounds like a dream - and was a dream for her and her late husband, Leon. The mystery bookstore would be a fun place to work, I think, and Sam's home in the upstairs loft is also sweet. She is also pursuing a dream of writing British cozy mysteries.

It is early December, and Sam's mother Grace is getting married to Harold on Christmas Eve. They have less than three weeks to plan the wedding, quite the challenge as Harold is a member of a highly-respected family in town as well as a retired NASA genius. Grace and her family have not yet Harold's family, and that is quickly remedied. Harold's brother is a gentle, quiet man, and his wife Margaret makes up for his lack of words. She is vocally proud to be a member of this high-society family, and wants to "help" Grace prepare for the kind of wedding the family rates.

Lydia Lighthouse is her name, wedding planning (among other things) is her game. She is loud, brash, and not the kind of woman one would expect the elite to hire as their planner. Her ideas are outrageous and tries to shame Grace and her family into accepting what she proposes. Including a $1 million deposit for caterers, flowers, venue, etc. When Grace is ready to call of the wedding, Harold steps in and threatens everyone in hearing range if they upset his beloved fiance again. The following day, Lydia is found murdered.

While two of the young ladies who help out at the bookstore taking over a simpler wedding plan, the folks of the Senior Sleuths book club help talk with people and find information about possible suspects. Sam is not only trying to help find the real murderer, but she and her boyfriend have another challenge - two children who were found in his restaurant, getting in from the cold. There is no runaway alert on them with the local police, and Sam remembers the bittersweet dream of having children that was not realized.

This novel is wonderful, with characters who are priceless (especially Nana Jo) and a mystery that doesn't stop. The suspect list continues to grow, as Lydia didn't really have friends. There are some real surprises throughout, but nothing like the motives that each of the suspects would have. I recommend this highly to fans of the author, holiday settings, witty characters, and multiple mysteries in a novel.

I received an eArc of this novel from the publisher, and this is my honest review.
Profile Image for Fred.
941 reviews38 followers
April 30, 2019
Wed, Read And Dead is the fourth book in the Mystery Bookshop Mysteries series.

Samantha “Sam” Washington’s mother, Grace, is planning on getting married in three weeks and if Sam has to try on one more, less than beautiful, bridesmaid dress, she will scream. Grace is more concerned with meeting her husband-to-be, Harold Roberstson’s family. Her fears were well-founded when she met her future sister-in-law, Margaret. Margaret is snobbery personified and looked down on Grace and the rest of her family. As a wedding gift for Grace and Harold, she had hired a wedding planner. Big mistake!! The Wedding Planner, Lydia Lighthouse seems to more interested in lining her pockets with Harold’s money, rather than planning the wedding that Grace wants. Soon, Lydia’s body is found, having been strangled with her scarf. Sam and her Senior Sleuths begin to investigate who might have killed her, as Harold had a big argument the day before her body was found.

Sam, in addition to running her bookstore and a little sleuthing from time to time, is also an aspiring author. Early in her writing career, Sam has learned that if she works on her book set in the 1930’s English countryside it helps her deal with the current mystery. So, we get a story inside a story. The English countryside mystery center around Lord William Marsh and his wife Lady Elizabeth and their nieces, Lady Daphne and Lady Penelope.

I love this series, it is well-written and has a wonderful cast of characters. The book reads at a good pace. The Senior Sleuths are a real hoot and will have you laughing at their antics. Most all of the characters from previous books are back once again to give help and support to Sam.

I can’t wait for the next book in this very enjoyable book. The next book is Bookmarked For Murder and will be out in November of this year.
Profile Image for Karen Hollins-Stallman .
589 reviews46 followers
April 23, 2019
Wed, Read & Dead is the fourth installment in the Mystery Bookshop series, I haven't read any previous books but was able to follow along. The story grabbed my attention right away! I am very happy I chose to read this book and plan on reading the other 3 as soon as I can.

Bookstore owner Samantha Washington sells and solves mysteries in North Harbor, Michigan--including the murder of her mother's wedding planner...

Sam's mother can't wait to wed her wealthy beau, Harold Robertson. The big mystery is how they're going to pull off a lavish wedding in three weeks. Harold's snobby sister-in-law proposes a solution: engage flamboyant wedding planner Lydia Lighthouse. But their beacon of hope quickly sends everyone into a blind rage, most of all the groom-to-be. So when the maddening micromanager is strangled with her own scarf, it's a shock, but not a surprise.

It's a case of art imitating life as Sam pens her next historical mystery set in England between the wars. Lady Daphne Marsh insists on marrying Lord James Browning on Christmas Eve, three weeks hence. But when the fop planning their wedding ends up with a knife in his back, she vows to nab the backstabber before she walks down the aisle.

Meanwhile, when she's not writing, Sam and her beloved and boisterous Nana Jo rush to shine a light on Lydia's killer--so her mother's new husband won't spend his honeymoon behind bars...

This book is filled with wonderful characters that are well-developed and very relatable. The plot had just enough twists and turns that I was guessing who might have done it till the very end. I thoroughly enjoyed Wed, Read & Dead and am looking forward to visiting Sam and Nana Jo again.

I highly recommend this cozy mystery to all my friends and fellow cozy lovers.

I requested and received a advanced reader copy from the publisher and Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Meg.
222 reviews1 follower
May 31, 2019
I cannot get enough of this series! Ms. Burns weaves a story within a story like no one else. Both sets of characters, intertwined within the Mystery Bookshop are delightful. I am especially fond of Samantha’s Nana Jo, and her crazy friends from the Senior Center. As Samantha attempts solve the mystery involving her mother’s wedding planner, (an obnoxious woman,) before the groom is arrested for murder, Nana Jo and her senior sleuths decide to help solve the case!

One of the best cozy mysteries that will have you chuckling at the antics of the senior bunch! Good thing they are on board because, there is still a wedding to plan! Filled with humorous fun, twists and turns, and a Regency Mystery to boot, Ms. Burns turns out a well-developed novel that you won’t want to put down! I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Ms. Burns, as well as, Kensington Books!
Profile Image for Lynn.
329 reviews9 followers
May 12, 2019
I started at the end of this series, with this book, but loved the characters and didn't feel left out of the storyline! I can't wait to catch up with the earlier books. This is a fast paced, mystery, filled with fun characters and such a lovable family who will have you laughing in no time. One of my favorite characters is Irma - you just don't know what's going to come out of her mouth next! An extra special bonus, is a story within a story, as our main character is a cozy mystery writer. To work through her thoughts and how to solve the mystery, we are able to see the creation of her story as she writes it, when we see the characters in her novel acting out current troubles in their own storyline. It's a unique twist on storytelling! I think anyone who picks up this story, will enjoy all it has to offer and be excited for the next installment in the series.
Profile Image for Annarella.
10.1k reviews94 followers
March 16, 2019
I'm a fan of Ms Burns series and this book was a very good one.
I enjoyed it, had fun and sometime I laughed out loud at Nana Jo antics.
It's well written, entertaining and fast pace, one of those books you cannot put down once you start it.
The mystery was solid, full of twists and turns, and it was great even if it wasn't hard to guess the culprit.
It was great to meet again the cast of characters, as enjoyable and likable as usual.
The historical mystery part was a bit weak but I enjoyable and it never broke the flow of the main story.
i look forward to reading the next instalment in this series.
Highly recommended!
Many thanks to Kensington Books and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
Profile Image for Kristin.
650 reviews9 followers
April 16, 2019
I loved this mystery. Lots of twists and turns. Lots of fun little side stories. I absolutely love this series. So fun and entertaining!
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