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If you love Hallmark mystery movies,
you’ll love this cozy mystery
with humor, intrigue, and a librarian amateur sleuth.

Marvey, a librarian, has moved from Brooklyn to a quirky small town in Georgia. When she’s not at the library organizing events for readers, she’s handcrafting book-themed jewelry and looking after her cranky cat. At times, her new life in the South still feels strange...and that’s before the discovery of the dead body in the bookstore.

After one of her friends becomes a suspect, Marvey sets out to solve the murder mystery. She even convinces Spence, the wealthy and charming newspaper owner, to help. With his ties to the community, her talents for research, and her fellow librarians’ knowledge, Marvey pursues the truth. But as she gets closer to it, could she be facing a deadly plot twist?

Kindle Edition

First published March 23, 2021

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About the author

Olivia Matthews

10 books118 followers
Olivia Matthews is a pseudonym for Patricia Sargeant.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 313 reviews
Profile Image for Tina.
494 reviews770 followers
April 4, 2021

My first cozy mystery! I listened to the audio and the narrator was excellent! I love stories that take place in the south. The town is just charming. The Southern euphemisms and fun cast of characters were a nice escape. I could easily see this as a Hallmark movie.

The beginning captured my attention but the mystery was a bit on the weak side for my tastes. This could be due to the fact that this is an unknown genre for me. That said I still enjoyed the book and I definitely think Cozy Mysteries have a certain time and place for me. I liked the main character and feel she has potential and I'd read the next book for sure. Now, I'm seriously craving me some, "Peach cobbler!"

I'd like to kindly thank NetGalley and Dreamscape Media and Hallmark Publishing for granting me access to this Advanced Audio Recording.

Profile Image for Chatting About Cozies.
1,137 reviews48 followers
February 24, 2021
A lively cozy mystery debut that’s a delight to read. The story would make a great Hallmark TV Movie with its picturesque town with friendly people setting.

The novel is full of southernisms; dedicated employees at the Peach Coast Library; and a few dastardly gossips and/or villains. Marley Harris, the protagonist, has two good friends who always have her back—Jo, owner of To Be Read Bookstore; and Spencer Holt—publisher of the Peach Coast Crier. Also, all the Library employees stand behind Marvey. So when Jo becomes the #1 suspect in the slaying of a new author; Marvey’s friends rally around to help sort out the good guys from the bad guys, and the truth from the lies.

“Ma’am, do you have a library card?” is the question that builds the patron list, and I loved it every time it was asked! 😊. I thought this cozy story was a great debut with an excellent cast of characters I look forward to re-visiting in future stories. Recipe included.

I honestly reviewed a digital arc provided by NetGalley and Hallmark Publishing. All opinions are my own. Thank you.
Profile Image for Mallory.
1,041 reviews63 followers
September 20, 2021
This was a fun start to a new cozy mystery series. I really love the cast of characters especially our amateur sleuth Marley, Phoenix, and Spence. I thought that the mystery was good, but I wanted a little more amateur sleuthing. And I didn’t love that the focus was on finding other suspects instead of solving the murder. If you’re going to meddle, meddle big! I love books about libraries or librarians and this was no exception. I loved that Marvey asked everyone she met if they had a library card. I will definitely read more in this series when they come. Marvey goes to her friend Jo’s bookstore for a book signing by serval local authors, but before the event can start they discover one of the authors. Fiona, was murdered. Jo becomes the sole focus of the deputies because it was her store, but Marvey is certain her friend is innocent.
Profile Image for Mark Baker.
2,035 reviews147 followers
March 23, 2021
Marvey Harris has recently relocated to Peach Coast, Georgia, to take a job in the local library. Among her new friends is Jo Gomez. Jo owns the local bookstore, and this Saturday, Marvey is at the store to support Jo, who is hosting a book signing for the local authors group. When one of the authors fails to return from the storeroom, Jo and Marvey find her dead body on the floor. With the police looking at Jo, Marvey steps in to figure out what really happened. Can she find the killer?

This may be the first in the series, but I already feel right at home. Peach Coast sounds like a great town, and I love Marvey, Jo, and Spence, the third member of their trio. We never meet the victim alive, but I liked how well we got to know her as the story progressed. The rest of the cast could be a little better defined, but I’m sure that will come as the series progresses and they get more page time. The story starts quickly, but the pacing does slow a little in the middle. Still, the climax is logical and suspenseful. There’s a recipe for peach cobbler at the end. While not a culinary cozy, you’ll definitely be craving it by the time the book is over. I’m looking forward to returning to Peach Coast soon.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

Read my full review at Carstairs Considers.
Profile Image for Ms. Woc Reader.
468 reviews650 followers
March 13, 2021
This is the first in a new mystery series and I'd like to thank Hallmark Publishing and Dreamscape media for giving me the opportunity to read an advanced copy. I alternated between reading the written version and the audio arc. The narration in the audiobook was well paced. Unlike most audiobooks I didn't have to speed it up.

This cozy mystery is set in a small town in Georgia called Peach Coast and centers around a librarian named Marvey who has recently moved from NYC. While she's dealing with homesick cat and settling into her new role at the library she's quickly made fast friends with some prominent locals. While attending a book event at a friend's bookstore they discover the dead body of one of the authors. Marvey must help her friend clear her name by finding the real killer.

It took me awhile to get into this story though. There were many NYC vs The South comparisons and some were just ridiculous. I wish that would've been toned down more. I understand people from NYC love to talk about how they're from NYC but Marvey had notes for simple Southern phrases that were easy to figure out. The town seemed fairly diverse so it couldn't have been that backwoods to constantly treat it like a completely different world.

I actually guessed the killer too and I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing. I did like how the town was set up and Marvey's love of books was showcased well throughout. I'm interested in seeing more of her plan to build up the library..
Profile Image for Dawn.
342 reviews60 followers
September 25, 2021
2.5 stars rounded down.

This book had a lot of potential but I felt like it only scratched the surface with all aspects of it. The mystery was okay, but I figured out who it was very early on. The romance was cold and could’ve easily been more interesting while still holding true to being a cozy. The crime investigation was probably the most well-executed part, but I was bored throughout and found myself skipping ahead to get through it.

My biggest issue was with the simplicity of the writing. I really don’t like when I feel like the author takes me for a fool. The colloquialisms of the modern south (which this city seems to be set in) are not that difficult to comprehend. And the fact that the protagonist had to write down greetings and phrases, alphabetically, and refer to others from time to time to understand how to communicate with locals was laughable at best. It’s not that serious. You would think the south had nothing but hillbillies and simpletons based on the dialogue and the main characters responses to others. But most of these people are college educated and wealthy, so I’m not sure why she wrote them to be so daft. Clearly the author has an issue with southerners because she made it a point to make condescending comments about them in almost every chapter. WE GET IT.

I’ll give the book points for promoting libraries and having a POC lead, but it just wasn’t for me at all.
Profile Image for Kellye.
Author 7 books838 followers
March 30, 2021
As a "Northerner" who used to live in the Dirty South, I definitely enjoyed this new series. I also appreciated the diverse set of characters. Can't wait for the next one.
Profile Image for LORI CASWELL.
2,379 reviews270 followers
March 27, 2021
Dollycas’s Thoughts

Do you have a library card? is a question you will be asked if you meet Marvey Harris. Her job is to increase community involvement at the library so the council will continue to fund it and hopefully increase their budget and she takes her job very seriously.

Marvey has made two great friends since her big move from Brooklyn, Spence, publisher of the Peach Coast Crier, and Jo, owner of the To Be Read Bookstore. The bookstore is where this story starts off for a book signing for local authors. One of the authors wanted to handle her set up herself but fails to do so before the event begins. In fact, it appears she never left the storeroom where her books were kept. When Jo, Spence, and Marvey try to track her down they make a horrific discovery. Author Fiona Lyle-Hayes is dead. She was brutally murdered right there at To Be Read. They are all stunned when the police quickly decide Jo is the killer. Jo begs for help and Marvey and Spence vow to find more relevant suspects. The killer starts to feel the heat and sets up some chilling events to try to get Marvey off the case. But she doesn’t back down, she gets even more determined to catch the killer.

As a cozy mystery lover Hallmark’s Movies and Mystery channel is a popular one on my television. I can easily see Murder by Page One as the start of a new series on their channel. I love that they are now publishing books.

Peach Coast appears to be a typical Southern town filled with genuine people including those that like to gossip and get all mixed up in everybody’s business. New girl in town, Marvey Harris already has a daily routine that puts her in the heart of gossip central. After the murder, a few folks are not afraid to speak their mind without any facts and get right in Marvey’s face to do so. All the characters are cleverly crafted. I really enjoyed Marvey’s confidence in almost everything she does. She is a little uncertain about getting involved in a murder investigation at first but she soon has the support of not only her friends but the entire library staff. Ms. Matthews has done an excellent job of fleshing out her characters while leaving plenty of room for them to grow over the course of what I hope will be a long-running series.

There was a very interesting subplot woven throughout the story. Marvey has a gray tabby cat named Phoenix who not adjusting well to the move from Brooklyn. His behavior was unique and at times funny but his person is taking the behavior to heart seeing one veterinarian and then another to try to find answers and ways to help her pet. It really gives us insight into Marvey but more so how what we do in our lives affects our lovable cats and dogs.

I found the police handling the case to be simpletons that took the easy way out without really doing any investigation or following leads to didn’t agree with their theory. Of course, that set up Marvey and Spence’s investigation nicely. The author plotted the mystery with plenty of twists and a few red herrings. My thinking was on the right track and the lead-up to the reveal refined everything for me. The pace was comfortable at first and then became more intense the further we read into the story.

I do have a couple of peeves. The book is full of southern charm and well-known sayings. Marvey is a very intelligent woman so I couldn’t believe she needed to keep track of the classic sayings and their true meanings and that she had to refer to her notes often. I also noticed that there was an overabundance of peach references from food, to clothes, and even the way people looked. And don’t get me wrong I know peaches are a big thing in Georgia and Peach Coast and I love peach cobbler but there is no way I could eat it every day. I did like that it was even part of a race event, but I think the reaction by Marvey proves my point.

I do love mysteries with libraries as a theme. Murder by Page One has set the Peach Coast Library Mysteries off to a splendid start. The core characters are very engaging and I want to get to know them better so I am looking forward to the second book in this series.
Profile Image for Micky Cox.
1,603 reviews14 followers
March 29, 2021
An outstanding new cozy mystery to delight and entertain! If you love a good library based mystery then you're in for a treat as this one is outstanding. The main character is a bit of a stand out in her community as she is a transplant from Brooklyn who finds herself navigating the ways of a small and very southern town. She's so far out of her depth that she keeps a running list of sayings with definitions and one of her co-workers acts as a translator at times. The characters are both intriguing and lovable down to the cat! The cast is a diversified one that will have you falling delightfully in love with the town. I absolutely can't wait for the next book in this series to come out as I am sure that more fun entertainment is just waiting to be had. This book needs to be on your TBR list asap!
Profile Image for JoAn.
2,060 reviews1 follower
March 23, 2021
Murder by Page One by Olivia Matthews is the first book in a new cozy mystery series set in a small community called Peach Coast, Georgia. Ms. Matthews has a strong beginning in this first book. Her descriptive writing introduced the community, the protagonist and secondary characters and the drama and politics of living in a small town.

I enjoyed meeting Marvey, Spence and Jolene as well as the library staff. They are all likable and I felt like Peach Coast would be an enjoyable place to visit. Jolene is the police's number one suspect and stubbornly refuse to investigate other possible candidates. So Marvey and Spence put on their sleuthing hats to help their friend. The plot is smoothly paced with deft twists, red herrings and only a few suspects for Marvey and Spence to investigate. I look forward to learning more about the characters as they are developed while the series continues.

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from Hallmark Publishing via NetGalley. All of the above opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Heidi Prockish.
443 reviews12 followers
June 7, 2021
This was a fun book! I was hooked pretty quickly and I am hoping there will be many more to this series. A great group of characters, it will be fun to get to know them more.

I love the way the beginning made it seem like Marvey was still an outsider, but through the investigation she came to find out how much the town considers her as one of their own.

If you haven't already, definitely add this to your tbr pile.
Profile Image for Linda.
1,811 reviews31 followers
January 27, 2023
This was thoroughly enjoyable and I’m looking forward to my next trip to Peach Coast later this month. Marvey and the other characters were likeable and I loved how she needed translations for all the southern sayings. The mystery was good and kept me guessing to the end.
Profile Image for Tari.
2,134 reviews68 followers
September 13, 2022
I really enjoyed this start of a new series and the idea of the main character having two strong sets of friends. She had her bestie Jo of course, and their other good friend Spence. What was so cool about Spence was that despite the fact he was super rich, he didn't flaunt it or act all stuffy about it. He dug in and investigated with his friends like any regular guy who might have had an in with the coroner's office, and he kept a presence and job at the local paper his family owned. It was great that he had the means it took to get people together for questioning purposes aka dinner party too. Jo was very blessed to have a determined friend like Marvey trying to keep her from going to prison for a murder she didn't commit. Marvey was someone I could quickly become friends with.

The other group of friends was Marvey's library co-workers. I really liked all of them, especially the ol' curmudgeon Floyd who wasn't really such a crusty guy after all. And Corrinne was such a nice boss which was really refreshing. I read so many books where the boss is a jerk, but Corrinne was genuinely a good person to her employees. I got the feeling that she'd never ask them to do anything she wouldn't do. They did a good job presenting a united front for their budget increase request as well as helping Marvey with her sleuthing.

I had sort of guessed the killer once the clues fell into place. It was a great showdown with Jo and Marvey working together on it. The detective and his sidekick weren't painted in too bad of a light. Kind of a good balance where I could picture the conversations between them as not too heavy or light if it was done as a Hallmark mystery movie.

Great setting for a mystery series, and it was interesting to have a New York transplant come into town. I got a kick out of Marvey's notebook on Southernisms and their translations, lol. I thought the Cobbler Crawl sounded pretty cool and was glad to see Marvey as Spence's partner in it. Gotta admit, I'd be there for the cobbler not the race part! I'm eager to see what this fun group gets into in the next book! The key players were definitely people I came to care about and would like to visit with again!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own.
Profile Image for laurel [the suspected bibliophile].
1,365 reviews375 followers
June 29, 2022
It was okay. I liked the fact that Marvey was a librarian in a small town (used to Brooklyn and adjusting to the culture change of small town Georgia) and that she was NOT a children's librarian (and that her job description was accurate and super cool!).

However, the murder aspect was meh. I wanted more build-up to the end instead of at the very, very end it was "oh wow it was this person all along the end wrap up in three pages."
Profile Image for Louise.
582 reviews87 followers
November 29, 2022
This is a nice start to a new cozy mystery series, featuring a feisty young (28) librarian. Marvella Harris (“Marvey”) has relocated from New York City (Brooklyn, specifically) to a small town near Georgia’s coast, to be the Director of Community Engagement for the Peach Coast Public Library. So she’s now a big fish in a small pond instead of a little fish in a big pond.

The story was enjoyable and kept me guessing for a while, but the style of writing had me rolling my eyes. Do we really need to know that her couch is seafoam green and that she’s wearing a navy T-shirt and sapphire shorts? Or that she was wearing a grass-green linen blouse with cream cotton pants? A bit less description of non-essential things would have gone a long way in improving the flow of the book.

I couldn’t decide if it was charming or annoying that she asked everyone she was introduced to: “Do you have a library card?” I’m a big fan of libraries and this had me rolling my eyes as well. And while I sympathized with Marvella having to adjust to the slower pace of life and conversation versus what she was used to, did she really need to have nearly every colorful phrase “translated”?

On the plus side, I enjoyed the diverse cast of characters, Marvey’s attachment to the family she left behind in Brooklyn, and her devotion to her cat, Phoenix, who is having trouble adjusting to their move.

Thank you to NetGalley and Hallmark Publishing for the opportunity to read an advance readers copy of this book, although I’m quite late to it. I bounced between the ARC and the published audiobook, courtesy of my public library. The narrator, Janina Edwards, did a good job with the various voices and accents.
Profile Image for Dale Harcombe.
Author 14 books291 followers
January 7, 2022
The murder wasn’t by page 1; but it did happen by page 19. Marvey, a librarian, is intent on clearing her friend Jo of suspicion for murder. She convinces Spence the newspaper editor to help her. As she gets closer to the truth her own life ends up in danger. The fact that it took me so long to read this book is not anything negative about the book just life intruding. I enjoyed this book immensely and look forward to another Peach Coast Mystery. An engaging cosy mystery with well drawn characters,
Profile Image for Ferne.
1,110 reviews35 followers
August 14, 2022
Combines my life's delights of libraries, bookstores, coffee, chocolate, and a demonstrative cat into one charming cozy mystery in the small town setting of Peach Coast, Georgia. Marvella (Marvey to her family and friends) Harris is a recent import from Brooklyn, New York, and is still adjusting to some of the local colloquialisms. Some of Marvey's reactions made me smile as "once upon a time" I moved from a small town to live and work in the Bronx, New York. I knew immediately that Phoenix, Marvey's cat was giving his clear message of homesickness when he
dragged all his belongings—his bed, food bowl, toys, and favorite blanket—to the living room and stacked them in front of the door.
I loved that Marvey began stopping at On a Roll, the neighborhood café and bakery that served as the unofficial Peach Coast community hub every morning on the way to work for coffee realizing that it was accelerating her acclimation to everyone in the community and turned the habit into a special treat for a coworker too. As the new Director of Community Engagement for the library Marvey walks the talk especially when she asks community members her new favorite question.

The author has created two (2) strong female characters in the character of Marvey and Jolene (Jo to her friends) Gomez. Not only is it easy to understand why these two (2) women would become friends but they are also wonderful role models for a librarian and an independent bookstore entrepreneur committed to their jobs and their community. As a former librarian who moonlighted at a bookstore while going to graduate school, these character portrayals were especially joyous for me.

The digital book has pretty color drawings of a stack of books 📚 with a pair of glasses 👓 on top at the beginning of each chapter. The breaks within a chapter instead of being the usual asterisk(s) or squiggly line(s) are a pretty Georgia Peach 🍑 in color. All definitely enhance the charm of reading this cozy.
Profile Image for Kristina.
3,389 reviews59 followers
March 20, 2021
Murder By Page One by Olivia Matthews is the debut of A Peach Coast Library Mystery series. Marvey Harris along with her cat, Phoenix has relocated to Peach Coast, Georgia where she is the library’s new Director of Community Engagement. Jo Gomez owns To Be Read which is hosting a book signing of Coastal Fiction Writers. Marvey is attending the signing with Spencer Holt, publisher and editor-in-chief of The Peach Coast Crier. The event is starting, and Jo is worried that one of the author’s Fiona Lyle-Hayes is not in place. The trio go to the backroom where Fiona was unpacking her books to find her dead. Jo becomes the prime suspect of Deputy Jed Whatley which has her unnerved. Jo asks Marvey to help prove her innocence. Marvey with help from her friend’s sets out to discover who wanted Fiona permanently removed from circulation. I enjoyed reading Murder By Page One. I thought Murder By Page One was well-written with steady pacing. The author took the time to introduce Marvella Harris along with a variety of secondary characters. I look forward to getting to know Marvey and her friends better as the series progresses. I enjoyed the descriptions of Peach Coast with its quaint shops and a library housed in a former bus depot. The story is full of quaint southernisms. The one that had me laughing the most was “Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit.” Gossip runs rampant in Peach Coast. As with most rumors, there is only a grain of truth in them. Peach cobbler was another recurring theme. The townspeople seem to consume it in great quantities. The whodunit had several suspects, misdirection, and good clues. I was able to identify the guilty party early, but I did not know why this person had committed the deed. This is what kept me turning the pages. Marvey needs to build the library’s patron list. As she meets new people, she asks them, “Do you have a library card?” I like how the questions unnerves some people. You can tell that Marvey loves her job. I look forward to reading the next A Peach Coast Library Mystery. Murder By Page One is a charming new cozy mystery with rampant rumors, a departed author, a meddling mother, a determined deputy, and a sleuthing librarian.
Profile Image for Bree Hill.
772 reviews574 followers
May 25, 2021
I liked this one, just had an a pretty tough time with the audiobook! Nothing wrong with the narration or anything-that’s actually fantastic, just think audible itself was screwing up.

Anyway-this follows Marvey who is a librarian who recently moved from NYC to small town Georgia. She attends a book launch at her friend Jo’s book shop, To Be Read and a woman (the author launching the book) is found killed.

As is typical with the first in what I hope will be a new series, this first book read like the first of what is more to come. I really liked Marvey as our sleuth. Loved that she’s a librarian who is always asking “do you have a library card?” knowing all the other jobs within the library that librarians do-I just thought that was so cool. So amazing to see a librarian saving the day and using her inquisitiveness to solve a crime!
Profile Image for Karen (BaronessBookTrove).
852 reviews80 followers
March 20, 2021
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy from the Great Escapes Book Tours. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Murder by Page One by Olivia Matthews is a book about a librarian being asked to solve a murder to clear their friend's name.
Will Marvella save Jo's reputation and her bookstore?
Marvella Harris
Marvella "Marvey" Harris is in charge of getting more patrons to the library to get the funding they need. She is working on that while also solving a murder that is tied to her best friend. Besides that, Marvey seems to be a great character. She likes to help her friends and library patrons as much as she can. Marvey, to me, at times, seems to be a bit on the forgetting side of things. Other than that, she does seem to be doing what every sleuth does...getting under people's skin. Marvey is a good character and sleuth.
The Mystery
Murder by Page One CRThe mystery is that Marvey, Jo, and Spence found Fiona Lyle-Hayes in the back of the bookstore murdered. The police think that Jo killed Fiona as Jo is the only one that had the time to kill her. Marvey's on the trail of finding out who actually killed Fiona on Jo's pleading. She is trying her hardest to wafting through the clues and red herrings to figure it out and to tell the police. The hardest part for Marvey is getting them to listen to her. I figured out who killed her early on.
Three Stars
Murder by Page One by Olivia Matthews is my first book by this author, and it really is a good book. Ms. Matthews does a great job of writing the story. I just found some things that took me out of the book for a bit. Marvey is a good character to have as the sleuth in this series. The red herrings didn't get me this time, though. I am giving this book three stars, and I recommend this book to anyone who likes to read cozies.

“It’s nice that you’ve all come to support Fiona.” I turned to Fiona’s friend. “Especially you, Mr. Pelt, coming from South Carolina.”

Willy glanced up from his wristwatch. He seemed surprised that I knew his name, then he noticed Nolan. Willy inclined his head in a silent greeting to Fiona’s business partner, the expression on his pale, square face pleasant but vague. He drove his fingers through his shock of thick auburn hair. “I’ve known Fiona’s family for years.”

“I wonder what Fiona will do now?” Nolan’s attention bounced from Jo to the rest of the group. “Will she give up her share of the business to write full-time?”

It was a good question, although I knew most authors continued to work full-time. Popular media’s depiction of fiction writing as a lucrative career was greatly exaggerated.

Betty snorted. “Well, she doesn’t need a job, now does she? Not like the rest of us. When Buddy died, he left her well provided for. The rest of us have to work for a living.”

The bitterness in her voice seemed to come from far more than envy of another person’s good fortune—literally and figuratively. Then I made the connection: Fiona Lyle-Hayes. Betty Rodgers-Hayes. There was a story there, one that could explain Betty’s hostile disposition.

“I was wondering the same thing.” Willy crossed his arms over his chest. His brown jersey and tan slacks were slightly wrinkled, as though he’d recently pulled both from a suitcase. Had he just driven into town from Beaufort? How long that had taken? “Her late uncle left her his vacation property. The house’s in good shape, and the land is pretty. It’s in a quiet area on the outskirts of town where she could write without being disturbed.”

Bobby shoved his broad hands into the front pockets of his navy blue cargo pants. “She’ll probably go on a lot of tours.” He sounded disappointed, as though he was going to miss Fiona’s company.

“This is ridiculous.” Jo’s words ended the discussion. Her eyes flashed with irritation as her gaze swung to the back of her store. Her ponytail arched behind her. “The signing has started, and Fiona still hasn’t brought out her books. Now, I’m going to have to hustle to help her set everything up.”

“I’ll help.” I hurried to follow Jo as she whirled toward a book aisle.

“So will I.” Spence’s voice came from behind me.

Jo stopped long enough to give us a grateful look. “Thank you, but I can’t ask you to work for me. You’re here as guests.”

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Thank you for dropping by! I hope you enjoyed this review of Murder by Page One by Olivia Matthews. Don't forget to enter the giveaway!

Until the next time,

Karen Signature

Happy Reading!

Victim/Toe Tag: Fiona Lyle-Hayes (F)

Beachcomber Weapons: Box Cutter - household object

Beachcomber Crime Scene: bookstore

Detectives: Marvella Harris (H)

This review was originally posted on Baroness' Book Trove

Profile Image for Linda.
Author 11 books655 followers
April 5, 2021
Murder by Page One had me hooked by page one! In this charming first installment to the new Peach Coast Library Mysteries, I fell instantly in love with Marvey Harris, a former New Yorker and recent transplant to a quaint southern town. Marvey has all the traits I admire in a main character--she’s kind, intuitive, and has a dogged determination to set wrongs to right--especially when a good friend is suspected of murder. Add all that to a finely-sketched cast of characters and you have a mystery you won’t be able to put down! I zoomed through the pages of this face-paced story, but never guessed the killer until the last possible moment. One thing shines through this deliciously wrought mystery: if you want to solve a murder, ask a librarian! I’m looking forward to the second book in this promising new series.
199 reviews
August 8, 2022
More description of what the characters are wearing than any sort of character development:
“His cream dress shirt, navy suit jacket, and matching tie suggested high-quality tailoring.”
“She posed in a rose, knee-length, center-fold sheath dress she’d accessorized with pearl jewelry. Waves of honey-blond hair framed her strong porcelain features. Her green eyes were serious as they returned the….”

Monotony ad nauseam. My opinion gradually went from a 3 star “this is a run-of-the-mill cozy featuring a librarian” to a 2 star to a 1 star. To be fair, I had just finished an amazingly complex and beautifully written book by a Pulitzer Prize winning author. This one, in comparison, seemed to have been written by a tenth grader.
Profile Image for Abby.
528 reviews111 followers
August 31, 2021
I have... mixed feelings. It was fun. I had a good time. I love a good librarian sleuth. I really want peach cobbler now. But there seemed to be a lot of time spent on a lot of other stuff that didn't seem to have any impact on the mystery? And like, I get it, you want to develop the people around it, not just those who are important to the case. But there was just... too much of that, for me.
But I'm glad I read it, and I'll definitely be checking out any further Peach Coast Library books that are published in the future! ((also if Marvey and Spence don't get together by the last one, I will be upset, pffft))

3.5 stars from me!
Profile Image for Marlene.
2,842 reviews191 followers
March 27, 2021
Originally published at Reading Reality

Cymbeline and Peach Coast Georgia seem to be just up the road from each other, both are picturesque small Georgia towns, not too near and not too far from the “big” cities of Atlanta and Savannah. Both are places where an outsider can be considered a “real” resident after not too much time, and both seem to be lovely places for a extremely amateur detective to take up the investigation of murder as a slightly dangerous hobby.

If you’re wondering, Cymbeline is the location of the Georgia B&B cozy mystery series, while Peach Coast is the setting for today’s cozy mystery, featuring Marvey Harris as the budding sleuth desperate to save her best friend in her new town, Jo Gomez, the owner of the oh-so-tempting To Be Read Bookstore.

Back to Marvey, who is always very tempted by that bookstore, as she is the recently transplanted Community Engagement Director at the Peach Coast Library. The more that she can raise awareness of the library and increase participation in all the wonderful things that the library has to offer, the better her chances of helping the library to get a much-needed budget increase – not to mention keep the job she moved from New York City (and the New York Public Library) to take.

Synergy between the library and the local bookstore is certainly part of her strategy as it is in real library life too. That Marvey and Jo have bonded over their mutual love of reading is icing on a very tasty cake.

Or it is until their big event at the bookstore, a multi-author book signing for several published authors who live in Peach Coast, is interrupted by the murder of one of those authors who is supposed to be signing her books.

But when Fiona Lyle-Hayes doesn’t come out for the signing, Marvey, Jo and local newspaper owner, editor AND reporter (also local heartthrob) Spence Holt start searching the store’s backrooms for their reluctant author. Only to discover her not-yet-cold corpse.

When the local cops seem to be taking the easy way out of solving the murder – accusing Jo because the body was found in her store – instead of actually investigating the crime, Marvey and Spence take the investigation into their own amateur hands.

After all, they’re both good at research, and they have much more open minds than the local deputies. The deputies want Jo to be guilty because she’s not a local and it would make their jobs easier all the way around if she were the culprit.

Marvey and Spence however, are sure that Jo is innocent – and certain that there were plenty of locals who had a much better motive – actually any motive at all – for killing one of the most unpopular people in town.

Their quest to find a better suspect makes a whole lot of people in Peach Coast extremely uncomfortable. People like the mayor, who controls the town’s, and therefore the library’s, budget; those local cops who don’t like having doubt cast on their investigative prowess – and the real killer hidden in the shadows.

Escape Rating B: Peach Coast, like Cymbeline, seems like a wonderful place to visit. One of those places where I wish I knew the town it was modeled on, because it would only be a day trip from home.

This is, after all, the start of a cozy mystery series and Peach Coast sounds so very cozy.

As the story begins, Marvey is very much an outsider in this small town, something that is often the case for detectives, whether amateur or professional, at least in fiction. She’s only been in town for four months, and no matter how long she stays she’ll always be considered a bit of an outsider. Except for being certain that her friend isn’t the murderer, Marvey doesn’t have any preconceived notions of who the murderer might be. But she does need more local knowledge than she has, and that’s where Spence comes in. His roots in the community go back generations, he knows everyone and everyone knows him. While he’s equally certain Jo didn’t do it, there are people in town he is more than inclined to believe are also innocent. That’s not an issue in this case but it might be if the series continues.

One of the things that worked very well in this amateur investigation was the way that all of the things they thought they knew about the victim turned out to be misleading at best and utterly false at worst. Because Fiona was an outsider, and because she tended to keep herself to herself, there was more gossip about her than fact and people believed the gossip because it was salacious.

Shy people are often thought to be arrogant and aloof, and Fiona got lumped into that kind of misjudgment.

The process of the amateur investigation, the one step forward two steps back nature of it, the false starts and hard stops, was done very well, even if a couple of things that happened made me feel like either I missed something or the detectives did. Specifically, we never did really get an explanation of why the local cops so very focused on Jo from the outset. She had zero motive, while the victim was a controversial figure around town to say the least, meaning that the number of people with seemingly excellent motives was rather high – much too high to be ignored by the cops. Something about that part of the scenario smelled rotten. I kept expecting the cops to either be involved or at least have their own motive for their behavior, but we didn’t see it.

That no one, neither the librarian nor the newspaperman nor the cops did any actual investigation of the victim’s life before she moved to Peach Coast felt like an obvious point that got overlooked by, clearly, everyone.

That being said, the whole thing was a lot of fun and I enjoyed following Marvey – and Spence – in the process of finding out who really done it. Also in what looked the very first steps of possibly exploring a relationship beyond mere friendship – or partners in solving crime.

Part of that enjoyment, part of the reason I picked up Murder by Page One in the first place, was that Marvey Harris was a librarian. And she read and felt like “one of us”, which made the book even more fun for this librarian to read and enjoy! (And as a librarian myself, I can’t resist recommending the Georgia B&B series, starting with Peach Clobbered, makes a terrific readalike for Murder by Page One and vice-versa!)

As this is the first book in a new series, I’m looking forward to a return visit to Peach Coast whenever Marvey finds herself involved in another case.
2,809 reviews1,728 followers
December 22, 2022
I so love a librarian amateur sleuth and not only is Marvey one, but she has a posse of 'em who have her back as well. :-) Plus two of the bestest friends in the whole world! She's a transplanted New Yorker settling into the alien world of a Southern small town. Love the way the author creates that rich, distinctive feeling of the South -- or what this Canadian thinks it's like. She delivers nuances of language and culture that made me feel transported out of my snowy urban setting.

And my, oh, my, I love how fired up Marvey is about her library work. Funny and inspiring and fits the setting. Nothing like murder against a literary backdrop, right? And, really, you can't ask for better researchers than librarians! Which comes in handy when Marvey et al step in to solve a murder before her bestie, Jo, gets arrested for a crime she didn't commit. Great pacing and I like the way these amateur sleuths approached their clue digging.

Plus we have a hint of romance developing. Eeeep, everything I love in a cozy mystery. I listened to the audible edition narrated by Janina Edwards and really enjoyed the way she brought these characters to life. I'll definitely continue the series with audible.

Profile Image for Ancillar.
564 reviews48 followers
April 19, 2021
Shut the front door!! A cozy by a black author is exactly what I needed to keep me warm on a cloudy day! Murder by Page one is the first in a series by Olivia Matthews and published by Hallmark Publishing.  This cozie (is this a word?) is set in a small town called Peach Coast and tells the story of Marvey who just moved from NYC to work at the library while trying to make her cat happy. One day Marvey attends a book launch party at Jo’s (Jo is her friend) bookstore. When the author fails to appear, the attendees search for her and find her body in the storage room. Marvey like a good friend works to clear her friend's name *sigh*.
Profile Image for e_anne_b.
172 reviews14 followers
September 30, 2022
super comfortable cozy read. loved it as a break from a crazy life lately🌸🌴
Profile Image for Emily.
53 reviews1 follower
September 9, 2021
I enjoyed this book, the characters, and the southern slang. Marvey's character kept me reading and wondering, whodunit??
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