Genre: cozy mystery
The national bestselling Novel Idea Mysteries return with Lila Wilkins, who has just been promoted to full-time literary agent. But great new writers aren't the only people she's trying to catch...
Lila Wilkins has it all: the home of her dreams in the charming town of Inspiration Valley, North Carolina; a perfect police officer boyfriend; and a new job she absolutely loves. At the Book and Author Festival, which is sponsored by the Novel Idea Literary Agency, Lila expects to discover some talented new authors, but what she finds instead is the body of an editor to whom she bears an eerie resemblance.
Trouble is, the editor's death isn't the only literary murder taking place. Soon a blossoming author is also killed, and Lila has a gut feeling that the two murders are linked. Now she must hunt down the dark figure who killed these women - and to her surprise, she just might find the clues hidden in a manuscript...
I am very happy to report, that I liked this second book a lot more than the first. I really enjoyed Lila in this book, though she sure manages to get into trouble easy, as she keeps jumping to conclusions (the wrong ones most often).
When the book starts, Lila is very busy with the organization of the Book and Author Festival in town this weekend, and she just hired a new intern. Now she has been promoted to literary agent, some one else has to tackle the query letters, and all the other jobs that needs to be done. And this woman, 69 year old Vicky Crump, is perfect for the job: a former librarian, and not afraid to get her hands dirty with cleaning as well. In no time she organises the office, and makes sure everything runs smoothly.
A few days after hiring Vicky, Lila gets really spooked by a proposal, it is undoubtedly good, but not her genre, and she gives it over to Jude. The author, Mason Kirk, will be at the literary festival as well. Lila and the other authors will be having pitch sessions, where an upcoming author can pitch their books life to them. They will get only a few minutes each. Lila is extremely nervous about it all, but ofcourse the authors will be even more so.
While drinking some of Makayla, from Espresso Yourself, her delicious coffee, Lila meets a woman who could be her twin sister! They even have the same taste in dress, and immediately hit it off. Melissa is a senior editor, and in town for the literary festival.
Lila is really enjoying herself, except for that very creepy man who can’t stop staring at her. And when he drops a Raven’s feather on her table before leaving the room at the end of the pitch sessions, she sure is scared. Then the roof starts leaking over her head, and she needs to get something to catch the rain in, before they all get soaked. While going to the janitor closet in the closed-off hallway, she meets the scary guy again, and he tries to accost her! Luckily, another coworker chases him off, but Lila sure is rattled.
The next day, all is going well, they are having fun, and there are some promising new authors who might become their new clients, with a bit of encouragement. The day closes with a costumed ball, and they are all having a blast. Lila and her almost-boyfriend, the yummy police detective Sean Griffiths, are dressed as Helen of Troy and Paris. But their lovely evening out is cut short, when it is discovered that the restricted section is no longer barred, and that someone got murdered there! Lila is horrified to discover Melissa, it is like looking at her own dead body! But who could have murdered her, and why? Did the killer pick the wrong woman? Or did he mistake Lila for Melissa earlier, and is it Mason Kirk who is the killer?
Of course Sean doesn’t like Lila getting involved, but she feels like she has no choice, and she can get more information about Melissa’s literary work than Sean. Perhaps a disgruntled author is the killer, or a jealous collegue.
At home there is also not much rest for Lila. Her son Trey is visiting, and he feels like something is off at the Coop he joined last summer. He still enjoys working with the goats, and selling their products in town, but things have changed, and he doesn’t like it. When Lila goes up for a visit, she sure is surprised. Not only is there electricity, and other luxurious amenities, the leader doesn’t look like Jesus anymore either, but more like a businessman. How did they get the money for all this? And why has everything changed so much? Is there really something hinky going on now?
Trey wants to find out for himself, if he wants to stay on the mountain, or go to college after all. Which will depend on his girlfriend as well, the younger sister of the leader, and a really sweet person.
Of course, Lila can’t help but meddle a bit, as she comes up with a plan for Trey to find out what is happening in truth at those meetings he is not welcome at, but lots of college students from town are.
With a killer on the loose, a lot of work at the agency, and moving into her new home, Lila is kept very busy. And as Sean has to capture that killer, that means they can’t spend as much time together as they should like. But when Lila is in danger, it is Sean who races to the rescue.
A very good cozy mystery, with the roots of the mystery planted far in the past. Two women who both made a new life for themselves, are brutally murdered. What is their connection, and why did it happen? With the help of Makayla, Lila sets out to find out the truth, and the real killer’s identity.
I enjoyed it, and since Lila is so very fond of her bright yellow Vespa scooter, named Sunshine, I keep seeing those things everywhere in town. Which makes me think about the book again, with a smile.
Lila still dives headfirst into danger, and she rushes to conclusions, but mostly I like her. She is more cool about her son living his own life, but of course very happy when he mentions perhaps going to college after all, all on his own. She wants him to have the best possible future, and in America, that means getting a college education. Trey has really grown from a spoiled boy to someone who knows how to work, and doesn’t mind helping his mother in and around the house. I like him in this book, a lot.
Then there is Lila’s mother, the amazing Althea. She is a bit of a clairvoyant, a fortune teller, and Lila is starting to believe in her powers, as they have been scarily accurate a few times lately. I like her, a feisty old lady with a love for Jim Bean.
And last, Lila’s love interest, Sean. I think he is genuinely interested in Lila, but his work keeps getting between them. Which I don’t mind at all, I do prefer a slow setup of a romance, especially in a cozy mystery series. I am looking forward to more of them as a couple though.
The mystery part was very good. I did guess most things, but the execution was amazing, and even a bit scary at the end. I really do like to be surprised by an author, and kept guessing on what will happen next. Lucy Arlington is well on her way to land on my autobuy author list with this series. Let’s hope the next book is even better than this one.
© 2013 Reviews by Aurian