Book Notes-How to Book a Murder by Cynthia Kuhn

First book in a new series

How To Book a Murder
A Starlit Bookshop Murder

by Cynthia Kuhn

The Book-How to Book a Murder

Emma Stars, PhD, has returned to Silvercrest, Colorado, to help her sister Lucy run Starlit Bookshop, the bookstore founded by their late parents. Lucy has just told Emma that if they don’t have a financial miracle by Halloween the bookstore will have to close. Emma and Lucy are brainstorming ideas to expand social events to bring in more money when a possible financial miracle totters through the shop’s door, shrieking into her cellphone. Emma’s high school nemesis, Tabitha Louise Saxton Lyme Harmon Gladstone Baxter, is wealthy and in desperate need of a new party planner for her murder mystery dinner party. Emma jumps at this chance to earn money for the store as well as the exposure to Tabitha’s wealthy social circle.

The party goes well. As the guests are enjoying dessert, Emma clears the great room of stray glasses. While doing a final sweep of the patio, something catches her eye, and thinking one of the guests left something behind, Emma heads over to pick it up. Once there, though, Emma realizes she’s found a body. It’s Tip, Tabitha’s wealthy husband and the evening’s host. Tip Baxter was the Arts and Humanities dean at Silvercrest College and had invited bickering members of a faculty committee to the party. One of those committee members is Emma’s Aunt Nora, a tenured faculty professor at the college.

Tabitha is convinced Emma and Nora are guilty of murdering Tip. Detective Trujillo also has suspicions regarding Emma and Nora’s innocence. Emma knows she and Nora are innocent of Tip’s murder and she decides the only way to clear their names is to find the murderer on her own. Emma does discover the killer, only to find she’s the next intended victim.

My thoughts

This is the first book in a new series and it’s off to a solid start. The strong family bonds between Lucy, Emma, and their Aunt Nora drew me in. Emma’s relationship struggle with her high school nemesis Tabitha Louise Saxton Lyme Harmon Gladstone Baxter is spot on. The murderer was a surprise. I thought I had that person’s identity figured out, but I was wrong-several times. I hope there are more books planned for this series because I’m looking forward to reading the next one.


Author information

Cynthia Kuhn


Publishing information

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Published by Crooked Lane Books
336 Pages

ISBN 9781643858593