The Coloring Crook (Pen & Ink Mysteries, #2)4 Stars

Published November 27th 2018 by Kensington Publishing Corporation

This the second book in the Pen & Ink Mysteries and I think I enjoyed this one more than the first. Florrie Fox continues to manage The Georgetown bookstore by day and design adult coloring books by night. She has made friends with several members of the weekly coloring group, especially Dolly Cavanaugh. Dolly has struggled to make ends meet since her last husband was killed, so she enjoys bargain hunting at estate sales. When she finds a rare copy of “The Florist”, an adult coloring book from the 1700’s she is interested in finding out what it is worth. That doesn’t happen, as she is found dead shortly after with a small piece of the book in her hand, the book itself, missing. Florrie, wondering what happened to her friend as well as worried about what will happen to her tenants, begins to investigate. As secrets begin to come to light, Florrie is left to wonder how well she really knew Dolly. Was The Florist the motive for Dolly’s murder, or did a secret from her past catch up with her?

Florrie is a great main character. She loves her job, her home and her friends. Going to an estate sale with Dolly and her friends is a fun way to spend the day and learn all about the bargain hunters who attend as well as those who curate the sales. As more characters are added to the mix, the plot of this story picks up and there are twists that I did not expect. Could a daughter kill her own mother, even if they were estranged? Who is the mysterious man claiming to be looking for his father? Why is someone following Florrie? There were so many red herrings that I changed my mind about the killer so often I was getting dizzy. When it all came together at the end, I felt satisfied, but thought the ending was a bit too fast and furious. I would have liked a few more details. This was a fun mystery and I do recommend it to cozy mystery lovers, especially fans of Krista Davis. Of course, if you love adult coloring books, you will want to purchase a physical copy of this book so you can color the cover and don’t forget to check out the recipes at the end. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book to read upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.

About the Book: Includes A Front and Back Cover for You to Color!

Life is looking rosy for Florrie Fox, manager of the Color Me Read bookstore in Georgetown, Washington D.C. She’s working on an adult coloring book of gardens, her romance with Sergeant Eric Jonquille has entered a new chapter, and the bookstore’s weekly coloring club is a source of friendship and entertainment. No member is more vibrant than Dolly Cavanaugh. Dolly likes to say she was blessed with beauty and cursed with lousy husbands, but at least she has a grown daughter and a stunning brownstone to show for it!

When Dolly’s love of garage sales results in her showing up at Color Me Read with a rare book in hand, Florrie is astounded. The Florist, the earliest known coloring book, was first published in 1760. An original copy would be worth a fortune–and someone else knows it. That same evening, Florrie finds Dolly dead on the floor of her apartment, a corner of a coloring book page clutched in her hand. As Florrie delves into Dolly’s past and her personal effects, she discovers a skeleton in the closet–literally–and a whole lot of shady suspects. One of them is an expert in the fine art of murder, but can Florrie draw the right conclusion?

Krista DavisAbout the Author: Krista Davis lives and writes in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. She lived in Northern Virginia for many years and resided for a time in Old Town Alexandria where her Domestic Diva Mysteries take place.Krista also writes the Paws and Claws Mysteries, which debuted with MURDER, SHE BARKED. They are set in a resort town that caters to people who want to vacation with their dogs and cats. Alas, charming Wagtail Mountain, Virginia, where dogs and cats are welcome everywhere is fictional.

She likes to cook and bake (okay, what she really likes is eating) so it was only natural for her to include recipes in her mysteries. Her three dogs and two cats have inspired the animal characters in her books.