A Tourist’s Guide to Murder (Mystery Bookshop #6) by V.M. Burns

Expected publication: January 26th 2021 by Kensington Books

About the Book: While visiting the land of Miss Marple and Sherlock Holmes, bookstore owner and amateur sleuth Samantha Washington finds herself on a tragical mystery tour . . .

Sam joins Nana Jo and her Shady Acres Retirement Village friends Irma, Dorothy, and Ruby Mae on a weeklong trip to London, England, to experience the Peabody Mystery Lovers Tour. The chance to see the sights and walk the streets that inspired Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle is a dream come true for Sam—and a perfect way to celebrate her new publishing contract as a mystery author.

But between visits to Jack the Ripper’s Whitechapel district and 221B Baker Street, Major Horace Peabody is found dead, supposedly of natural causes. Despite his employer’s unfortunate demise, the tour guide insists on keeping calm and carrying on—until another tourist on their trip also dies under mysterious circumstances. Now it’s up to Sam and the Shady Acres ladies to mix and mingle among their fellow mystery lovers, find a motive, and turn up a murderer . . .

4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I have been enjoying this interesting series. Each of these books has a mystery inside a mystery. This book has our protagonist, mystery bookstore owner and cozy mystery author, Sam on a tour in England with Nana Jo and her friends. They are on a mystery lovers tour where they will see places where famous mystery authors such as Agatha Christie, Dick Francis and Arthur Conan Doyle either lived or got their ideas. Sam is hoping to get inspiration for her novels. Of course wherever Sam, Nana Jo, Irma, Ruby Mae and Dorothy go, murder seems to follow.

This was a well-written story with the secondary plot being the book Sam is writing. I really enjoy how V.M. Burns has both stories parallel each other with similarities, yet also differences to make them both interesting. The ladies (ie Sleuthing Senior Citizens) are wonderful characters. I love the relationship Sam has with her Nana Jo, it is loving, humorous and realistic. The chemistry between the friends is fantastic. They are all so different from one another, but get along so well and their strengths and personalities complement one another. The double murders were interesting, especially the mode of them. I did figure out who the culprit was relatively early in the story, even though there were many possible suspects. I enjoyed learning about the various authors and where they lived and got their inspiration. I did miss Sam’s dogs in this one, but hopefully they will return in the next book. Reading about Sam’s evolution as an author has been a great part of this series, and in this book she finally gets an offer to publish her first book. I enjoyed how this book wrapped up as well as the conclusion to the one Sam is writing throughout the story whenever she gets a few extra moments. Both had some tense moments, which also added a bit of suspense and tension. Overall, this was a fun and interesting cozy mystery. One I read straight through when I sat down with this book. I recommend this one to those who enjoy a fun cozy mystery. I was gifted a copy of this book upon request. The rating and ideas shared are my own.

Purchase Links: Apple –  Amazon – Google – Kobo – Nook –  BAM –  Bookshop.org –  Hudson Booksellers –  IndieBound –  Target 

Guest Post from V.M. Burns


I read and write cozies, and it’s easy to forget that there are people in the world who don’t have a bookshelf full of these gems, and may not even know what they are. Recently, while participating in an event with another cozy mystery author where we tossed the lingo around, I was reminded that not everyone is as immersed into the cozy world as I am. So, I thought I’d spend a few moments explaining what differentiates a cozy from other types of mysteries.

Cozy mysteries or “cozies” are a subgenre of the mystery/crime fiction genre. Cozy mysteries feature an amateur sleuth solving mysteries and figuring out whodunit versus a policeman or private investigator who gets paid to solve mysteries and catch criminals. More often than not, that amateur sleuth is a woman. Cozies are usually set in a small town or a village versus the bustling big cities like New York or Los Angeles. When explaining cozies, it’s often easier to discuss the things that cozies don’t have rather than what they do. Here are the biggest Cozy No-Nos. Cozy mysteries can’t have bad language, graphic descriptions of blood, guts or gore, no excessive violence, and no sex. Cozies are often referred to as ‘clean mysteries’ because of this. However, to every rule, there is an exception, but by and large, these are the rules.

Whenever I encounter someone who isn’t familiar with cozies, I ask, “have you ever seen Murder, She Wrote?” Jessica Fletcher (female amateur sleuth) from the small town of Cabot Cove, Maine, is a mystery author who often ‘stumbles across’ a dead body. If you’ve ever seen the show, you’d know Jessica isn’t likely to swear, wield a gun, nor is she likely to engage in a sexual rendezvous.  Yet, as a mystery writer, her book research has given her a vast amount of experience relating to criminal behavior and forensics. This knowledge, combined with her keen observation skills enables her to solve mysteries that have baffled the police, FBI, CIA, Interpol, and the KGB.

There are other rules that cozy authors must follow. First, the author must ‘play fair with the reader.’ That means, all clues must be revealed to the reader at the same time that the amateur sleuth finds them. No withholding of clues until the final scene. Secondly, justice must prevail. The villain doesn’t win in a cozy. However, justice may not necessarily mean that the killer goes to jail. If, the victim in a cozy mystery is an evil person, the ‘just’ thing may mean allowing the killer or Killers to get away (SPOILER ALERT***think Agatha Christie’s, Murder on the Orient Express). Thirdly, cozies must be resolved at the end. Usually, the resolution is revealed in a dramatic denouncement or the “Big Reveal.” The amateur sleuth puts all the pieces of the puzzle together and points out all of the clues which helped them figure out Whodunit. In a perfect world, the reader and the amateur sleuth arrive at the answer at the same time. Lastly, cozies often (but not always) feature themes (e.g., food, hobbies, pets, etc.) which educate or inform by including recipes, quilting patterns, or even yard sale tips.

So, if you enjoy puzzles, word games, crosswords, or other brain games, then you just might enjoy reading a cozy mystery. Sort through the clues and red herrings (false clues). Pit your wits against the author and see if you can figure out Whodunit.

About the Author:

V.M. (Valerie) Burns was born and raised in the Midwestern United States. She currently resides in the warmer region of the country in East Tennessee with her two poodles. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Dog Writers of America, Crime Writers of Color, International Thriller Writers, and Sisters in Crime. Valerie is the author of the RJ Franklin Mysteries, the Dog Club Mysteries, and the Agatha Award-nominated Mystery Bookshop Mystery series.

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