As if the use of alternate names by authors wasn’t confusing enough, this series is written by three different authors. The first three books are written by Lucy Arlington (aka J. B. Stanley, Jennifer Stanley, & Ellery Adams) with her friend Sylvia May. The series was taken over by Susan Furlong on book #4. Can it get any more confusing? >>> I hope not!
In the first book of the series, Buried in a Book we are introduced to Lila Wilkins, and we learn on the first page of the book that she has just lost her longstanding (20 years!) job writing features for the local newspaper. However, Lila lands on her feet fast, getting a job as an intern at the “A Novel Idea” literary agency which is located in a nearby small town called “Inspiration Valley” in North Carolina.
Lila is a 45 year-old single mother of a boy (Trey) who has just graduated from high school. Her mother (suitably quirky as befits a Cozy Mystery) makes a living telling fortunes in the small town where Lila’s new job is.
Soon, of course, there is a murder that happens almost right in front of Lila at the agency on her first day of work. A homeless person named Marlette, who has been coming to the agency everyday for some time, dies on the couch in the waiting area where Lila’s work area is. Before we know it Lila is deeply involved in trying to solve the mystery.
The small town is filled with interesting characters who Lila seems to have no trouble meeting and making connections with including the owner of the coffee shop that is downstairs from the agency. Lila also meets the handsome police detective who is officially responsible for trying to solve the murder mystery. I don’t think I am giving too much away to tell you that Lila has no problem interesting men >>> (she tells us that she has been told more than once that she looks a lot like Marilyn Monroe while she was still Norma Jeane Baker!)
So, the book has (more than) a hint of romance. It also has quite a rich backdrop with a convincing depiction of a small town and small workplace (the literary agency). If you are looking for a mystery where the whole book deals with only the mystery, this is probably not for you. If you want to lose yourself in the life of a character who is trying to make her way in the world of a new job and a new hometown while trying to take care of her teenage son and solving a complicated mystery, then probably this is a series for you. I know it is one for me!
If you’re interested in reading more of these brief revisits of some of the more popular Cozy Mystery Series that I’ve written in the past, you can find them at the Most Recommended Cozy Mystery Series page on my site.