Monday, May 29, 2023

Murder Off the Books - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Murder Off the Books (By the Books Mystery #3) by Tamara Berry

Rating:  Really Liked It (4 Stars)
Source:   Publisher

Description:  Author Tess Harrow and her daughter, Gertrude, are starting to get a bad reputation due to their involvement in recent murder cases, so Tess has come up with the perfect plan to drum up some positive press. She'll combine her new book release and her bookstore opening into one big event, giving her a chance to wine and dine the locals and some big press contacts. But the night before the party, Tess is greeted by a surprise: her mother has come for a visit, with her much-younger new boyfriend in tow...a boyfriend Gertrude recognizes as the notorious Levi Parker, a man recently connected to the deaths of three elderly widows.

Tess immediately alerts Sheriff Boyd about the visitor, but it's already too late. Levi Parker is found dead and Tess's mother is starting to look like the prime suspect. Bernadette swears she didn't murder Levi, and Tess is doing her best to maintain her mother's innocence, but too many coincidences keep stacking up. With the whole town seemingly against her family, it's up to Tess to get to the bottom of the story before it's too late.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I have thoroughly enjoyed the previous two books in this series so I couldn't wait to see what kind of trouble Tess got into next.  

My Impression:  If I had only one word to review this book I'd use the word chaotic.  For the most part that is in the best possible way.  Tess Harrow is smart, creative, funny, and could not do a load of laundry without turning everything into complete and total chaos which makes for a very entertaining story.  Gertrude is her usual delightful precocious self and the addition of Tess's mother definitely added to the chaos and drama - especially considering her latest fling is suspected of murdering his last few love interests (all older women with money).  Throw in Tess trying to open her bookstore and a fame driven podcaster and this was a fun mystery from beginning to end.

I love that Tess is a bit of chaos and definitely quirky but it doesn't feel forced or over the top.  Tess is quirky and impulsive and fabulous at jumping to the wildest of conclusions but it is so 100% her that it doesn't bother me the way it might in a character less well drawn.  The mystery had lots of ins and outs and things going on with fish money, autographed books, and bunches of other things that did come together in the end to make a satisfying conclusion.  That said some of the chaos did bleed off onto the end of the book making things feel a tiny bit confusing at first and there were a few points that I would have liked addressed more (especially an old picture Tess finds in an ill advised searching activity).  

All of  that said, this is a fun read from beginning to end with an entertaining and unpredictable main character and I can't wait to see what she's going to do next!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I have really enjoyed every book I've read by this author and can't wait to read more.  

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy cozies with interesting characters and fun plotlines this is the series for you!

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *


  1. This series is in my TBR. It sounds so good.

  2. I didn't know the third one was out. Yay! I really enjoyed the first two books in this series. :D

  3. This series really does sound like fun! I hope to tackle it at some point.

  4. Another great cozy mystery series - oh well I can't read them all!

  5. Sounds like there's a lot going on in this mystery! Book three is out? I'm already behind!