Wednesday, October 25, 2023

The Fatal Folio - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  The Fatal Folio (The Cambridge Bookshop #3) by Elizabeth Penney

Rating:  Really Liked It (4.5 Stars)
Source:   Publisher

Description:  After moving to Cambridge, England, Molly Kimball has found a lot to love, including—of course—her family’s ancestral bookshop, Thomas Marlowe-Manuscripts and Folios. And though she’s not quite ready to use the “L” word when it comes to her boyfriend Kieran, she’s definitely fallen for his intimidating family’s library.

His family is paying her handsomely for an updated catalog when Molly discovers the original manuscript of a Gothic novel, A Fatal Folio by the pseudonymous Selwyn Scott. Kieran’s cousin Oliver, a professor specializing in Gothic literature, is eager to publish a paper on the mystery—especially because a troublesome student, Thad, is threatening to file a complaint against him and prevent his long-awaited promotion.

On Guy Fawkes Night, Molly, Kieran, and her friends set out to enjoy the costumes, fireworks, and fun—at least until a stray firework starts a panic, and the group stumbles upon a prone body, their face covered by a mask. It’s Thad, and he’s been stabbed to death.

It soon becomes clear Oliver isn’t the only one with a motive, and Molly must once again put on a few masks of her own to sleuth out Thad’s killer, prove Oliver’s innocence, and discover what Selwyn’s novel might have to do with this most atmospheric mystery…

Genre:  Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I've really enjoyed the previous two books in this series so of course I had to read this one!

My Impression:  Oh this was fun!  I've enjoyed the previous books in the series.  Molly is a nice main character, her family is interesting and the setting is a bookshop that has been open since the 1600s in Cambridge.  It's a fun bookish cozy mystery series.  But this book in particular was essentially a fairy tale for booklovers.  There's a huge library in a castle where the residents have been book lovers for generations and Molly gets to inventory all those books.  There's also an early Gothic manuscript with a mystery author and Molly gets to rummage in family records to solve a literary mystery.  I'm not really a jealous person but I was a bit jealous of Molly!  

Not only is there the bookish mystery but while Molly and her friends are celebrating Guy Fawkes night when they stumble on a body and become involved in an investigation connected to a respected university.  I really enjoyed seeing Molly figure out her first Guy Fawkes night.  It's not a holiday I know much about so I liked seeing it from her perspective.

The mystery was a delight with red herrings and all kinds of bookish sidelines.  The timing of the murder added a fun bit of complication.  I did guess a few things before the end but as I enjoyed this book from beginning to end that didn't bother me in the slightest.  If you enjoy bookish cozies than I highly recommend this series.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I have really enjoyed all three books in this series and would read anything I saw by this author.  

Would I Recommend this Book?  Definitely!  If you enjoy bookish cozies this is a fun series.  

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


  1. Oh another great sounding read. Guy Fawkes is a very English celebration(or not!) and it came down here too with all the English. We used to let of crackers etc as kids but now it is (to me) a nuisance of fireworks being let off in the neighbourhood.

  2. Sounds very fun and a different setting being not US.

    Anne - Books of My Heart

  3. Bookshops, England and a library in a castle? Sounds awesome to me! :D

  4. Yay! I am so glad you liked this one, Katherine! I am looking forward to reading it myself.