Member Reviews

This is a new author to me, and I found the story to be quite enjoyable. Molly and her mother, Nina, move to historic Cambridge, England, to help her aunt run the family bookshop. An aunt and additional family members that Molly didn’t even know existed.

Aunt Violet gets accused of murdering a former college classmate. Molly sets out to clear her aunt and discovers mysteries from the past, as well as the present, several suspects, jealousy, twists and turns, and blackmail. Can Molly solve the crime before anyone else gets hurt or murdered?

I was given an advance copy by NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press. This review is my honest opinion.

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I don’t read many English Cozy Mysteries, and I am not sure why since I always end up enjoying them. And Chapter and Curse, the first book in The Cambridge Bookshop Mysteries by Elizabeth Penney is very enjoyable!

Penney really shines in all three areas that are essential to cozies; the well developed community, the wonderful descriptions of the town/job, and an engaging mystery with lots of suspects and some red herrings.

Penney has lots of fantastic characters so I’m sure readers will find at least one to be a favorite, if not all of them. Sir Jon, a former spy, is definitely high up on my list. But I really like the patience of George, and Daisy too, who is becoming the fun BFF to Molly. There’s also the wonderful family aspect with her mother, Nina, and her Aunt Violet. Along with the bookstore’s cat, who is a perfectly written cat, there’s Puck, the new shop cat, who is a curious little bugger.
And, of course, we can’t forget the love interest, Kieran. I really enjoy the twist that Penney has given the romantic partner being from high society while Molly is not. I’m looking forward to seeing how his connections play out in future books.

As for the descriptions of Cambridge, the bookstore, local pub, and other shops, they make me want to go for a month-long trip to England. Penney adds in details not only of the architecture, but includes bits of history and nods to various books that will have any book lover very happy. It seems like such a charming place (besides the murder) with people riding bicycles everywhere, stopping in to accuse people of murder and still being offered a spot of tea, and pubs where everyone really does know your name.

Penney offered up lots of suspects for the mystery, even having me wonder for a brief moment if it could have been the aunt! The blackmail aspect of the crime provided lots of motives for the various suspects and showed what a truly horrible person the murder victim was.

I highly recommend the new Cambridge Bookshop Mysteries and can’t wait for the next book in the series!

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This is a new cozy series by cozy author Elizabeth Penney. I loved this first in series . The author has all the right elements cozy readers love for a successful series. The charcters , the setting and the sleuth are well crafted . This was a very enjoyable read. Thank you to the publisher and to Net Galley for the opportunity.

We are introduced to our new protagnist Molly Kimball who is a dedicated Librarian . When Molly feels she needs a change her hopes are answered in a letter from her Aunt asking her to come to Cambridge to help run the family bookstore. Molly and her Mother leave for Cambridge excited to have new experiences and meet new people.

The bookstore Manuscripts and Folios is not doing well. Upon arrival they are involved in the traditional Cambridge Literary Festival . Molly invites poet Persephone Brightwell to hold a poetry reading in the shop during the festival to generate business.. When a murder occurs at the event her Aunt's knitting is found near the body and she is suspect number one. Molly is determined to clear her Aunt's name and save the bookstore for her family.

This was a sleuth that kept me guessing to conclusion. I loved the setting of Cambridge,, the charcters and the bookstore. I look forward to the next in series.

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I am already a fan of this author's apron shop series. If you like that series, you'll love this one too. Elizabeth Penney has a way of inviting you into the story, feeling like you're hanging out with the characters and strolling the charming streets of Cambridge right along with Molly.

Molly Kimball and her mother have been grieving the recent loss of her father/husband and are suddenly invited to Cambridge, England to run the family's 400 year old bookshop, Thomas Marlowe. Feeling they are in a rut, they pull up stakes and cross the ocean. Molly is eager to meet her English family, whom her mother does not speak of and Nina, her mother, is both anxious and excited to reconnect with her past. Molly is bursting with ideas to promote Thomas Marlowe and save it from development by a large chain shop. When a poetry reading turns deadly, with Molly's Aunt Violet as the prime suspect, Molly starts making inquiries. With the help of the son of an aristocrat, a tea shop owner and a former MI6 agent, they are determined to get to the bottom of the case.

I have never been to England but always wanted to visit. I felt like this gave me a small peek into a place I hope to see some day. I appreciated all the explanations of the some of the British slang and the use of them peppered throughout the story, though I confess I had a little difficulty reconciling the English accents in my mind while reading the dialogue but that is just me. The cast of characters in this book is absolutely smashing. I would love to have a group of friends and amateur sleuths like this. Complete with a high speed chase at the end *she says cheekily* this is a story you don't want to miss. An absolutely delightful start to a new series. I very much hope for more!!

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This should be a great new series, and I'm looking forward to the next book. This book has all of my favorite cozy mystery elements - a librarian, Cambridge England, a book store, cats, and likeable characters. The readers gets a great feel of Cambridge ambiance and well developed characters along with a dead body and old mystery.

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Chapter and Curse is a good first book in a new cozy mystery series . I really liked the characters. They were well written and fun . The location was fantastic . The mystery kept me guessing all the way . All the elements of a great cozy mystery . Definitely looking forward to the next book in the series .

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Chapter and Curse is a book shop cozy set in Cambridge, England. After a letter arrives inviting Librarian Molly and her recently widowed mother, Nina to England to help with a great aunt's bookstore, Molly and her mother depart the States for the jolly shores of England. Molly is soon enthralled with the historic bookstore and throws herself into finding ways to help her great, great aunt save the business. When a busybody distant cousin is found dead with a knitting needle to the heart in the garden of the bookshop. Molly throws herself into proving her aunt was not involved and weeding out the real killer. Fast paced, easy read with a twisted whodunit, the story was enjoyable even in the predictable conclusion with an interesting cast of characters. My voluntary, unbiased review is based upon a review copy form Netgalley.

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"Chapter and Curse” is the first instalment in The Cambridge Bookshop Mystery series by Elizabeth Penney set in Cambridge, England. What a great start to a new series!

Molly Kimball is used to cracking open books . . . but when a poetry reading ends in murder she must use her skills to crack the case.

I absolutely loved this story, and it has made me want to visit Cambridge on my next trip to England.
I really like the bond between Molly, her mum and aunt Fiona it just felt real and the way they talk to each other and not strained in any way. Makes you wish you were part of their little community or street.

The mystery is interesting and well plotted, and had plenty of twists to keep engaged right to the very end. I kept guessing and second-guessing myself but I was right on who the killer was.

I highly recommend this book to all my cozy lover friends. I can’t wait for book two!

I requested and received an Advanced Readers Copy from St. Martins Press and NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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1.5 stars

I really did not enjoy this book. Cozy mysteries are hit and miss for me, but I really thought this one (murder! Old ladies! Cambridge! Bookshop! Cats!) would be a hit for me; alas, it was one of the biggest misses I’ve read.

Firstly, I felt condescended to the entire book, as if, despite being an adult mystery, it was actually written for young American teens who have a romantic view of England but have never actually read any books set outside of the U.S. before. The first-person narrator ‘helpfully’ informed her readers about such obscure bits of Anglophile trivia as “‘mate’ is slang for ‘friend’” and “they really like tea here.”

The heroine herself was also deadly dull. I spent much of the book wishing that she, and her contrived “American cousin who comes in to save the bookshop with such Quirky, Modern Ideas as ‘using social media to drive engagement’” persona, were cut out entirely. Because part of the real tragedy of this book is that the actual murder plot is really interesting! An old woman who is blackmailing a truly fascinating cast of characters is murdered at a busy event. If Daisy—the young woman who runs the nearby café, and is directly related to a mysterious death from fifty years prior that seems suddenly relevant in this new case—had been the sleuth to tackle the mystery, I would have been much more invested. Instead we got Molly Kimball, who is just… bland.

I just did not have a good time with this story, and I wish that the mystery had been packaged differently—with more adult writing and a more engaging sleuth.

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This ARC was provided to me via Kindle by St. Martin’s Press and #NetGalley for my honest opinion.

A wonderful new cozy in what I hope becomes an established series from this phenomenal author.

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Impressive debut for new cozy series by the established author, Elizabeth Penney. See complete review at

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England, family, family-dynamics, friendship, relatives, relationships, small-business, murder, murder-investigation, amateur-sleuth, law-enforcement, secrets, extortion*****

A beautiful historic bookshop in Cambridge, greedy relatives, nice neighbors, new friends, and murder. The publisher's blurb is a fine hook and I don't need to recap (and spoilers are just wrong).
It's a grand cozy with a wide variety of characters, sneaky plot twists, and lots of herrings.
I'm really pleased to find a new series by an author I like. A really nice cozy! LOVED it!
I requested and received a free ebook copy from St. Martin's Press via NetGalley. Thank you!

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A nice start to a new series! Molly and her mom Nina have both had tough times lately, starting with the death of their dad and husband and then budget cuts at Molly's library so an invite to the UK to help their Aunt Violet with the family bookstore couldn't come at a better time. Well, as it turns out, things aren't so rosy with the shop but there are a lot of interesting people in the neighborhood. And one not so nice woman who ends up murdered. Of course Violet is a suspect (it was her knitting needle) and of course Molly and Nina, despite being new to the country let alone the town, must investigate. I liked the players and the setting-and the mystery has enough twists to keep you guessing. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. A good cozy read.

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This was a fun read (light mystery) set mostly in a famous British university town. A librarian and her bookish mom move to England to help out an estranged relative and keep her beloved bookstore from failing. Ideas fly, books are sold and things are looking up until a nosey customer is killed on the bookstore property. Gasp, who would do that and why? 😉 There is a touch of clean romance and of course, the mystery is eventually unraveled. Cue happy ending.

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Nice start to a new series. England and books, I’m all there. Definitely going to keep my eye open for more in the series. Very enjoyable.

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A fun start to a new cozy serious.

<u>Chapter and Curse</u> started out slow, but once the murder occurred, Penney was in her prime and kept the plot absolutely rolling along. I really enjoyed that the extended cast of characters, unlike most cozy mysteries, were actually taking an active part in the investigation instead of just being there as soundboards or plot devices for the main character.

The biggest drawback is something I come across too often in this genre, but still annoys me every time I see it. <spoiler>Molly was entirely too suspicious of the murderer because she came across as a unpleasant person to be around. Authors in general, not just Penney, really have to stop using this as a device. I find it to be a lazy shortcut to direct the reader's suspicion towards the killer.</spoiler>

Overall really enjoyable and a series I'll definitely keep my eyes on.

With thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for providing me a copy of the book.

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One of my favorite cozy mystery series is the Scottish Bookshop series by Paige Shelton, and I was reminded a great deal of that as I read this new series debut. While somewhat similar in basic structure (American girl working in UK book shop), the setting here is Cambridge England and the shop the 400 year old Thomas Marlowe Books. Our heroines are a trio of family members - Aunt, Mother, and Daughter - who all are finely written cozy characters.

The writing here is the thing - Elizabeth Penney has delivered a decent plot, supported by interesting and appealing characters, and communicated through skillful description and dialog. It’s not often you find all three of these boxes ticked in cozy mysteries.

This is a fun, quick read that is perfect for a lazy fall afternoon spent lounging somewhere with a nice cup of tea at your elbow. I look forward to more from this author.

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This was an absolutely delightful first book in a new series.
I found the premise a fresh take on a common mainstay of cozies, a bookshop owner.
The setting was beautifully described and the characters were engaging and interesting.
The whodunit was top notch and kept me entertained.
This was a golden start to hopefully a series that will have many more books.
I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

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Molly and her mother move from Vermont to England after receiving a letter from Molly's Aunt Violet needing help with the family bookstore. When a Molly finds the body of Violet's friend after the first bookstore event she gets pulled into a murder mystery full blackmail, old secrets, and old friendships.
Chapter and Curse proved to be a charming introduction to the series. I haven't read any of Elizabeth Penney's other books but this one is certainly well written with a wonderful cast of characters. I was drawn to this book because of the setting, throw an antique bookstore into the mix and I was sold. Penney's descriptions of Cambridge were so vivid that I felt as if I was there with Molly. I'm looking forward to the next book and hopefully man y more to come in this series.

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"Elizabeth Penney's Chapter and Curse is the first in a brand new cozy series introducing Molly Kimball and set in one of the oldest bookshops in Cambridge, England..."

It's set in Cambridge. In England. I'm in.

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