Staff Review by James

Sleuthing has never been so… colorful.

I don’t often read cozy mysteries, so I decided to give the genre a try by selecting Color Me Murder as my staff pick. Immediately, I was drawn into the intricate life of Florrie Fox, an amateur artist in her own right who manages an adult coloring bookstore, Color Me Read, in the heart of Washington, D.C. While hunting for an apartment, Florrie accepts an offer from the bookstore’s owner, Professor John Maxwell, to move into the carriage house on his estate. She thus becomes ensnared in her esteemed boss’s family drama, which takes a deadly turn when she finds Delbert, the professor’s disagreeable and conniving nephew, dead in the bookstore. When Professor Maxwell is arrested as the prime suspect in Delbert’s murder, it falls to Florrie to uncover clues to prove her beloved boss’s innocence.

Often, what determines the quality of a mystery book is how well the author (and reader) knows their characters, enough to evaluate which characters are plausible suspects and which ones aren’t. And it’s evident that author Krista Davis knows her characters well. Florrie may not have a background in forensics or private investigative work, but she is an insightful woman. She does everything she can to convince the police that Maxwell is innocent—and even goes so far as to pursue some angles that the police hadn’t considered. It is Florrie’s natural skill as an artist that enables her to page through the potential suspects in Delbert’s murder. I really enjoyed how Florrie sketches each person she interviews, so that her sketchbook helps her reexamine the suspects at the end of each day of her investigation.

The supporting cast of characters is as vibrant as Florrie. There’s her sister Veronica, who coaxes Florrie to live more adventurously—and inadvertently helps Florrie uncover some clues. There’s Jim, a homeless man who hangs out near Color Me Read and provides Florrie with some invaluable assistance. And finally, there’s Sergeant Eric Jonquille, a beat cop who’s assigned to protect Florrie when she finds herself in danger… which, in turn, causes some sparks to fly between the two of them. As Florrie delves deeper into Delbert’s sketchy past, she finds that any number of people could have nursed a grudge against him. Ultimately, the culprit turns out to be the character whom you least expect, which makes Florrie’s journey to uncover the truth all the more exciting to read. I can’t wait for the next Pen & Ink Mystery Novel!

Pairs well with: strawberries and cream torte, which is one of the exclusive recipes within. Read during: a break from an afternoon coloring session.




2018 Staff Picks & Staff Reviewed

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2017 Staff Picks & Staff Reviewed

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An Extraordinary Union
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Murder At An Irish Wedding
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Boomer's Bucket List
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