The Coloring Crook By Krista Davis: Review/Giveaway/Guest Post

Jan 19, 2019 | 2019 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Cynthia Chow
& Krista Davis

This week we have a review of the The Coloring Crook By Krista Davis, and a fun guest post by Krista about the adult coloring craze. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of The Coloring Crook, and a link to purchase it from Amazon, and an indie bookstore where a portion of the sale goes to help support KRL.

The Coloring Crook: Pen & Ink Mystery By Krista Davis
Review by Cynthia Chow

Managing Georgetown’s Color Me Read bookstore has introduced artist Florrie Fox to a whole new group of friends. Dolly Cavanaugh, one of the founding members of the Hues, Brews, and Clues coloring club, introduces Florrie into the intriguing world of yard and estate sales, where Dolly makes an astounding discovery. Purchased at a bargain price, Dolly has become the owner of The Florist, a rare 1760 limited edition of floral sketches and paintings worth millions. In her enthusiasm, Dolly inadvisably posts her find on Facebook, which leads to a succession of mysterious visitors knocking at Color Me Read’s doors. It almost overshadows the news of a notorious art theft being released from prison, until Florrie and her sister Veronica discover Dolly collapsed in her home, barely managing to gasp a few last breaths.

mysteryDespite Florrie’s protests that Dolly was in possession of a treasure that is now missing, police are slow to declare her death a murder. Evidence soon changes that, but unfortunately it also implicates Florrie’s friend and coloring club member Zsazsa Rosca. Florrie is further disturbed at Dolly’s estranged daughter Maisie’s resentful attitude, since Dolly’s succession of marriages all seemed in order to benefit her daughter. Rivaling Dolly’s misfortune and poor taste in men is Florrie’s sister, who has become intrigued by a completely inept estate sale manager. Florrie is having much better luck with police Sergeant Eric Jonquille, especially in light of the obsessed suitor her parents attempted to set her up with and who continues to follow her around town. When she’s not filling her sketchbook with designs for her adult coloring book, Florrie is sketching the faces of the many suspects who are following her around town, breaking into the bookstore, or declaring their interest in purchasing The Florist at any cost.

Within the Color Me Read bookstore, prolific cozy author Krista Davis creates an enviable home perfect for book lovers seeking a welcoming reading nook. Florrie’s family is at times both loving and exasperating, and the relationship between the sisters is realistically depicted as they occasionally annoy one another. What stands out is Florrie’s love of books and her art, and the craft of coloring is highlighted for its therapeutic and soothing benefits.

A mystery involving roving bookstore owner John Maxwell continues to play out throughout the series, with readers becoming as invested as Florrie in seeing a resolution. Family dynamics and evolving relationships are explored in this second of the series, building towards a completely unexpected conclusion that will more than satisfy mystery readers looking for compelling puzzles and well-crafted plots. Even those not tempted to take a pen or colored pencil to the cover of this novel will find themselves intrigued by this witty and artful mystery.

Print book lovers will be able to color the cover, but eBook lovers are not ignored since recipes are included as a delicious treat: Salted Chocolate Brownies, Coconut Cupcakes, Blueberry Cake with Pecan Streusel, Mini Cheesecakes, and Killer Cocktail!

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

The Coloring Craze
By Krista Davis

By now you’ve probably heard about the new adult coloring craze. In our zeal to be healthier and keep our brains functioning, we have turned to coloring. But does it really help? In a word—yes!

Coloring has been shown to reduce anxiety, promote calm, and perhaps best of all, it increases our focus while relaxing our brains. Interestingly, one of the important and unique things about coloring is that everyone can do it. You don’t have to have any talent whatsoever. It’s okay to color outside the lines. It’s okay to color a zebra turquoise and pink. The act of coloring is available to everyone. And you don’t need company to have fun doing it.

mystery author

Krista Davis

It all sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Yet tests have shown that doodling does not have the same result. Go figure. While art therapists point out that it’s not exactly the same as art therapy, it has been shown to reduce stress. Have a horrible day at work? Grab a colored pencil and focus on coloring for a bit. It will relieve the stress and clear your brain so you’re in a better position to deal with those anxiety-inducing problems.

While it’s very interesting to read about how coloring helps the brain, this isn’t actually new. In the eighteenth century coloring was a hobby of the leisure class. They focused on botanical drawings and maps, thus learning as they colored. My book, The Coloring Crook, involves the discovery of a rare coloring book called The Florist. Although my story is fiction, The Florist actually exists. It is believed that only ten or so copies remain in the world, most in museum collections.

In his book The Compleat Gentleman, published in 1622, Henry Peacham wrote about coloring, “the practise of the hand, doth speedily instruct the mind, and strongly confirme the memorie beyond any thing else” and went on to say that it was the practice of princes and nobility. He claims that even decks of playing cards were colored.
What is amazing to me is not that they colored, but that even in 1600, they recognized the mental benefits of doing so. We sometimes feel like we’re more advanced because we have modern methods of determining what’s good for us. But in this case, our ancestors knew all along that coloring was healthy for us!

If you need a place to start, I write a mystery series that has covers you can color. Ordinary coloring pencils work great, as do gel and felt markers that are alcohol based (which dries faster than water-based gels). The Coloring Crook was recently released, but if you like to start a series at the beginning, you could try your hand at the cover of Color Me Murder. Read the mysteries and color the covers!

To enter to win a copy of The Coloring Crook, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “coloring,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen January 26, 2019. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address (so if you win we can get the book sent right out to you), and if via comment please include your email address. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on iTunes and Google Play.

Use this link to purchase the book & a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:

You can also use this link to purchase the book on Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:


New York Times Bestselling author Krista Davis writes the Domestic Diva Mysteries, the Paws & Claws Mysteries, and the Pen & Ink Mysteries. Like her characters, Krista has a soft spot for cats, dogs, and sweets. She lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. You can learn more about her on her website.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases using those links. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. I loved the first book and have coloured the cover! I hope I can read this one soon!
    Thank you for the giveaway.

  2. I can’t wait to read this book!

  3. Love Krista Davis’ books, but I haven’t read this series yet. Sounds like a great read.

  4. Thanks for the chance to win a book from this great series!

  5. Looks like a great read. Love the coloring cover! JL_Minter (at) hotmail (dot) com

  6. I read and reviewed the first one. Been hunting the second one. Amazon is to steep a price for a ebook. Thank you for this opportunity.

  7. How fun!

  8. I love Krista Davis’ books; I sure hope I win!

  9. I love this series.

  10. I have a couple of friends who really got into the coloring craze. I think I’d enjoy the book myself then pass it on to them. Thanks for the chance to win a copy!! crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com

  11. Fantastic interview! I love Krista Davis’ books. Thank you for this chance! areewekidding(at)yahoo(dot)com

  12. I loved the first book and am looking forward to reading this one also. Coloring is a plus. Thank you so much for this chance. pgenest57(at)aol(dot)com

  13. I love this idea! Thanks for the chance. Maceoindo(at)yahoo(dot)com

  14. I’m in the middle of reading Color Me Murder right now (library copy so I can’t actually color it) and I’m thoroughly enjoying it! I’d love to win a copy of the next book that I can actually color on!

  15. Thanks for this feature and giveaway. This mystery sounds unique and intriguing.

  16. I really like Krista’s books!

  17. I own both an ARC and finished copy of the first book in the series. I’d order a hit if it helped me win book #2. LOL

  18. I love books by Krista Davis, but I haven’t read any in this series yet. I hope I win a copy of The Coloring Crook!

  19. I would love to read this! Thanks for the chance to win!

  20. We have a winner!


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