May Mysteries For Your TBR!

May 27, 2023 | 2023 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Mysteryrat's Maze, Sandra Murphy

by Cynthia Chow & Sandra Murphy

This week we have reviews of 4 May mysteries for your tbr-Dedication to Murder: A Beyond the Page Mystery by Lauren Elliott, Mother of the Bride Murder: A Lucy Stone Mystery by Leslie Meier, Murder on Mustang Beach: Outer Banks Bookshop Mystery by Alicia Bessette, and Tell-Tale Bones: Sarah Booth Delaney series by Carolyn Haines. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of all 4 books and links to purchase them at the end of each review–you may not be able to see the Amazon links if you have ad blocker on.

Dedication to Murder: A Beyond the Page Mystery by Lauren Elliott
Review by Cynthia Chow

When the affiant asks if anyone has any objections to the couple getting married, it’s usually considered to be a rhetorical question with everyone just moving right on with the ceremony. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for Addie Greybourne who had thought that she was about to have one of the happiest days of her life. Just as Beyond the Page Books and Curios shop owner and veterinarian Dr. Simon Emerson are about to say their final vows in front of the minister and all of her ones, Addie’s new veterinarian runs in with shocking news. It seems that the annulment papers of Dr. Laurel Hill and Simon were never filed in court, meaning that Addie’s soon-to-be husband is still married to someone else. As distressing as this news is, it could have been less alarming if Simon had ever mentioned being previously married in the first place.

While Simon assures Addie that this is but a speed bump in their path to the altar, fate seems to be against them as additional surprises keep popping up. So, it’s not surprising that Addie attempts to distract herself by delving into the delightful treasures she finds hidden away in a newly discovered room of her building. A dedication written in a first edition print of The Velveteen Rabbit hints of secrets within Addie’s family, while a mysterious 1950s wedding dress seems to bond her with another failed wedding. A journal from 1952 further reveals a tragedy that may be linked to residents still living in the Massachusetts town, leading Addie and her supportive friends to an investigation at a Senior Living Center. The sorrow of a brokenhearted bride of 1952 gives Addie some reassurance that she can survive her own disappointments, and she is further aided by her besties and found family.

This ninth in the series also has Addie exploring her family’s past as she deals with the shattering of her future. It’s difficult to not be frustrated on her behalf, especially when Simon seems oblivious to Addie’s difficulty accepting his rather blasé explanations. A satisfying conclusion delivers the promise of more hopeful adventures in Addie’s life which may take her to another country and even more literary treasures. Fans of bibliophile mysteries, generational family dramas, and bittersweet romances will enjoy this latest installment of a heartbreaking, and heartwarming, new entertaining read.

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).

Mother of the Bride Murder: A Lucy Stone Mystery by Leslie Meier
Review by Sandra Murphy

Lucy Stone has one son and three daughters. Toby is married with a son but his family lives in Alaska so Lucy’s desire to see her grandson is complicated by distance. Her daughters don’t seem to be in a rush to get married. Being an empty-nester isn’t all it’s cracked up to be when you’re used to a full house.

Then she gets a surprise video call from Elizabeth, her oldest, who lives in France. She’s engaged to a Frenchman and wants the entire family to come for the wedding. His family owns a chateau that has eighty-six rooms so they’ll all stay there. It’s used as an event destination so is set up to handle large numbers of guests.

Due to a stroke of luck, the entire family is able to be together for the big event. Although everyone is perfectly pleasant and the accommodations are everything she could hope for, Lucy’s got a bad feeling about her hosts and is soon proven to be right to worry.

A moat surrounds the chateau and there’s more than fish in it. A young woman was strangled and dumped into the murky water. The police take everyone’s passports pending their investigation and what was meant to be a nice few days stay now has an open-ended return.

Lucy’s been involved in solving mysteries before and can’t let this one go. Her questions are hampered by her limited French and not knowing any of the guests or even her hosts. Elizabeth hadn’t told Lucy she was dating, not until the engagement ring appeared.

When life-threatening events hit too close to home, Lucy will do whatever it takes to protect her family.

This is book twenty-nine in the series, plus novella titles issued with other authors. Lucy, Bill, and dog Libby are alone now, the girls having moved to apartments of their own, close to their work. Lucy has to solve this mystery without the help of her best friends and with the handicap of not being fluent in French. I enjoyed seeing a character from a previous book appear again. Meier’s left a few threads unexplained so readers will look forward to Lucy’s next adventure.

Murder on Mustang Beach: Outer Banks Bookshop Mystery by Alicia Bessette
Review by Sandra Murphy

Callie Padget works at the bookstore on Cattail Island in the Outer Banks. Her relationship with Toby Dodge, who owns a martial arts studio, is heating up and both are looking forward to what will happen next. Both are runners who love to take the trail to Mustang Beach where a protected herd of wild horses live. No one is allowed into their area, no one is allowed to touch or approach them. Everyone finds them fascinating, especially now that one of the mares is ready to give birth.

When Callie and Toby return from their run, they find a dead body in his studio. The man had been there for an early workout but left when Toby closed the studio to meet Callie. The questions are, how did he get inside, what was the murder weapon, and who killed him?

Things only get worse for Toby when the police find out Toby knew the victim and had reason to dislike him. The victim is getting all the sympathy since he’d gotten married just the day before.

Geri-Lynn Humfeld, caretaker of the island’s protected wild horses, finds a piece of information that might help Toby. She and Callie work together, not only to find the real killer, but to locate the pregnant mare who hasn’t been seen in several days. When a second body turns up, on the beach the horses use, the tension ramps up. Will they be able to solve the case and find the mare and foal?

This is the second book in the series but the first one I’ve read. The previous story, Smile Beach Murder, brings Callie to Cattail Island.

Callie’s relationship with Toby is an interesting one as he’s vowed not to date for a year. It’s given them time to develop a deep friendship first. They’re now looking forward for their first official date. The information about the wild herd of horses holds the whole story together and will bring awareness to readers that herds like these are endangered and must be protected. I look forward to what comes next for Callie and only hope the horses, Toby, and Geri-Lynn are part of the tale.

Tell-Tale Bones: Sarah Booth Delaney series by Carolyn Haines
Review by Sandra Murphy

Elisa Redd has been waiting almost seven years for her daughter, Lydia, to come home. Lydia and her friend, Bethany, disappeared and haven’t been seen or heard from since. Elisa thinks it had to do with Lydia’s marriage. She’d been happy to get married but came home from the honeymoon emotionally broken—and soon after has “accidents because she’s clumsy.”

Sarah Booth and Tinkie are private investigators. It helps that Sarah Booth’s significant other is the Sheriff so they can coordinate on cases.

This case is more difficult than usual due to the time that’s elapsed. Time is of the essence though since, Tope, Lydia’s husband has a new girlfriend he wants to marry so he’s going to declare Lydia dead as soon as the seven-year waiting period is up.

Amid rumors of moonshine stills, herbal remedies for girls “in trouble”, several more missing girls, a tale of a hanging, a grave, and almost everyone lying to Sarah Booth and Tinkie, they begin to wonder if they’ll ever solve the case.

Add in the fact their friend, Tammy, who is a medium and is having dreams that could relate to the disappearances and there’s a talking raven, a ghost, and a thunderstorm to beat all, and it’s understandable that even Sarah Booth and Tinkie worry this might be the case they can’t solve.

This is book twenty-six in the series. Tinkie is a mother now and baby Maylin is getting the princess treatment. Coleman still has his own place but is staying with Sarah Booth more often than not. They make a good pair and are respectful of each other’s work.

There are twists and turns, false clues, lies, plots and subplots, that blend together to make one great mystery. I’m looking forward to what comes next.

To enter to win a copy of all 4 books, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “May,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 3, 2023. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. 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 Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode goes up soon.

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch in St. Louis Missouri. She’s editor for Peace, Love, and Crime: Crime Stories Inspired by the Songs of the ’60s, with twenty-two cozy stories. She also edited A Murder of Crows, twenty-one stories featuring animals and crime (no animals were harmed). She also writes for magazines, newsletters, and the occasional guest blog. Both anthologies are available at the usual outlets, print or ebook.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. 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. What a great quartet of books! Count me in!

  2. All great book! Thank you!

  3. All four of the books sound very interesting. Thank you for the chance

  4. All four books sound amazing and I’m looking forward to reading all of them.

    • Thank you for this fantastic opportunity to win such a treasure trove of books! ??????????

  5. How awesome! Intriguing cozy books to take us on a summer vacation! Love it! Thank you so much for your generosity!!!

  6. We have a winner!


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