Murder in the Storybook Cottage By Ellery Adams: Review/Giveaway/Guest Post

May 30, 2020 | 2020 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Food Fun, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Cynthia Chow
& Ellery Adams

This week we have a review of Murder in the Storybook Cottage by Ellery Adams along with a fun guest post from Ellery about Fairy Tales, Tea, and Murder. Details at the end of the post on how to enter to win a paperback copy of Murder in the Storybook Cottage as well a classic edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderlandand (for this giveaway you can only enter via comment, comments have to be approved so be aware they won’t show up immediately), and links to purchase Murder in the Storybook Cottage.

Murder in the Storybook Cottage: A Book Retreat Mystery by Ellery Adams
Review by Cynthia Chow

Readers will be delighted to return for the sixth time to Storyton Hall, a five-star resort in West Virginia catering to bibliophiles from around the world. Book-themed rooms, enormous libraries, book clubs, and now a Family Valentine’s Celebration event specifically for young readers and children’s book authors are all featured at this unique destination. A lucky family has been awarded a free vacation stay at the resort during the special weekend as well, and Storyton manager Jane Steward is looking forward to welcoming the deserving Gilbert family. It’s unfortunate that during an early preview to Storybook Village Jane finds the body of a young woman, eerily dressed up like Little Red Riding Hood but with no villainous wolf in sight. In her basket is a copy of Grimms’ Fairy Tales, with little else to identify her as anything other than a grim mockery of the dark story.

As the Guardian of Storyton Hall’s secret library of manuscripts, tomes, scrolls, and maps deemed too dangerous to be disseminated out into the world, Jane Steward has made the revolutionary decision to slowly release the contents out into the world. While her loyal protectors the Fins may not agree with her choice, Jane believes that the knowledge should be shared and not hoarded away from humanity. It also has Jane wondering if her choice has led to yet another death on her doorstep, especially when this Fairy Tale Killer seems to be increasing the list of storybook victims and threatening Storyton’s book-celebrating event. Aided by her Cover Girls book club, and of course, her loyal warrior staff, Jane will protect Storyton’s legacy, investigate the child-unfriendly book authors, and delve into the surprising ruthless world of children’s book publishing.

This continues to be a delightful mix of mythical world-building and cozy practical detecting. Jane’s twin boys Hemingway and Fitzgerald challenge her with their energetic exploits, but they also complicate her relationship with café-owner Edwin Alcott, whose life as a Templar has him not-so-legally stealing rare documents and books and returning them to their rightful place. The dangerous lifestyle and ruthless enemies who follow him have Jane reluctant to allow her boys become too attached, although that ship pretty much sailed as they idolize and adore him. As fascinating as the Storyton legacy is the personalities involved in the business of children’s literature, with competitive contracts and ideologies cause strife between authors, agents, and publishers. A thrilling and tragic conclusion ends with a tease of a new arriving guest, one who will be very familiar to readers of Ellery Adams’ Books by the Bay mystery series. This series that celebrates friends, books, and food will only be enhanced by the arriving character, leaving readers eagerly anticipating the next in this innovative series perfect for those who love to spend time lost between the pages.

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).

Fairy Tales, Tea, and Murder
By Ellery Adams

Murder in the Storybook Cottage is the sixth entry in the Book Retreat series. As each of the Book Retreat mysteries focuses on a different genre, this installment can be read as a standalone or as an eagerly anticipated reunion with a cast of characters many readers have come to view as friends.

Perhaps one of the most popular characters at Storyton Hall, the fictional resort for readers and book lovers, is Mrs. Hubbard, the head cook. As with many homes, the kitchen of this sprawling manor house tucked away in a remote valley in western Virginia, is the heart of the house.

The kitchens are the noisy, aroma-and-steam-filled spaces where Mrs. Hubbard and her staff prepare sumptuous food for the resort’s guests. And because Storyton Hall is hosting a conference for a group of children’s book authors, illustrators, and publishers, the fare is more colorful and playful than ever.

In addition to the children’s book conference, resort manager Jane Steward has invited families to celebrate Valentine’s Day at Storyton Hall. An entire storybook village has been built for this event. Cottages with an array of enchanting fairy-tale activities await their pint-sized visitors. The families will also be treated to a Mad Hatter Tea Party. The White Rabbit will pour tea, and a far more benevolent Queen of Hearts (Mrs. Hubbard) will slice cake instead of heads.

With all of these magical activities, it’s hard to imagine Storyton Hall as a setting for murder. But someone is using fairy tales to send deadly messages, and if Jane and The Cover Girls (her book club friends), don’t put a stop to it, there’ll be no chance at a happy ending.

Mrs. Hubbard’s Alice in Wonderland Tea Party Menu

“Queen of Hearts” Lemon Curd Tarts
Toaster Pastry Playing Cards
Meringue Mushrooms
Edible Teacups
Checkerboard Finger Sandwiches
Watermelon Teapot

If you’d like to throw your own Mad Hatter tea party for children, here are some tips from Mrs. Hubbard:

• Use edible markers to decorate the toaster pastries. If those aren’t available, food coloring and a paintbrush will also work.
• The edible teacups are made using the bottom half of an ice cream cone, which has been dipped in white candy wafer melts. These are attached to a flat cookie, which is also dipped in white candy wafer melts. The “tea” is butterscotch pudding. Make sure the pudding is set before adding to cups or it will leak out.
• As for the watermelon teapot, there are several how-to videos on YouTube showing how to make this fun centerpiece. It requires a seedless watermelon.

Giveaway: One lucky winner will receive a paperback copy of Murder in the Storybook Cottage as well as this classic edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (US Only). To enter, add a comment below including the title of another Ellery Adams mystery that you might be interested in reading (or have already read) as found on A winner will be chosen June 6, 2020. U.S. residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. (for this giveaway you can only enter via comment, comments have to be approved so be aware they won’t show up immediately)

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. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. One of Larissa’s books is featured in a past episode. A new episode went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase this book from indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy, and KRL gets a portion of the sale:

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

Ellery Adams, a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author, has written dozens of mystery novels. She shares her North Carolina home with her husband, two trolls, and three keyboard-hogging felines. Ellery loves reading, coffee, bubbly, jigsaw puzzles, baking, volunteering at her local animal shelter, and rearranging her bookshelves.

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. Thanks for the ideas for the party. I love the card cookies.
    I have read a couple of Ellery’s books and really enjoyed them.

  2. I absolutely ADORE Ellery Adams books! Great post, with a lot of fun… Thank you!

    Kelly Braun

  3. Thanks for this lovely feature and giveaway. The Secret Book E Scone Society was captivating and intriguing. What a delightful and beautiful feature. Good enough to eat and enjoy.

  4. The Secret Book & Scone Society

  5. What a fun post and fabulous sweets. I haven’t been to Storyton Hall in awhile and I think it’s time I visit again. How did I get behind? I also love the Charmed Pie Shoppe Mysteries and have read all of them except Breach of Crust. Thanks for a great giveaway.

  6. What a great contest – I’m a big fan of the Books by the Bay series and would love to win a copy of Poisoned Prose.

  7. I loved, “Murder in the Mystery Suite”!! Thanks for the chance to win this one!

  8. Love the cover and the book sounds terrific. Thanks for your great generosity.

  9. I’m looking forward to reading Ink and Shadows from the series A Secret, Book, and Scone Society that will be released in 2021. All of her books are great!

  10. Would love to read the Book of Candlelight. This book sound very interesting. I think I would enjoy it very much.

  11. I would love to read Murder in the Storybook Cottage. I have read The Whispered Word by Ellery Adams and I would love to read more books in that series. This Book Retrear series sounds like lots of fun, too!

  12. I’d love to read Murder in the Mystery Suite

  13. Murder in the Locked Library is another title I would like to read.

  14. I have read Pies and Prejudice.

  15. A Killer Plot. I would like to read!

  16. Sounds interesting! Count me in!

  17. “The Book of Candlelight”

  18. I think I have all the other books in this series, including Murder in the Locked Library on Kindle. All the other ones I have are in paperback.

  19. I live in Virginia and I love this series of books! I started reading the first book in the series Murder in the Mystery Suite and was hooked!

  20. I have read all of the Supper Club Mysteries and the Books by the Bay Mysteries and two of the Secret, Book & Scone Society. I still want to read this series and the Pie Shop Mysteries. For the title of a specific book I’d like to read, Pies and Prejudice. The pictures in this article were lovely. Thanks for the giveaway.

  21. I have read and loved several of Ellery Adams series (most written as J. B. Stanley) The Supper Club series was great and I think I read it through a few times! I have also read and loved Murder in the Mystery Suite and want to get back to the series so winning a copy of Murder in the Storybook Cottage would be extra incentive for me to get back to that series! Thanks for the chance to win it!!

  22. Thanks for the opportunity! I enjoyed the post with all the great ideas. This would be a new author for me, sounds good!

  23. Murder in the Storybook Cottage sounds fabulous! The Book of Candlelight is another one I’d like to read but haven’t gotten around to yet. mbradeen [at] yahoo [dot] com

  24. Fun! I just read The Book of Candlelight, my first by Ellery Adams. I definitely want to read more of her books.

  25. I’ve been enjoying her Charmed Pie Shoppe mysteries & am ready for Pecan Pies & Homicides.
    turtle6422 at gmail dot com

  26. Thank you for your review on “Murder in the Storybook Cottage” by Ellery Adams.

    Enjoyed reading the guest post by Ellery. Loved Mrs. Hubbard hints for a great Mad Hatter tea party.

    Thank you for the chance to win a copy of “Murder in the Storybook Cottage” by Ellery and a copy of the classic “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. Share and hoping to be the fortunate one.

    I would also love the opportunity to read “Murder in the Mystery Suite” (The Book Retreat Mysteries book 1).

  27. The Whispered Word
    Thank you for the opportunity.
    lindalou64( @) live(dot)com

  28. Wonderful opportunity! Thank you for the chance to win. Charmed Pie Shop! Charmed Pie Shop!! Looooove this series

  29. I’d like to read “The Path of the Crooked,”
    digicats {at} sbcglobal {dot} net

  30. Thank you for the chance I enjoy that series so much. The hidden room with books. So intriguing

  31. Murder in the storybook cottage I want to read it. My granddaughter Alice was named from Alice in wonderland. Her first birthday was the Alice theme. She’s 2 now. Thank you for the chance

  32. I’d love to win a copy of Murder in the Storybook Cottage. I really enjoyed Murder in the Locked Library.

  33. Murder in the Secret Garden id #3 on my TBR list this summer! I plan on trying some of Mrs. Hubbards recipes for a summer tea party for my grandgirls!

  34. I’ve been wanting to read The Secret, Book & Scone Society. Thanks for the chance! JL_Minter(at)hotmail(dot)com

  35. I’ve read the Secret Book and Scone Society books and loved the series. Would love to read “Murder in the Storybook Cottage”.

  36. Love this author. A book I still don’t have and would like to read is the first one in this series…Murder in the Mystery Suite.

    Thanks for being an author and sharing your gift with the world.


  37. One of my favorite authors. BOOKS BY THE BAY are my favorite books, even though I have read other series books by the author. Anxiously waiting on the next book in the series.

  38. We have a winner!

  39. All of her books look awesome. I read mostly on my kindle, so a lot of the books are out of my price range so I have not been able to read many. Would love to win the paperback book. Thanks!

  40. forgot to add to my last comment. I read the first 4 books in the Charmed Pie Shoppe Mysteries.


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