Murder by the Seashore
Murder by the Seashore (A California Bookshop Mystery)
by Samara Yew
About Murder by the Seashore
Murder by the Seashore (A California Bookshop Mystery)
1st in Series
Setting – California
Crooked Lane Books (October 17, 2023)
Hardcover : 256 pages
ISBN-10 : 1639104933
ISBN-13 : 978-1639104932
Digital ASIN : B0BSKSHZF5
Perfect for fans of Jenn McKinlay and Ellery Adams, Scarlett Gardner’s dream was to open a bookshop in Southern California, but it soon becomes a nightmare when she finds the dead body of a customer—and becomes the prime suspect.
Southern California is where dreams come true—or so Scarlett Gardner thought. When she moved there and opened the Palm Trees and Page Turners bookshop, she thought her boyfriend and business partner would be part of the story. When he leaves her for a better job, Scarlett finds herself struggling to keep her new business afloat. That’s not the only thing she has to worry about—she discovers something underneath the pier by her bookshop that she didn’t outline for her life’s story: the dead body of a book-buying customer.
After Scarlett gives a statement to the police, she thinks her life can go back to business as usual. But when a lawyer, representing someone named Lorelai Knight, tells Scarlett that she now stands to inherit a small fortune, she’s left with more questions than answers. Before she can make sense of any of it, the police bring her in for questioning; the body she found was Lorelai Knight. And the evidence they have against Scarlett doesn’t look good. Business is booming as Scarlett returns to Palm Trees and Page Turners, but for all the wrong reasons – curious tourists don’t want books, they want a glimpse of the Bookshop Killer.
Who could really be behind all of this? And why frame Scarlett? To clear her name, she’s going to have get creative—and hope she can remain one page ahead of the killer.
Read an Excerpt
I tossed sunscreen, a picnic blanket, my water bottle, a contemporary romance paperback, and the notepad in my turquoise mesh beach bag. I wanted to make the most of my day off as well as do some snooping around the pier. It was the perfect way to multitask.
I parked in the Palm and Page parking lot and looked around the back of the shop. A chill crept down my spine at the eerie thought of a poison bottle having been found so close to my bookshop. I searched for a clue of some sort around the pavement separating the building from the sand. There were two large windows in the back of the shop, giving a direct view of the ocean, and I peeked inside them. Had the murderer spied on me at some point from out here?
All was at peace inside the dark shop. As I continued my search, though I really had no idea what I was looking for, I tried to remember what the bottle had looked like from my brief glance at the police station. Not long enough to read the brand, or even what type of poison it was. I did remember the bottle was made of brown glass with white letters on it. The top also had a screw cap instead of a flip top, so that was at least something to go on.
I paused my search and pulled out the notepad I’d written my task list on. I scribbled down the description of the poison bottle and made a note to Google poisons later.
Hmm, maybe that wasn’t such a good idea. Could the police check my search history? Even if I used an incognito search browser? That certainly wouldn’t look good for me. I’d have to ask Lucia about that. In the meantime, I’d avoid Googling types of poisons and instead head to the store to browse for matching bottles.
Wait a minute. What type of store would I even go to in order to browse through poisons? Ugh. How could Detective Maxwell seriously believe I was capable of murdering Lorelai? I was completely clueless when it came to criminal activity.
I resumed my search around the back of Palm and Page. I couldn’t find anything out of the ordinary, not even a single piece of trash. Suddenly, there were no litterbugs among my customers.
I did a full circle around the building, looking carefully under each rock and behind every plant, ignoring the weird looks passing tourists gave me.
Sighing in disappointment, I gave up and headed down to the beach, swapping out my regular glasses for my prescription sunglasses. The busy late-morning crowd was both a blessing and a curse. Having people around eased my fear of heading back to the pier. Hopefully, there would be safety in numbers if someone suddenly appeared out of nowhere to off me.
But it also meant it was hard to be inconspicuous while searching under and around the pier. I didn’t want to draw too much attention to myself.
The yellow-and-black crime scene tape was gone now. Hardly anyone hung out under the pier anyway when there was a big beautiful beach right next door.
I casually headed there, pausing to watch surfers out on the waves. A little boy and girl ran by me, kicking up sand onto my legs as they each tried to be the first to catch a Frisbee. Nearby, a group of college-age girls laughed at something they were watching on a phone screen. I smiled at the life happening around me, before suddenly being hit with a wave of sadness over the fact that Lorelai’s had ended so abruptly.
I reached the pier and peeked around the rocks and damp sand. I was sure the police had swept the area well, but it didn’t hurt to double-check.
Something yellow, half buried in the sand, caught my eye. I’d actually found something. Maybe Olivia was right and this wouldn’t be so hard. It was a clue! It was something that could lead me to the killer and clear my name. It was literally my Get Out of Jail Free card. It was . . .
. . . a McDonald’s cheeseburger wrapper.
I winced and glanced behind me. At least no one was around to have witnessed my embarrassing failed attempt at playing Nancy Drew. I couldn’t believe how excited I’d let myself get over a cheeseburger wrapper.
About Samara Yew
Samara Yew is a cozy mystery author who writes about adorable bookshops and dead bodies. A full-time mom, full-time dog servant, and part-time writer, Samara lives in British Columbia, Canada, where she can often be found watching Psych reruns. Samara loves to travel, especially visiting her husband’s home country of Singapore or donning Mickey ears in Disneyland. She’s a member of Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers.
Twitter (X) https://twitter.com/samarayewauthor
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