Monday, February 1, 2021

Book Review: Wed, Read & Dead by V. M. Burns

Wed, Read & Dead (Mystery Bookshop, #4)Wed, Read & Dead (Mystery Bookshop #4). V. M. Burns. Kensington Publishing Corp. (2019). 263 pages. Genre: Cozy Mystery.

First Line: "If you don't get your fanny out of that dressing room in the next thirty seconds, I'll come in and drag you out."

Summary:  Samantha Washington's mother is getting married to the wealthy, Harold Robertson.  The wedding is just three weeks away, on Christmas Eve.  There are so many decisions to make and Sam's mother is struggling to make them.  So, when Harold's sister-in-law gives them the gift of a wedding planner, they are relieved.  However, their relief is short-lived.  Lydia Lighthouse is a tyrant.  She is pushy, rude and thinks she knows what a bride wants more than the bride herself.  She also is not afraid to spend someone else's money.  She has angered Harold, brought Sam's mother to tears and insulted Nana Jo, Sam's grandmother.  

When Lydia Lighthouse is found strangled with her own scarf, the family is shocked.  However, they are not surprised.  Lydia left a trail of anger, frustration and hate behind her.  Unfortunately, just before she was killed Harold was seen having a very heated argument with her.  Sam's mother fears Harold will be arrested.  Lydia Lighthouse was not known by many in town, or was she?  Sam, Nana Jo and the girls will use all their skills to discover who murdered Lydia Lighthouse.

My thoughts:  It had been quite some time since I read the third installment in the Mystery Bookshop series, but I had no problem jumping into this one.  If you have not read previous books in this series, I would recommend you start with the first book, The Plot is Murder.  This will give you the best feel for the characters and they are worth getting to know.

Samantha Washington runs a mystery bookshop in Michigan.  Her husband passed away eighteen months ago and she decided to pursue their dream of owning a bookshop.  She now lives close to her mom, her grandmother, and her sister.   Family is a big theme in this series.  I love the relationships between Sam and her family.  This story in particular also includes a strong theme of found family.  The idea that family includes those you are related to by blood, marriage, or that you include in your life because they are special to you. 

The mystery involving the murder of the wedding planner with the wedding just a few weeks away added a level of conflict that made it more interesting.  There is pressure to figure out who murdered Lydia, but also to pick up the slack and help get the wedding planned.  All of the characters step up to help including Sam's college aged nephews, Dawson, and their girlfriends.  I loved this.  It was great to see these younger characters acting in such selfless ways.  And they truly helped, doing things that made Sam's life easier and allowed her to work on the murder.

A unique aspect of this series is that Sam is writing a mystery novel.  It is historical and often parallels what is happening in the main storyline.  These characters are also consistent from book to book which makes it fun.  At various times throughout the story, Sam sits down to write and we get to read what she is writing. 

V. M. Burns is great at interjecting humor into the plots.  The banter between Nana Jo and anyone is usually hilarious.  As are "the girls", Nana Jo's friends.  There were a couple of scenes that had me laughing out loud.

Wed, Read & Dead is a great addition to this series and I will be reading the next book soon.


"Lexi was reading another book.  The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.  It was one of my favorite Agatha Christie books.  She'd finished her other book and I'd told her she was welcome to read anything that could be classified as a cozy mystery.  Agatha Christie was the queen of the cozy mystery, so she would be safe.  I wasn't an advocate of limiting what anyone read.  As a child, I read a great number of books that were above my reading level.  My parents didn't sensor what I read, so I started reading murder mysteries and romance novels at a young age.  However, after a while, I found the puzzle of the murder more appealing than the Happily Ever After of the romances and that was what stuck.  I enjoyed other genres, but my heart belonged to mysteries.  Reading books opened up an entire new world for me."

Calendar of Crime: June - Wedding cake on cover


  1. Good review! 🙂 I've been reading good stuff about this series. I need to start reading it.

    1. As with any series, some books are better than others. Book 3 was a little over the top to me, I think that is why I waited so long to read this one. Overall, it is an enjoyable series.

  2. I vaguely remember reading the first book in this series, but I've never gotten back to it to read any of the follow-ups.

  3. I love cozy mysteries set in bookshops. Will add The Plot is Murder to my wishlist.