Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Lowcountry Bookshop (A Liz Talbot Mystery Book 7)

Author:  Susan M. Boyer
Genre:  Mystery

Hardcover; Trade Paperback; Audio CD; Digital Book
ISBN #:  9781635113792; 9781635113768; 9781515951957
Henery Press Publishing
268 Pages
$31.95; $15.95; $18.99; $6.99 Amazon
May 29, 2018


Between an epic downpour and a King Tide, those historic streets are flooded--and dangerous. A late night tragic accident along the Lower Battery leads Liz Talbot straight to her next case.

Who's the client? Well, now, therein lies the first puzzle. When the police arrive at the scene of the accident, Poppy Oliver claims she's only trying to help.

But the dent on the front of her Subaru and the victim's injuries provoke a certain Charleston police detective's suspicious nature. A wealthy, anonymous benefactor hires Liz and her partner Nate Andrews to prove Poppy Oliver's innocence.

What exactly was Poppy Oliver up to? Is she a random good Samaritan who happens upon the accident scene? Or perhaps this tragedy wasn't an accident. She just might be his abused wife's accomplice.

Why does everyone involved in this case have a sudden burning urge for reading material, leading them to the same charming bookshop along the waterfront?

From a risqué, exclusive club in an old plantation to an upscale resale shop in the historic King Street shopping district to a downtown graveyard crawling with ghosts, Liz tracks a group of women who band together to help victims of domestic violence.

In her most challenging case yet, Liz fears she may find a killer, but justice may prove elusive.


When Liz Talbot and her husband Nate Andrews are called to the offices of Rutledge and Radcliffe, she really doesn’t want to go, as her relationship with Fraser Rutledge isn’t the best.  But a chance meeting with Detective Sonny Ravenel changes that.  He’s being stalked by a mail carrier named Poppy Oliver who insists she didn’t hit anyone with her car, but was trying to help him.

It is only because of her ghostly friend Colleen’s insistence that she meet with Rutledge that she does so.  And when she finds out that he wants them to find out who actually hit Phillip Drayton - because he believes it wasn’t Poppy, that they agree to investigate. While they’re not ready to take Poppy off the suspect list just yet, they’re both almost positive she had nothing to do with it.  But when Liz and Nate start looking for the truth, what they find is a network designed so well that it will take all their resources and wits to get to the heart of the matter before it’s too late to save Poppy from being wrongfully jailed for the crime.

Once Liz and Nate start their investigation it all seems straightforward - they're trying to find out if it was a hit-and-run, and Poppy was involved in the accident.  But once they receive a report that states Mr. Drayton was also tased, pepper-sprayed and attacked with a mini-knife, then things start to get sticky.  Because if it wasn't Poppy, who was filled with enough anger to kill this man?  Poppy is insistent that his wife was a victim of domestic violence; his brother Daniel insists his widow Anne Frances had something to do with it; and there are just enough other suspects to make Liz and Nate's work difficult. 

But during the investigation, they wonder what a bookstore has to do with it, or a limousine that comes and goes, or even a wealthy society matron that seems to be the key to it all.  Liz and Nate will have to go deep and don disguises to find the truth and soon, because Sonny is ready to arrest Poppy and charge her with murder...

Once again Ms. Boyer has written a wonderful tale full of intrigue and secrets, one that involves an underground network designed to save those who are unable to save themselves.  While it soon becomes apparent to Liz what is going on, it will take longer before she and Nate have the proof they need to conclude their investigation, as they must do so without innocent people being hurt.

But there is a bit of humor within the story as well.  While Liz and Nate have their hands full with the investigation, Liz’s father doesn’t know how close he’s coming to being ejected from his own home.  When he adds to his little menagerie of his dog and pot-bellied pig with a trio of pygmy goats, his wife has just about had it.  And when those goats are not only defiling her home but those of her neighbors, she is close to a nervous breakdown.  It does not help one whit that he has also hired a couple of inept men to help build a pool that they have no skill in doing.  So Liz and Nate must do their best to keep her parents’ marriage on solid ground while treading lightly around it.

Weaving these two stories together - one serious and the other with levity - is no easy feat, but Ms. Boyer has managed to do so in an easy fashion.  Her writing flows and the words come together on the page effortlessly; her characters are full-bodied and believable; they are lively people with their own personalities.  Her description of the Charleston area is well-done; I would like to visit one day and dine at some of the restaurants.  She never disappoints in her tales, and this one is no different.

I was fully engrossed in the details and descriptions, and actually felt sorry for Nate at one point (and those who read the story will know what I am talking about); and were even given to see that there might be something good on the horizon for Liz's brother Blake (if you are paying attention, you can figure it out as you go).

All in all, this is another captivating tale that will have you hooked from the very first sentence until the end.  I look forward to the next in the series.  Highly recommended.

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