Not too long ago, I learned that I enjoy a genre called Dark Academia. Now I realize I like a genre called Cozy Mysteries. Really, must we have all these labels?
There is a pretty extensive definition of a Cozy Mystery here, but basically, a Cozy Mystery is about an educated woman who accidentally stumbles onto a murder and becomes an amateur sleuth, much to the chagrin of the local police force/detectives. These books focus on plot and character development, not action or romance. Turns out, I’m a big fan of these fun mysteries!
Vinyl Resting Place by Olivia Blacke
St Martin’s Press
I recently picked up Vinyl Resting Place by Olivia Blacke because I loved the title. Brandon and I have a lot of vinyl records and music is an important part of our lives, plus I’m always tickled by puns. How could I not read this book?
The plot focuses on three sisters, Juni, Tansy, and Maggie Jessup, who invest all of their savings to open a record store/coffee shop, the Sip & Spin, in their small town outside of Austin, Texas. For Juni, the youngest, this is a big investment, as she was recently laid off from her tech job in Oregon and forced to move back to Texas and into her older sister’s home.
On the night of the shop opening party, Juni opens a closet door to find a dead body. That’s where our mystery begins. The sisters’ Uncle Calvin is the primary suspect and arrested. Believing in the innocence of their uncle, they put up the store in order to secure Calvin’s bail - and then he disappears. Juni can’t leave it alone and is on the case with the help of her sisters, tracking Calvin’s business partner, romantic partner, lawyers, schemes, and anything else that may lead to where he might be hiding and to who may have committed the murder. Her nosiness (intuitiveness, you might say) get under the skin of the local sheriff, who also happens to be an ex-boyfriend.
The author must have had a blast naming the coffee and tea drinks (for instance, “All the Single Lattes” and “You Shook Me All Night Oolong”), which had me constantly laughing out loud. She also had some nice 1960s-1990s musical references thrown in that I appreciated. I loved this description of Sip & Spin customers:
We had a steady stream of customers for the rest of my shift. Some of them were looking to start a vinyl habit, a few were late-afternoon coffee drinkers, and there was one hard-core collector who wanted to talk in detail about the liner notes on every album he’d ever owned. Luckily, I had a dozen rare albums that he’d never seen. I pulled them, expecting him to peruse them and possibly buy one or two, but he bought the whole lot, and those records weren’t cheap. A few more customers like him and we would be a success.
Brandon and I visit a lot of vinyl shops and that is a perfect description of who you might run into. I feel like the author might be a bit of a music geek herself.
I’ll admit, there is a small amount of romance in Vinyl Resting Place. It certainly doesn’t dominate the narrative and in fact, it isn’t even resolved by the end of the book. Vinyl Resting Place is actually the first in a series called “The Record Shop Mysteries.” The next book, with the entertaining title of A Fatal Groove, is slated for July 2023. I’ll be pre-ordering it. I guess there’s nothing like a good cozy mystery.
Errata on Books
A lot of links have been piling up again, so I’m going to share them before they’re irrelevant. (No worries, I’ve got a great cocktail set aside for next week!)
eBooks aren’t going anywhere, with the news that “127 libraries loaned Out 1 million eBooks in 2022.”
The New York Public Library has acquired the joint archive of Joan Didion and her husband, John Gregory Dunne. It includes papers, personal items, letters, manuscripts, and photos, amongst other things.
The Atlantic tells us about people who don’t read books. How can someone not read books? (Requires a free account to unlock the article.)
The Great Chicago Book Sale from the University of Chicago Press
This sale goes on through June 15 and there are some seriously great prices. I’m finding it hard to limit myself. I actually prefer browsing the PDF catalog.
That’s it this week. I’m embarking on Salman Rushdie’s new book, so hopefully I’ll have a review of that in the next few weeks. I’ve started taking classes to certify as a career coach. Turns out, that endeavor feels a lot like going back to college, but there’s always time for reading, right?
Next week I also have a great champagne cocktail I’m excited to make!
Remember, sharing is caring!
I love a cozy mystery! The puns! The crafts! The recipes!