Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Bantam
Date of publication: October 3rd, 2023
Genre: Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Fiction, Adult, Family, Books about Books
Series: Christie Bookshop
Last Word to the Wise—Book 2
The Christie sisters and their bookshop cat, Agatha, flirt with cold-hearted crime when bookish matchmaking turns into a date with death.
Sisters Ellie and Meg Christie share a love of books, reading, and their new roles as co-caretakers of the Book Chalet, their family’s historic bookshop tucked midway up a scenic Colorado mountain. But romance? That’s another story. Ellie and Meg joke they’re in sisterly competition for worst relationships. So, when their cousin signs them up for her newest business endeavor, matchmaking based on bookish tastes, the sisters approach their blind double dates with foot-dragging dread.
While Ellie’s date meets her low expectations, Meg’s match, a book-loving romantic straight out of classic literature, charms her over a lovely dinner. The next morning, Meg is giddy with anticipation of a second date—until she’s stood up without a word. She fumes that she should have known better. However, her date had a good reason for ghosting her. He’s dead. Murdered, the police later confirm.
As the last known person to see the victim alive, Meg becomes a prime suspect in his death. She grimly quips that at least her dating record can’t get any worse. But it does. A thorn from Meg’s romantic past returns to little Last Word, espousing motives too sweet to believe.
To sleuth out the truth, the sisters must sift through secrets deeper than the February snowfall. Clues accumulate, but so do suspects, crimes, and betrayals. Ellie and Meg can’t afford to leave any page unturned. Romance may not be their forte, but hearts and lives are on the line, and the Christies know how to solve a mystery—especially when murder is involved.
Never had I so dreaded a trip to the library.Last Word to the Wise by Ann Claire
Things you need to know before reading the review:
Last Word to the Wise is the second book in the Christie Bookshop series. Last Word to the Wise can be read as a stand-alone book. But I suggest reading the previous book to understand the characters and their backstories.
Last Word to the Wise is a medium to fast-paced book. The pacing of the book suited it. The author was able to speed up and slow down the plotline without losing my attention or creating too much lag. There was some lag towards the middle of the book. But, it wasn’t enough to distract me or make me lose any enjoyment in reading the book.
There are no trigger warnings in Last Word to the Wise.
Sexual Content: There is no on-page sexual content in Last Word to the Wise.
Language: There is no graphic or offensive language in Last Word to the Wise.
Setting: Last Word to the Wise occurs entirely in the fictional city of Last Word, Colorado.
Plot Synopsis (as spoiler-free as I can get):
Ellie and Meg Christie are doing great as co-caretakers of their family’s bookstore in Last Word, Colorado. But, in the romance department, they could be doing better. Ellie hasn’t been in a relationship since before she moved back to Last Word, and Meg, well, she hasn’t been in one since she was stood up at the altar by her daughter’s father fourteen years previously. So, they reluctantly agree when their cousin asks them to test the water of her new business, matching people together due to their reading habits and tastes.
For Ellie, her date was a disaster, but she had been expecting that. But Meg, on the other hand, her date was excellent and a perfect match. But, when her date doesn’t show up for brunch like he promised, Meg figures he either forgot or ditched her. Well, as it turns out, it was neither. Her date had been murdered. Since Meg was the last person to see him alive, she is the prime suspect.
Determined to prove her sister’s innocence, Ellie digs into the victim’s background. What she uncovers shocks her and gives her a list of scorned lovers. Can Ellie prove her sister’s innocence? Can she figure out not only who killed the victim but why?
Ellie Christie: I liked Ellie and how she supported Meg, even when all the evidence was pointing to her. Ellie was the main person who chased down leads. She was a great sister, aunt, and granddaughter. Ellie is also the main person who puts everything together (well, with the help of her cat at the end of the book). She did bumble through most of the investigation, but she also made some surprising connections between Joe’s murder and other townspeople.
Meg Christie: I like Meg. But man, did she have it coming from all sides. First, with Joe’s murder, then being told she was a prime suspect, and her ex (her daughter’s father) showed up. I was shocked that she didn’t have a breakdown. I also felt terrible that the first date she went on in years ended like it did.
Joe Darcy: While Joe was only alive for the first chapter or so of the book, his murder had a vast (and negative) impact on the Christie sisters’ lives. He was not a good guy. That’s all I can say about him without giving away major spoilers.
Secondary Characters: As with other books, the secondary characters supported and enriched the storyline. The characters that stood out the most to me were Lorna, Dr. Waldon, Rosie, Gram, Detective Sam Iberra, Sheriff Sunny, and Cameron.
I enjoyed reading Last Word to the Wise. I enjoy reading cozy mysteries and have been drawn to them in the past year. There is something about reading a book about a closed-room mystery and figuring out who did it and why. And Last Word to the Wise pushed those buttons for me.
The main storyline is centered around Meg, Ellie, Joe Darcy’s murder, the police investigation, and Ellie’s investigation/quest to clear her sister’s name. It was well-written and easy to track, even when Ellie’s investigation went haywire. I was very surprised by who the murderer was, but I wasn’t surprised once I read that person’s confession. I was a little sad, to be honest.
The mystery angle was well-written and kept me on my toes while reading it. I went to the end of the book thinking it was one person and was surprised when it was another. It is challenging to get one over on me, mysterywise, and Last Word to the Wise did that. As I said above, I was surprised and then sad by who the murderer ended up being.
The end of Last Word to the Wise was interesting. The author wrapped up the main storyline in a way that I liked. She also left enough there for me to hope for another book.
Many thanks to Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Bantam, NetGalley, and Ann Claire for allowing me to read and review this ARC of Last Word to the Wise. All opinions stated in this review are mine.
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