Vinyl Resting Place

Juniper "Juni" Jessup has just moved back to her Texas hometown near Austin to open Sip & Spin, a record store and coffee shop she co-owns with her sisters. But when a local young woman is found dead in the shop after the opening-night party--and their uncle Calvin, a suspect, skips town--Juni and her sisters investigate. Olivia Blacke, who charms readers with her Brooklyn Murder Mystery series, launches Record Shop Mysteries, a cozy series, with Vinyl Resting Place.

Blacke (No Memes of Escape; Killer Content) sets up her series with an engaging ensemble cast, including Juni's two sisters, Tansy and Maggie; their mother, Bea; the shop cat, Daffy (short for "Daffodil"); and Juni's high school BFF-turned-mail carrier, Teddy Garza. Less engaging is Juni's overbearing ex, Beau Russell, now the cop in charge of the murder investigation. The narrative, told in Juni's snappy first-person voice, emphasizes the quirky small-town character of Cedar River, as well as the tight bonds among Juni's family and friends. Although the mystery plot, including the motive for murder, is a bit thin in places, readers will enjoy Juni's determination to exonerate her uncle, as well as the sisters' commitment to their new business venture. Punny coffee names ("Excuse Me While I Kiss the Chai") and Calvin's joke business, Prankenstein, add liberal dashes of humor. The mystery's solution temporarily lands Juni in hot water, but all three Jessup sisters will presumably be back for more adventures. Vinyl Resting Place is a fun addition to Blacke's growing library of stories featuring plucky amateur sleuths. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

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