Mind Over Murder (A Raven's Nest Mystery, Book 1)
by Allison Kingsley
Release Date: September 6, 2011
2011 Berkley Prime Crime
Paperback Edition; 262 Pages
Genre: Paranormal / Cozy / Mystery
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
3.5 / 5 Stars
Cousins and best friends, Clara and Stephanie Quinn run The Raven's Nest Bookstore, where people go to find their most coveted reads. But they have no idea it's the psychically-gifted Clara who's reading them...
The bookstore has made an enemy of the town crier, Ana Jordon, who claims that the store's occult collection is "poisoning" the town's youth. Meanwhile, the store's number-one employee, Molly, has made no secret of her anger over Ana's antics. So when Ana is found dead, killed by the bust of Edgar Allen Poe sculpted by Molly, the evidence is stacked against her. And Clara must rely on her gift to make sense of this senseless murder...
Mind Over Murder is the first novel in a new cozy mystery series set in a small town in Maine, featuring cousins Stephanie and Clara. Moving back to her hometown after living in New York for many years, Clara is persuaded to work in Stephanie's bookstore while she looks for another job. Looking for peace and quiet after an emotional return to her roots, what Clara actually gets is a murder, a re-awaking of the famous "Quinn" sense, and an adventure on which she wasn't expecting.
I am a huge fan of the cozy / paranormal genre and turn to them quite often for something quick and fun to read. Mind Over Murder had quite a lot of offer and one of the things I enjoyed tremendously was the setting; the quaint little coastal town and the cute, cozy bookstore were perfect environments from which to draw. I could pretty much imagine the 'Nook', and the stockroom, and how the rest of the town would have looked and this helped quite a bit with regards to setting up the mystery in my mind. Besides, I adore bookstores and love it when authors use them as their settings. Perhaps I am prejudiced in this manner, but there you have it.
Stephanie and Clara were interesting main characters, and the contrast between them was rather delightful. Stephanie was rather more inquisitive than Clara, who was much more reserved after her experiences in New York. What really intrigued me about these two is the fact that the author barely scratched the surface with regards to their characters and I feel like there is so much more to them that I would like to know. With little tidbits given here and there, and many references to the "Quinn" inheritance, it seems like this series has a lot upon which to build and I like that. While there was a hint of romance in the air, and some use of the paranormal, neither of these overwhelmed the novel and allowed the story to develop. Unfortunately, the mystery was the weakest point of the novel, and with a plot that was fairly predictable, although there were some interesting moments, I was someewhat disappointed with an ending that was simply too easy and simple.
Mind Over Murder is one of those novels that I devoured in a couple of hours and enjoyed for its simplicity and fun. The first novel in a new series, this one sets up new characters, and possible situations, without divulging a lot of information, which gives readers a tantalizing taste of what could come in future novels. I enjoyed the dynamic between the two main characters and look forward to reading more about them in future novels, as well as discovering more about the "Quinn" sense that is discussed rather indirectly. For those who enjoy a fun cozy mystery, then I recommend Mind Over Murder for those future rainy and snowy days.