Borrowed Book By: My path first crossed with Ms Kincaid during the #12DaysOfCozies Twitter chats hosted by @cozymysteryclub in December, 2020. It was a chance to interact with Cosy Mystery writers in a kick-off celebration of Cosies as a lead-up into the Christmas holidays. During the chats themselves there were several bookaways, wherein this novel was one of the prizes however I was meant to win a copy of another Cosy story in an anthology – however it never arrived by post. I did however receive a swag pack of bookmarks and stickers by the hostess of the chats and I have been using her #Sleuther bookmark to read all the lovely Cosies I borrow through my library whilst the other bookmarks I use either for books in my personal library or review books I receive for review consideration.
The chats were a benchmark of my 2020 Christmas celebrations as it allowed me to celebrate Christmas in a keenly special way last December whilst I was able to interact and seek out new series of Cosies to read this New Year, 2021 as well. I have quite a long list of stories and series I want to dive inside and this particular book marks the start of those readings. Ms Kincaid and I just happened to hit it off quite well and I knew I wanted to host her via @SatBookChat. This review is both a continued nod of celebration to #12DaysOfCozies and of course, a happy introduction to a new Cosy series I was thankful I have had myself courtesy of my local library!
I borrowed the hardbck copy of the novel “To Kill A Mocking Girl” direct from my local library. I was not obliged to post a review and am sharing my review on behalf of this novel for my own edification as much as continuing to share my readerly life on Jorie Loves A Story. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!
This review has been a long time in coming to Jorie Loves A Story!! I’ve been wanting to host Ms Kincaid via #SatBookChat for most of Spring however, the timing for both the author and myself had to work out a few kinks. With my return to working full-time earlier in Spring and with some health afflictions in mid-Spring, we both decided to push this forward into June. I was grateful I finally had a chance to bring her into #SatBookChat’s community as I’ve been reading this novel off/on for as many months as we’ve been working on the schedule! Each time I thought I was close to finishing the novel, I had to boomerang the book back to the library! Laughs.
The joy for me on the morning of #SatBookChat today was waking up early enough to make more headway into the story and to find myself at the halfway mark before the chat began! It was my intentions to sneak into the book whenever I had an hour or so to spare to read it whilst hoping no one in my community wanted to read it this week as I had to re-fetch it! Smirks. Thankfully the stars aligned and whilst I wasn’t working, I happily tucked into the lives of Quinn, Sister Daria and Aiden.
For me, the character who stole my heart is Sister Daria and until I had the convo this morning with Ms Kincaid I couldn’t sort out why I leant more towards her than Quinn. Until of course the author pointed out Quinn is sweet and all but she’s a bit dull and mundane in comparision to Daria and I believe that’s true! Sister Daria is a renegade nun in so many ways – from her background and backhistory to how she approaches the sisterhood with ideals and beliefs that are not in-step with the rest of her sisters. I celebrated finding that inclusive of her storyline but again, it isn’t a conventional character and I think that in of itself is why I love her as much as I do!
After the chat, I quickly dove back into the story – I knew with an afternoon shift I didn’t want to put off reading more of the book or if I could, get into the ending as I was dearly curious about who was ‘behind’ the whole sequencing of events. This is one thinking mystery I was appreciating see develop because it didn’t seem to be an obvious choice in regards to whom the person was behind the crime. If you factor in the fact, Quinn was labelled as a person of interest early-on in the storyline, I knew I was ready to see where Kincaid would take us next to root out the truth and solve the case alongside Quinn and her family.
Why I enjoy Cosy Mysteries (Contemporary & Historical):
When it comes to Mysteries, stories of Suspense and even Thrillers, I have the tendency to read through the centuries as I appreciate a wicked good Contemporary as much as a thrillingly brilliant Historical which you can intuit from my Story Vault. (mind, its not updated for awhile) Focusing on the topic today, Cosy Mysteries (yes, I purposely spelt it this way!) have been my jam since I was quite young. I’ve openly discussed how much I struggled with reading when I was a young girl – before and after I learnt I was dyslexic and when it came to reading, Mysteries were a constant companion.
I cut my teeth on Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys before I quickly moved into Adult Cosies with Agatha Christie and her lovingly brilliant Miss Marple! I wouldn’t discover Poirot until an adult – through the film adaptations and series; whilst it is a goal of mine to read his stories at some point. Cosies have a particular fondness for me because I’m not a reader who enjoys gritty and gruesome scenes of violence nor do I enjoy heavy pepperings of vulgarity (see also Review for a recent read that went over the top). I’d much prefer to get into the heart of the investigations, follow the central lead and supporting characters’ journeys and settle into the setting of the mystery as well. Small townes are an especially favourite of mine because of how quirky they are by nature and how cleverly their organised by writers to be full of interestingly diverse and ecelctic characters.
I read Contemporary Suspense novels which are writ similarly to Cosies – as their with a faith-based imprint (ie. Love Inspired Suspense) but in general, I tend to categorise those separately from ‘Cosy’ as Cosy has its own guidelines and perimeters to adhere too, themselves. I do count Cleo Coyle’s Coffeehouse Mysteries as Cosies but I know their just ‘this side’ of Hard-Boiled, too. I like to peer into a Cosy’s characters’ life, take up residence there and enjoy the respite from other genres I regularly read. Cosies also have a cosy-comfortable vibe about them and you tend to get attached to the characters and/or the setting quite immediately.
When it comes to Cosy Historical Mysteries – I sometimes put a few ‘nearly Hard-Boiled’ lovelies into that category, too, such as the Susan Spann Hiro Hattori series I regularly have read through the last several years. For Historicals, rather than having myself feel anchoured into our modern world with pop cultural references which I devour in stories due to the fact it opens a lot of my geeky doors of delight – I prefer to feel more attached to the timescape in History. Similar to why I love reading Victorian, Regency and Edwardian Romances. I like to feel as if I’ve removed myself into that portal of the historical past and can see/sense everything I might have if I were physically removed.
The best bit of course is the suspension of reality to tuck close to a Cosy character, peer into the investigative processes and see if I can either guess or root out the culprits along with the sleuths in the story. Whether their professionals or amateurs, I love following along and seeing where the writer has chosen to take us through their own vision for the set-up and the reveal. Even the motivations for the characters who are villains is of interest as sometimes that can explain so much about the story and also, in the case of series, how that affects the characters who will return.
Cosy Mysteries are just a part of my bookish heart as much as Science Fiction, Fantasy & Historical Fiction – I rotate through genres on the regular and as you will denote by the events I co-host and/or participate inside every year, there is a genre of interest or flavour of story that might tempt you as you read the chronicles of my readerly life here on Jorie Loves A Story. It is harder to explain what led me into Cosies originally because my earliest memories of reading outside the moments I was listening to Mum (ie. the original narrator in my life) read to me were of Mysteries!! They’ve just always ‘been’ there, you know!?
My Connection to the Author: Harper Kincaid
Ms Kincaid and I truly loved interacting during the #12DaysOfCozies Twitter chat event during December, 2020. It sparked a wonderful connection between two writers and two avid readers wherein we found we share a heap in common with each other. and so, naturally a friendship started to develop. We’ve remained in contact over the months since as our schedules have allowed and I have been grateful to find someone I can relate too who is also celebrating being GenX through her series of Cosy Mysteries as the Bookbinding Mysteries is for readers who like GenX (and/or GenY) sensibilities in their stories.
I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with her ahead of reading her novels. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time. This is also true when I follow-up with them on future releases and celebrate the book birthdays which come after their initial publication.
Quinn Victoria Caine is back in her quirky town of Vienna, Virginia, starting her new life as a bookbinder in her family-owned, charm-for-days bookshop, Prose & Scones. With her trusty German Shephard RBG-‘Ruff Barker’ Ginsburg by her side, what can go wrong? Okay, sure, bumping into her ex, Scott, or her former high school nemesis, Tricia, is a drag. It certainly doesn’t help they have acquired the new hobby of shoving their recent engagement in her face every chance they get. But that doesn’t mean Quinn wanted to find Tricia dead in the road. So why does half the town think she may have done it?
Quinn is determined to find Tricia’s killer, even if it means partnering with her cousin-turned-nun, Sister Daria, and Detective Aiden Harrington, her older brother’s too-movie-star-handsome-for-his-own good, best friend. They believe she’s innocent, but of course that doesn’t influence the police, who peg her as their prime suspect. Or, at least until she’s poisoned.
But there is no way Quinn is going to stop now. Vienna is her town and-for better or worse-Tricia was one of their own. Someone may have killed the mocking girl, but no one’s going to stop the notorious QVC.
Places to find the book:
Published by Crooked Lane Books
on 7th July, 2020
Format: Hardcover Edition
The Bookbinding Mysteries:
To Kill A Mocking Girl (book one)
A Midsummer’s Night Scheme (book two) ← forthcoming 2022/?
Converse via Twitter: #ToKillAMockingGirl