Review: Murder By Page One
MURDER BY PAGE ONE - Olivia Matthews
Hallmark Publishing
BUY
March 2021
Cozy Mystery
REVIEWER: Wayne Jordan  RATING: A
REVIEW: When I closed the pages of MURDER BY PAGE ONE, I sighed with contentment. I’d just finish the first book in Olivia Matthews’ A Peach Coast Library Mystery Series. Words like cozy, quirky, suspenseful, and delightful, all came to mind because each of those words sum up what is good about this Hallmark debut release.

Our protagonist is Marvella ‘Marvey' Harris, a recent transplant from Brooklyn to the Southern town of Peach Coast in Georgia. She has taken the role and responsibility of  promoting and marketing the library, and I found myself smiling each time she asked someone if he or she had a library card. But I digress. this review is about a death, murder and who-done-it, so that should be my focus. When Marvey is invited to a book signing, the last thing she expects is for the author to be murdered and for suspicion to fall on her close friend Jolene ‘Jo’ Gomez. Unfortunately, the two detectives investigating the case believe that Jo has done it, so Marvey, along with her group of friends and coworkers, set out to find the real murderer and prove that Jo is innocent.

I loved everything about this book: the quaint town with its southernism (LOL look out for Marvey’s notebook) and its wonderful sense of community; the smell of peach cobbler from the local restaurant permeates the air…and the solid murder mystery. The tension and suspense had me turning page after page as quickly, as I worked, along with Marvey and her group, to figure out the identity of the murderer.

I loved the eclectic group of friends, especially Spencer Holt, who, despite his wealth, is a genuinely nice and humble person. Of course, I love the crotchety old Floyd and Phoenix, Marvey’s cat, is a hoot. Annoyed about the move to Peach Coast, Phoenix pouts and lets Marvey know he is not at all please. Solid characterization is Ms. Matthews’ forte and the rich kaleidoscope of characters with their unique personalities is a perfect example of what makes Ms. Matthews such a great writer.

Peach Coast is a town where I enjoyed my brief stay. I can’t wait to go back.
MURDER BY PAGE ONE has the feeling of a good murder mystery movie. Maybe we will get to see this series, and I hope there are more, move to the small screen. I’ll definitely be watching. Until then, I can’t wait to see who is the next to be murdered in Peach Coast!

1st April 2021 | romcol@caribsurf.com
(A)