An Excuse For Murder by Vanessa Westermann is a tense crime mystery with fairytale-like elements. Centered around a woman named Kate that owns a bookshop, who has dreamed about her prince charming. But she doesn’t need him to swoop in to save her when troubling things begin to happen around her. Kate can take care of herself.
Full disclosure: I was given a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my rating in any way.
Let’s dive in!
My Thoughts on An Excuse For Murder by Vanessa Westermann
When this story begins, we meet Gary, a man haunted by his past and one mistake he made that cost a woman her life. As Gary broods, he decides that he will be committing murder… Then we jump to meet Kate, a woman living in a shared-space Victorian home with quite the story. The first line we read when she’s introduced is, “Where did you find the body?”
Curious… We met a man ready to commit murder and then we hear about a dead body. However, the doctor rules it a heart attack. But was it?
As the story continues, Gary and Kate cross paths. Gary is trying to get information on the body she found, and Kate is doing her best to put a wall up between them, but the two are drawn to one another. Soon, Gary is asking Kate out on a date. She’s hesitant at first, but eventually caves. Little does she know, Gary, who seems to just want to protect her, is hiding some major secrets.
I loved the cozy town feel that this one had. It felt like it was a town that I would be happy to move to with it’s bookshop, restaurants, and coffee shop. There may have been violence and secrets, but what town doesn’t?
The pacing of the story was wonderful. I loved that it hooked readers at the start and just continued on with little twists and turns that kept building up the mystery.
I loved the combination of mystery and crime and how each of these played out from the two main characters we followed. Gary was focused on the crime, and Kate was focused on the mystery!
I absolutely adored each of the characters, even the crotchety old Penelope. I loved watching all of their interactions and loved the dialogue between anyone that came into contact with one another. Kate and Marcus had my favorite relationship, so I really enjoyed each scene where they were together. Kate and Gary also had quite the banter that I found myself chuckling at when they got testy with one another. The two boys, Tim and Will, were my favorite side characters! The fact that they were investigating a murder, but the murder of a garden gnome, was absolutely hysterical. The initial scene where they came in the question Kate was hysterical!
All around, this was wonderful read! I ate up each page, excited to see what would happen next.
My Favorite Passages from An Excuse For Murder
This was her favorite part of her job, helping kids find books. Stories weren’t just an escape from everyday duties but complete worlds they lived and breathed in. The books they read at that age came to life for them. The characters were their friends, real people, not just fiction. Kate would pull all the strings she has to get them the books they wanted.
“We all have our vices.” Elaina shoved a box out of the way with the toe of her shoe, clearing a path to the door. “Mine just happens to be cigarettes.”
“Mine is tea, and I could murder a cup right now.” Marcus straightened and arched his back, arms above his head, to stretch his spine.
People were creatures of habit. They didn’t alter their routines without reason, especially when the old ones made sense.
The store became hushed, the air thick with time slowed, each moment clinging to the next. Rows of gold-tipped titles, worn covers, uncut pages, and faded illustrations surrounded them. A dense wall of fantasy worlds.
It was insane. She felt like she’d just stepped through the mirror into an alternate universe, or fallen down a well and hit her head. This was all some extravagant hallucination. The product of too much fiction. Enter next the secret wife, the sinister foreigner with poisoned darts, the body buried at the crossroads and the stash of gold.
A wide swathe of turf led between the plots. Gary walked past a chapel of rest. Marble crosses. Rusted circles of iron, caught in the fading light. The trees bordering the cemetery seemed to draw closer. There was something secretive about the graves.
My Final Thoughts on An Excuse For Murder
I had so much fun reading this. I couldn’t put it down! I loved the characters so much and couldn’t help but wish that it would have a bit of a fairytale ending.
If you’re looking for a fun mystery that’s mainly cozy, but with a fair splash of violence and darkness, then you gotta pick this one up!
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Thanks for reading!