First Line: I loved wintertime in the quaint hamlet of Inspiration Valley, especially when it snowed, which wasn't often.
Seldom can your job actually help you with your wedding plans, but that's what's happening with Lila Wilkins. The Novel Idea Literary Agency has created a week-long celebration of all things wedding for Inspiration Valley. However, when a man with ties to several of the agency's authors is found dead, facedown in a wedding cake, those authors find themselves at the top of the suspect list. Lila is going to have to work fast!
I've enjoyed Lucy Arlington's Novel Idea cozy series from the start. Off the Books-- like the other books in the series-- provides a good, solid mystery as well as a pleasant visit with a cast of characters who have become friends.
There's a bit more delving into the personalities of Lila and her boss Bentley here in book four. Lila is getting a severe case of pre-wedding jitters, and she really has to figure out why. Her boss Bentley has always been the high-handed genius who expects everyone to tug their forelocks when she snaps her fingers. With the addition of one little dog named Olive, we are given some insight into this demanding woman's character, and it's a welcome one.
One of the things I have always enjoyed about this series is its idyllic "bookworm heaven" setting of Inspiration Valley. Reading about this special place (that should exist but doesn't) is a welcome bit of fantasy for me. An added bonus is that each book uncovers more of the inner workings of a literary agency and how it deals with new authors, query letters, publicity, and manuscripts. Like me, many readers enjoy learning about what goes on behind the scenes to create the books we all love.
As I was reading Off the Books, I got the feeling that the series may be coming to an end because many loose ends that had been left dangling for a book or two (or three) were neatly tied up. However, that probably isn't the case. The first three books in the series were written by Ellery Adams and Sylvia May. This fourth book was written by Susan Furlong, and Furlong may have wanted to tie off some old plot threads in order to introduce some of her own in future books. I hope that is the case because this is one of my favorite series.
Off the Books by Lucy Arlington
Berkley Prime Crime © 2016
Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Cozy Mystery, #5 Novel Idea mystery
Source: Purchased at The Poisoned Pen.