The Secret, Book, & Scone Society
By: Ellery Adams
Opening Line: “The man on the park bench stared at the empty space above the knuckle of Nora Pennington’s pinkie finger.”
Overall: Nora Pennington moved to Miracle Springs, North Carolina to leave her old life far behind her and find some peace and healing. Nora was a librarian in her old life and she loves books. So, she decided to open up a book store in the old train depot of her new town and call it, Miracle Books. She is known in town as a “bibliotherapist”. Meaning that she will listen to people’s problems, and can pick out just the right books for them to read to help them with what they are going through. Many visitors come to Miracle Springs to soak in the natural hot mineral springs for healing of body and mind. On a park bench in town, Nora met a man in need of some healing. Nora sent him over to see Hester at the Gingerbread Bakery. She bakes individual “comfort scones” for people that help them by evoking strong memories from their pasts. Then he was going to go to Nora’s book store to meet with her. But, before he got to Miracle Books for his appointment, he was found dead on the train tracks. Word travels fast in a small town, and soon Estelle, the local hairdresser came and told Nora about the story of the man who committed suicide on the train tracks. Nora did not think he would commit suicide right before coming to her shop for help. Hester, who had just made him his scone, also agreed that suicide was not likely. June, who works at the hot springs was the one to tell the man, Neil, about Nora’s shop in the first place, agreed that he seemed to be trying to solve his problems, not desperate enough for suicide. However, the local Sherriff automatically ruled it a suicide without an investigation. These four ladies did not trust the chauvinistic Sherriff and his lack of an investigation, and decided to try to solve the mystery of what happened to Neil on their own. All four of these ladies have painful pasts and secrets hidden deep inside themselves. They keep busy by working all the time, and they do not any close friends. But, through Neil’s death, they all felt a connection to eachother. So, in order to be able to work together to look into Neil’s death, the ladies needed to trust eachother. So that they could trust eachother, one-by-one, each of them shared their deepest secret with the group. The four of them then formed a new friendship bond and named it, The Secret, Book, & Scone Society. The ladies started to investigate together, but when another member of the organization Neil worked for was found dead too, the group knew for sure they were on to something big and it was not suicides. Could these four regular women who had just recently become friends trust eachother enough to solve these murder mysteries without putting themselves in danger too?
Ovations: I love that this book is set in a mysterious town that people flock to who are in need of some healing. I adore the name, Miracle Springs. The author writes the details in such a descriptive way, you really can picture the quaint town and all the people in your mind so clearly. I like that the book has a lot of “book talk”, literary references, and book recommendations because of Nora and her bookstore. I appreciate that at the core of the book is a group of 4 women that are loners who are afraid to open up to anyone, but then decide to be brave and risk their secrets in order to make some new friends and try to learn to trust again. It is refreshing that these four ladies are working women who become friends and help eachother and lift eachother up, instead of competing with eachother and being catty rivals. I like that the plot involves 2 murders, so it makes it an interesting mystery to figure out not just who committed each murder, but if they are connected and how. The pacing is good, there are no boring spots, and the mysteries are interesting and make sense. There is also a budding romance between Nora and a paramedic named Jed that I am hopeful will continue in the next book of the series.
Oh Well: I really did not like the chauvinistic Sherriff and hate to be reminded that there are still men like that out there in charge of things. But, other than him, who we are supposed to dislike, I can’t think of anything I did not like about this book.
Opinion: This cozy mystery is the first book in an ongoing series. Four of the books are out now: The Secret, Book, & Scone Society, The Whispered Word, The Book of Candlelight, and Ink and Shadows. (I have reviews of each of these books here on my website.) The fifth book is coming out in 2022. I have read all four books out in this series so far and I really enjoyed them. They are unique and very well written cozy mysteries. I will continue to read them as long as the author keeps writing them. Rating 9 out of 10