Crime and PoetryOne day, I was just minding my own business in the University library working on my dissertation in transcendentalist literature, and the next I was driving halfway across the country in an utter panic. I should back up. Like in any good story, I should start from the beginning.

It all started twelve years ago when I ran away from my hometown, Cascade Springs, New York, when I was seventeen. The day I left that little village, just minutes from the world famous Niagara Falls, I swore I would never return. You see, something happened there, something terrible, and I had to run away. My Grandma Daisy, my only living relative, still lives in the village and owns and operates Charming Books, a small independent bookstore that has been in our family for two hundred years. She’s made no secret of wanting me to return to the village and take over the shop. I can’t do that, not after what happened—which I can’t get into now. Trust me; it would take a whole book to explain.

Now back to the University library. I was at my favorite table with the world largest coffee, my laptop fired up, and all my notes and books. I was ready to jump into the world Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. What I wasn’t ready for was for my cell phone to ring and hear from my grandma.

The phone rang deep inside of my purse. The librarian sitting at the reference desk shot me a dirty look, and other students in the library shuffled their papers in irritation. I mouthed, “Sorry” and rifled through my bag set on turning the phone off, but when I saw the call was from Grandma Daisy, I knew I had to take it. With the librarian glaring at my back, I took my phone into the stacks to hide as I answered the call.

“Grandma?” I asked. “Is everything okay?”

“Violet, my dear, you have to come home.” Cough. “I’m not well. The doctors say it’s serious. They don’t know how much time I have left.”

“What?!” I cried.

On the other side of the stacks, I heard the librarian nosily clear her throat.

“What?” I asked in a harsh whisper. “What’s wrong?”

There was a long pause. “They aren’t completely certain yet. They’re running tests . . .” she trailed off.

“Can I talk to your doctor?”

“No.” She coughed again. “I think it’s best if you just come as quick as we can. There will time for doctors when you arrive. You will come, won’t you?”

“Of course, of course, I’ll come. I can leave in the morning,” I said, already mentally calculating all I had to do to leave. Of course, I had to go. There was no one on Earth more important to me than my grandmother.

“Good,” she said, sounding much more cheerful. “I will expect you tomorrow. Now, I really must go.” And she hung up.

I left that the library after that in a complete haze. The next morning, I was on the road before dawn, half mad with worry the entire drive from Chicago to Western New York.

So you can imagine my shock when I burst into Charming Books to find Grandma Daisy in perfect health. She tricked me into coming back to Cascade Springs! What kind of grandmother tricks her only grandchild? She tricked me to come back and take over the bookshop and accept my special heritage . . . whatever that is. That just wasn’t going to happen.

After being there less than a minute, I was determined to leave again until a dead body turned up. That changed everything, including the entire course of my life…

Crime and Poetry is the first book in the NEW Magical Bookshop Mystery series, published by Obsidian, April 2016.

From Amanda Flower – who writes the national bestselling Amish Quilt Shop Mysteries as Isabella Alan – comes the first in the new Magical Bookshop Mystery series.

Rushing home to sit by her ailing grandmother’s bedside, Violet Waverly is shocked to find Grandma Daisy the picture of perfect health. Violet doesn’t need to read between the lines: her grandma wants Violet back home and working in her magical store, Charming Books. It’s where the perfect book tends to fly off the shelf and pick you.

Violet has every intention to hightail it back to Chicago, but then a dead man is discovered clutching a volume of Emily Dickinson’s poems from Grandma Daisy’s shop. The victim is Benedict Raisin, who recently put Grandma Daisy in his will, making her a prime suspect. Now, with the help of a tuxedo cat named Emerson, Violet will have to find a killer to keep Grandma from getting booked for good.

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About the author
Amanda Flower, a three time Agatha-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. Amanda is a librarian in Northeast Ohio. She also writes as USA Today Bestselling Author Isabella Alan. Visit Amanda at

Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Crime and Poetry. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end April 12, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.

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