prose-and-consViolet, my beloved granddaughter, is here to stay. It does a grandmother good to know it. It did take a little bit of trickery on my part. You see, I fooled Violet into moving back to Cascade Springs, our little village just outside of Niagara Falls, New York. I had to trick her. It was the only way to get her to come back. After a difficult senior year of high school and before the ink was dry on high school diploma, Violet fled the village and was gone for twelve long years. To make her to return, all it took was for me to tell her I was dying.

Okay, I wasn’t actually dying. I fibbed, but it worked and that’s what matters. I got her to come back the village and was finally able to tell her about her magical destiny as the next Caretaker of Charming Books, the magical bookshop that has been in our family for generations. Believe you me, she was a little miffed that I had lied to her about the dying part and also a little bit disbelieving when I told her about her magical heritage. It is a lot to absorb, and Violet is not one for surprises.

But now, that’s all water under the bridge, and she is here to stay. This knowledge allowed me to enjoy the beautiful autumn morning as I walked from my little house to Charming Books. The air was crisp and scent of fallen leaves and pumpkin spice everything was heavy. I do love autumn so. I skipped up the bookshop’s front steps and pushed open the door. As I did so, I went from the serene fall scene to bedlam.

“Faulkner! Faulkner! Give that back!” Violet ran around the bookshop, shaking her fist at the bird. “I’ll sic all the magic of the birch tree on you! I’m the Caretaker now. Don’t you forget it!”

Faulkner, shop crow, flew above her head holding a small book in his talons. When he zoomed passed me, I saw that it was a weathered copy of Walden.

Violet loves Walden so. She is writing about it in her dissertation. I could tell that she had been working on her paper. Her laptop was in the middle of the coffee table, and papers, files, books, and pens covered the remainder of the table, the couch, and the floor. She’d clean it all up before the bookshop opened at ten. She always did.

Violet raced after the bird. Her strawberry-blond hair flew behind her like a red-gold banner. “When I get my hands on you, crow, you will be sorry!”

Faulkner cawed, and it sounded a lot like a cackle. Unfortunately, the crow’s laughter was short lived because Emerson, Violet’s tuxedo cat, leapt from the top of one of tall bookcase with a primal yowl. The crow cried out in fear and dropped the book from his talons before flying to the safety of the birch tree that grew in the middle of our shop.

Emerson sat on the book where it landed at the base of the tree, glaring up at the bird.

“That’s quite a guard cat you have there,” I quipped.

Violet dropped into a chair. Her hair half covered her pretty face.

“Do you need tea, my dear?” I asked.

She nodded. “Yes, tea. I need tea. And a cupcake. Maybe a dozen cupcakes.”

I laughed. “You’re going to need a lot more than a dozen cupcakes to get through today. The Cascade Springs Food and Wine Festival starts tomorrow not to mention the Poe-try Reading that we have planned.” I smiled. “And I don’t need to remind you that Chief David Rainwater will be at the Red Inkers meeting tonight, do I?”

She groaned and slid to the floor in a heap. Her hair completely covered her face from view.

Faulkner and I chuckled. It was so good to have her home.


Buy a mystery and help feed a community! Purchase any edition of Prose and Cons book, between now and Tuesday, December 20, 2016, and Amanda will donate one dollar for every book sold to a food pantry, The Landing, located in Akron, Ohio. The Learned Owl is also making a $1 donation to the Landing for every copy the bookstore sells and is selling PERSONALIZED AND SIGNED copies on the novel. They can ship anywhere.

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Prose and Cons is the second book in the Magical Bookshop mystery series, published by Penguin Random House, December 2016.

Magic, books, and cats collide in a village near Niagara Falls in the latest mystery from the author of Crime and Poetry. . .

In Cascade Springs, New York, Violet Waverly and her grandma, Daisy, are the proprietors of Charming Books, where the power of the written word is positively enchanting. . .

October in Cascade Springs means tourists are pouring in for the annual Food and Wine Festival, and Daisy hopes to draw those crowds to the store. She asks Violet and the local writing group, the Red Inkers, to give a reading of the works of Edgar Allan Poe in the shop’s back garden to entertain the revelers. Everyone eagerly agrees.

Yet their enthusiasm is soon extinguished when Violet discovers one of the writers dead during the event. After the shop magically tells Violet she’ll need to rely on Poe’s works to solve the murder, she enlists the help of her trusty tuxedo cat, Emerson, and the shop’s crow, Faulkner. But they must act fast before someone else’s heart beats nevermore. . .

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About the author
Amanda Flower, a national bestselling and Agatha Award winning mystery author. She also writes mysteries as USA Today bestselling author Isabella Alan. In addition to being an author, Amanda is librarian in Northeast Ohio. Follow Amanda on Social Media at: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

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