Wednesday, November 14, 2018

A Vintage Death by Mary Ellen Hughes | Blog Tour with Review, Guest Post and Giveaway

The Blurb

As the new music box store owner and resident of Keepsake Cove, a quaint town full of collectible shops on Maryland's Eastern Shore, Callie Reed is eager to get more involved in her community. She volunteers to plan the Fall street decorations and welcome a visiting author who's come for a special book signing. But the celebratory mood is cut short when the local B&B owner is found dead, killed by a pair of vintage scissors.

Suspicion is cast on the victim's estranged wife, Dorothy, who owns Keepsake Cove's vintage sewing shop. Callie is sure Dorothy is innocent, and the visiting author agrees. Together, they begin their own investigation, only to discover that many people in Keepsake Cove have secrets. Secrets that are worth killing to keep quiet.

Vintage Death by Mary Ellen Hughes
Series: A Keepsake Cove Mystery, #2
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publication Date: November 8, 2018
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Paperback: 264 pages
ISBN-10: 0738752274
ISBN-13: 978-0738752273
 Add to Goodreads

The Review

I read a really good book recently, y'all — A Vintage Death by Mary Ellen Hughes, the second book in the Keepsake Cove Mystery series. Let me tell you a little about it.

A Vintage Death is an entertaining cozy mystery starring Callie Reed (also the star of Book One, A Fatal Collection). Callie is the new owner of House of Melody, a music box store, which used to belong to her Aunt Melodie. The tale of how Callie became one of the shopkeepers in Keepsake Cove is told in A Fatal Collection.

My favorite returning characters are Callie and Brian Greer. During A Fatal Collection, Callie was helped significantly in "a few minor incidents and one particularly dangerous one" by Brian. Brian owns and operates the Keepsake Cove Café across the street from House of Melody. Since those incidents, she and Brian have been dating (although Callie insists on calling it "spending a lot of time with each other," not dating).

A secondary character who adds a lot of fun to the plot is Tabitha, Callie's twenty-year-old part-time assistant at the shop. Tabitha's usual attire consists of anything unusual, like vintage clothing or a costume. Some of the outfits worn by Tabitha during A Vintage Death depict Margaret Anderson (Jane Wyatt) from Father Knows Best, Amy Farrah Fowler from The Big Bang Theory, someone from the musical Hair, and Sansa Stark from Game of Thrones. Callie's regular customers (and I) get a kick out of seeing what new looks Tabitha comes up with.

Callie is relatable, easy to root for, and a really good friend. When some of their neighbors talk about the murder and murderer of Cliff Ashby, as if the case against the victim's wife Dorothy is all sewn up, Callie remains loyal to her. With the able assistance of visiting author Lyssa Hammond (my favorite new character), Callie investigates the murder and subsequent events that occur.

Callie and Lyssa are even more determined to sleuth out the real murderer after a second person is killed with a pair of scissors. Later the same day that the second body was discovered,
...Callie had answered multiple calls from other Keepsake Cove shopkeepers, most wanting to know what she knew. All feared for the Cove's reputation as a great place to visit. As one put it, "People will be calling us Creepsake Cove, the stabbing capital of Maryland!"
Brian also helps Callie with the case. Here, they're in the café, looking for connections between the two murders:
Callie sank her head into her hands. "Am I wrong and just fooling myself about her?"
Brian shook his head. "I think you're a pretty good judge of character." He added with a grin. "After all, you chose to sit here alone with me, late at night. And I've got a drawer full of knives back there."
"You also had chocolate cake."
"But you have common sense. Don't sell yourself short."
Callie and Lyssa discover several people with grudges against the victims. (If a grudge is nursed long enough, will it become a motive for murder?) The sleuths investigate the various alibis of their suspects (field trip!). The actual perpetrator was someone that neither Callie and Lyssa nor I suspected. Can you figure it out?

The mystery is plausible and appropriately mysterious. The plot is fast-moving, clever, and entertaining, with a thrilling climax. I love the ending! It's so cozy, and a perfect set-up for Book Three in the Keepsake Cove Mysteries. I can't wait to read it.

I recommend A Vintage Death to all cozy mystery fans, especially those of you who are also fans of fall festivals, gift shops, music boxes, collectibles, and keepsakes. I totally enjoyed A Vintage Death, and I think you will too. Mary Ellen Hughes has collected the Jane Reads Four Kitty Award for A Vintage Death.

Four out of five kitties
Note: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of A Vintage Death.
All opinions shared are 100% my own.

The Guest Post

Why a mystery series around keepsakes and collectibles? Well, for one thing, it’s really fun to write about and be in that world if you enjoy beautiful things — and who doesn’t?  But since few of us can afford everything we love, one alternative is to enjoy them vicariously. That’s what I think the Keepsake Cove Mysteries lets readers do.
Here’s an entire town where every shop carries a particular collectible. Shoppers can arrive early and just browse through the shops that interest them most or stroll leisurely from store to store, discovering unique collectibles they’d never imagined existed. They can take a relaxing lunch break at the Keepsake Café, chat with friendly fellow shoppers, then go off to browse some more. 
Keepsake Cove, as I wrote it, is filled with quaint, Dickensian shops whose names describe their wares. My protagonist’s shop features all sizes and shapes of music boxes. It was established by her Aunt Melodie, who called it House of Melody. The shop on one side of her is called Shake It Up! and carries — what else? — collectible salt and pepper shakers. On the other side, owner Karl Eggers offers vintage toy cars. His place is Car-lectibles. 
Then there’s the vintage sewing shop called Stitches Thru Time, and a clock shop named Timely Treasures. There’s more — many, many more. Sound like a collector’s paradise? In a way, it is. But since this is a mystery, there has to be a villain, and that’s where things get complicated.
The task for my protagonist, Callie Reed, is to identify the murderer that’s shaken up this otherwise idyllic town — not easy when he or she wears a mask of innocence and lies convincingly. So Callie needs to be skeptical of all claims until verified in order to uncover the truth, protect the falsely-accused, and return the town to its happier state.
Which, unfortunately will last only a while, because there’s always going to be another evil person slithering in. But that’s also fun to write, and hopefully to read, too, because, let’s face it — perfection can get a little boring. Problems, while, um, problematic, make things interesting. They also let normal feel great again once they’re dealt with.
And getting back to normal in Keepsake Cove means being able to stroll through all those intriguing little shops. But now a visitor might look at them in a slightly different way. Are those shopkeepers really as genial as they seem to be, or are they secretly planning to do away with a competitor? Is the reddish brown spot on those vintage scissors only rust or have they been used to stab someone?
Shopping in Keepsake Cove might never feel perfectly normal again. But on the other hand, it won’t ever be boring.

The Author

About Mary Ellen Hughes 

Mary Ellen Hughes is the bestselling author of the Pickled and Preserved Mysteries (Penguin), the Craft Corner Mysteries, and the Maggie Olenski Mysteries, along with several short stories. A Fatal Collection was her debut with Midnight Ink. 

A Wisconsin native, she has lived most of her adult life in Maryland, where she’s set many of her stories. 

            Find Mary Ellen Hughes on the web at

The Giveaway

Follow the tour, to read other Guest Posts and Reviews, plus Author Interviews!


November 7 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

November 7 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

November 7 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews - REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 7 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf - GUEST POST

November 8 – The Book Diva's Reads - GUEST POST

November 8 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, Sissy, & Too! - SPOTLIGHT

November 8 – Laura's Interests - REVIEW

November 9 – Moonlight Rendezvous - REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 9 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW

November 9 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

November 9 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

November 10 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 10 – MJB Reviewers - REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 10 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

November 10 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews - CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 11 – Mallory Heart's Cozies – REVIEW

November 11 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 11 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT*

November 12 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

November 12 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW

November 12 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

November 13 – Valerie's Musings - REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 13 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

November 13 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW

November 14 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

November 14 – Jane Reads - REVIEW, GUEST POST

November 14 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

November 15 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

November 15 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

November 15 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW

November 16 – Melina's Book Blog – REVIEW

November 16 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

November 16 – Here's How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT

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