Manuscript for Murder

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Jon Land’s Manuscript for Murder capably continues the cozy murder mystery pitting Jessica Fletcher against a shadowy conspiracy.

Jessica Fletcher journeys to New York for her latest book signing. A down-on-his-luck author stumbles in and proclaims their shared publisher is skimming money. Jessica shrugs it off but agrees to talk when he’s sober in the morning. Overnight, the author dies in a suspected suicide, but as Jessica digs deeper into the mystery, the bodies begin to stack up. It seems a debut political thriller manuscript is the only connection as anyone who read it dies mysteriously. Jessica is the next target and in typical fashion, doggedly pursues the truth. From the idyllic Cabot Cove to bustling Washington, D.C., Jessica races to discover the truth before she’s the next victim.

Land masterfully continues the Murder, She Wrote series in a fun mystery that captures the coziness and heart of the original series with surprising thrills and chills. The series effortlessly carries into the modern age with references to Uber, Twitter, Kindle, and more. But the heart of the series is always present. Jessica’s fierce intelligence and determination at solving mysteries, but not just for the thrill of the solve but to protect innocents.

The writing evokes the feel of the show perfectly. Jessica’s interaction with series regulars and new faces alike sparkle with her humor and wit. Dialogue and subtle character interactions seem lifted from original screenplays. Everything that made the show so great is present here, but with some fantastic new additions. Chief among the new additions is the increasing stakes. The first few murders could have been accidents or suicides. As they mount, it becomes clear there’s a conspiracy lurking in the shadows. The connection between the readers and the manuscript seems tenuous. Jessica determinedly follows whatever leads she can, but, surprisingly, the mystery draws her away from Cabot Cove and even New York to the White House itself.

Fans of the original series and the last book will find another strong entry. New readers won’t be lost as Land subtly incorporates backstory when necessary while laying out a compelling mystery. Manuscript for Murder captures the coziness of the original series with a thrilling mystery leading to a shocking revelation.

Chris Hayden

Chris Hayden been working at City Book Review since 2012, so that makes him the keeper of knowledge. He manages the office and book reviewers (all 200 of them!), which is no small feat. If you’re looking at the book reviews here, you’re seeing them because he sent the books out for review. Without him, this place would fall apart, because no one else in the office knows how to use the postage machine. Two words: job security.


Reviewed By:

Author Jessica Fletcher and Jon Land
Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 320 pages
Publisher Berkley
Publish Date 2018-Nov-06
ISBN 9780451489302
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue November 2018
Category Mystery, Crime & Thriller
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