When a ghost ship is spotted on the horizon one spring evening, bookseller Eleanor Mace decides to investigate the myths and legends of Combemouth, the seaside town where she runs The Reading Room. As Eleanor digs deeper into the town's history, she becomes intrigued by a Victorian crime report and is determined to find out what happened to a boy at the centre of the case - one with intriguing links to the present.
As Eleanor begins to uncover the truth - aided by the vicar but somewhat stalled by the local librarian - she has an unexpected challenge on her own horizon. Daniel - her husband of six months - is determined that they give up their separate homes and find a new place together. But Eleanor adores her cottage by the sea and resists, guaranteeing that things turn a little frosty as summer begins.
A celebrity book launch, an exploding dress and some salsa dancing pensioners make this a mystery with a difference.
After reading the blurb I wasn't 100% sure what to expect when I started reading The Bookshop Detective, which was quite nice, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised.
I definitely enjoyed the mystery aspect of the story of course, I mean who doesn't love a good mystery, especially about a ghost ship, however, since I don't want to spoil the story for anyone I won't say much about that.
Although I did enjoy the mystery as I said, the thing I enjoyed as much, if not more than that, was the rest of Eleanor's life outside of it. I've said in a previous review that the thing that will really endear me to a book and make me want to keep reading is when I fall in love with the characters, and I did that with Eleanor.
There was so much happening in her life outside of just the main story that it made her feel incredibly real which is what I really enjoy. Her relationship struggles and her friendships are what had me risking my tablet to read it in the bath because I wasn't ready to put it down yet.
I honestly really enjoyed it and would probably read it again even though I already know what happens (I always find myself going back to characters that I love), so I would definitely recommend it as a good read.
Jan Ellis began writing fiction by accident in 2013. Until then, she had led a blameless life as a publisher, editor and historian of early modern Spain. She fell into fiction when a digital publisher approached her to write a history book, then made the mistake of mentioning women's fiction, which sounded more fun.
In 2017 her four e-novellas were published in paperback by Waverley Books who also commissioned a brand-new title, The Bookshop Detective.
Jan describes her books as romcom/mystery with the emphasis firmly on family, friendship and humour. She specialises in small-town settings, with realistic characters who range in age from young teens to 80-somethings.
As well as being an author, Jan continues to work at the heart of the book trade. Jan Ellis is a nom-de-plume.