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Crime and Parchment by Daphne Silver

This enjoyable cozy mystery was a quick read, moving along at a good pace as Juniper tries to find her missing brother-in-law following the murder of a young woman he recently befriended. As the story progressed, I was tempted to race to the end to find out how he was connected to her death, but at the same time I wanted to savor the charm of life at the Wildflower Inn, where Juniper and her sister, Azalea, were raised, formerly their grandmother’s home.

The well-described beauty of Chesapeake Bay is the backdrop for a close-knit community with ties going back many generations. I loved the quaint setting and the characters who are protective of their small town in light of the threat to transform Rose Mallow into a Vegas-like tourist town.

Having been called back home from her life in D.C. after years of absence, Juniper expects to meet with Azalea’s husband, Rory, to discuss an ancient Celtic manuscript that he claims he has found in Maryland. As a rare books librarian, Juniper knows the history of the Book of Kells, whose bejeweled covers were stolen centuries ago. How is it possible that Rory has found these elusive pages so far from where they belong? Juniper goes to meet Rory at his requested meeting spot, the cemetery, assuming he hopes she will confirm that they are genuine. But instead of encountering Rory, Juniper stumbles across the body of Tess, the young woman he was involved with.

Author Daphne Silver draws on her expertise from working in a museum, her knowledge of libraries, and her own cultural background to create an authentic mystery that incorporates history. Her love of rare books and antiquities shines through in the pages of Crime and Parchment. A great mix of contemporary and historical fiction, it’s a perfect fit for all cozy mystery fans.

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