BOOK REVIEW + FREE MINI MYSTERY: Who Shot the Serif? by Jessa Archer (Cozy Mystery)


A Hand Lettering Mystery #1

Jessa Archer

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Independently Published
Date of Publication:  July 7. 2019
Number of Pages: 218

When Jamie Lang finds one of her hand lettered quotes on the window of her shop, Flourish, with a hole shot through a serif, she knows someone’s trying to drive her business into red ink. Jamie confronts Earleen Culp, the ruthless owner of the local stationery shop, in front of the most popular breakfast spot in the small town of Cedar Valley. Of course, Earleen professes shock and innocence, so when she’s found dead in front of Jamie’s home the next morning, Jamie becomes the prime suspect. Jamie’s one cross-stroke short of acquittal, and even her best friend has her doubts. But Jamie’s not the only one in town with a motive for wanting Earleen silenced for good. To clear her name, Jamie’s going to need every last drop of ink in her quill. With the hot police chief Ridge, and her makeup artist friend Nora on her side, she’s prepared to go out with a flourish if that’s what it takes to catch the real murderer. She’s desperate to save her hand lettering business, but will her quest lead her right into a killer’s snare?


I received a free copy of this book. This is my honest and thoughtful review.
I love coming across a new cozy series, especially one with a title like this! And while I don’t actually do any hand lettering myself, I do love finding interesting objects or pieces with a great font for use as decor or gifts. While obviously, the primary focus of the story is on the crime, I loved the balance the author created in showcasing the inner workings of running a business, while also crafting an intriguing and puzzling murder mystery. I loved following Jamie through the story and learning more about her work and the art she creates. 

“My goal is to bring sunshine into people’s worlds one quote at a time, if that’s what it takes.”
The dialogue and interactions between characters truly captures the story and was witty, humorous, and realistic, moving the plot along at break neck speed! At just over two hundred pages, this isn’t a very long book, but the author’s casual and friendly writing style brings this quaint yet quirky community to life, making you feel at home in Cedar Valley right away. I really enjoyed that the characters never seemed like caricatures, which is quite the norm within the genre itself. They were well developed with believable motives that made just about everyone suspicious! The story’s pacing created the right amount of tension and suspense to keep the pages turning in an effort to figure out who the murderer ultimately was, and with quite a few twists and turns along the way, the whodunit is as much as mystery to the reader as it is to Jamie. 

“Unless the murderer is some vagrant who was passing through town, whoever the murderer is won’t seem like the person we know them to be.”

Aren’t those the famous last words?

Jamie’s style of amateur sleuthing was both engaging and entertaining. She was confident in her abilities when she needed to be, but also knew when to back off and let the authorities play their part as well. This was made all the more easier with a best friend like Nora as well as being the potential love interest of the police chief, Ridge. 

Overall, this was a delightful gem of a mystery that was short, sweet, satisfying and really set some high expectations for the rest of the series. If you’ve been looking for a place to start in the cozy world, this is an excellent place to begin! Or if you’re like me and you’ve read quite a few, this one hits all the notes for a highly enjoyable and entertaining cozy that will leave you wondering why you haven’t heard of this series before! 

Jessa Archer writes sweet, funny, warm-hearted cozy mysteries because she loves a good puzzle and can’t stand the sight of blood. Her characters are witty, adventurous, and crafty in the nicest way. You’ll find her sleuths hand lettering inspirational quotes, trying to lower golf handicaps, enjoying a scone at a favorite teashop, knitting a sweater, or showing off a dramatic side in local theater.

Jessa’s done many things in her long career, including a stint as a journalist and practicing law. But her favorite job is spinning mysteries. She loves playing small town sleuth and transporting readers to a world where the scones are delicious, wine pairs with hand lettering, and justice always prevails.



Many thanks to Great Escapes Book Tours and Jessa Archer! It was a pleasure reading, reviewing, and hosting! And be sure to check out the other stops on the tour for more opinions and extras!

September 4 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, Hand Lettering Practice Sheet
September 4 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT
September 4 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT
September 5 – The Avid Reader  – REVIEW
September 5 – Cozy Up With Kathy – SPOTLIGHT
September 6 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
September 6 – I Read What You Write – SPOTLIGHT
September 7 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER GUEST POST
September 7 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
September 7 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
September 8 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – REVIEW
September 8 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
September 9 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – CHARACTER GUEST POST
September 9 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
September 9 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
September 10 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW
September 10 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
September 11 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
September 11 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
September 12 – ebook addicts – REVIEW
September 12 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW
September 13 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW
September 13 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT
September 13 – LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW


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