Vivian Conroy: Last Pen Standing

Last Pen Standing (A Stationary Shop Mystery #1)
by Vivian Conroy

(cozy mystery)

Rating: 3 stars

This is a fun cozy mystery that follows Delta, the new part-owner of a stationary shop, as she tries to solve a murder to clear her friend and co-owner’s name of the crime. It’s enjoyable for a fluff read, though the mystery itself left me feeling a little flat. Delta had many of the clues seemingly fall into her lap, and I also didn’t feel like there were any clues the reader could have picked up on to point to the identity of the murderer before the big reveal. But, maybe you don’t expect anything more than that from your cozy mysteries, in which case this is a fun read.

The other thing I was looking forward to in this was a cozy about a STATIONARY SHOP. I am a huge fan of stationary; I have always loved and collected notepads, stickers, pens, you name it. Over the past 5 years or so I have also built up a decent fountain pen collection. So I was admittedly disappointed in the stationary content of this book also. There’s lots of talk about the shop’s notebook selection, but only as regards the fact that they have lots of notebooks, and that some of them have pretty designs on the cover. There’s no talk of brand (which could be fine, we aren’t doing product placement) or what quality paper is inside (lots less fine; as a fountain pen user, paper quality matters more to me than the peacock on the cover) or even whether the paper is lined, dotted, or blank. The average reader won’t notice or care about the lack, but for me it really stood out.

IMO, the best part really were the dogs. The dogs were awesome. Spud was great, and while King I think was a temporary dog he was fun to have in the book, also. Plus, little Nugget was cute (except for when he grabbed the embroidery… I shuddered to think of a dog grabbing any cross-stitch of mine). The side characters were also fun, though the Paper Posse seemed to have a lot of members who didn’t get much screen time, so I only really know one of them as a separate person rather than part of the Posse.

Still, all told this was a fun read, if not a particularly deep one.

Goodreads Summary:

As the new co-owner of Tundish Montana’s stationery shop WANTED, Delta Douglas knows how to organize a killer crafting event. Creativity and cardstock are all she needs to move one step closer to her ultimate dream: developing her own line of crafting products. But on the night of the workshop, at the swanky hotel venue, glitter isn’t the only thing found sprawled on the floor. A hotel guest is discovered dead in the bar, and amid the confusion, Delta’s best friend is suspected of the crime.

Enlisting the help of her Paper Posse and Spud, her canine sidekick, Delta dives into the investigation. But with many high-powered suspects on the line, Delta soon realizes her sleuthing may come with deadly consequences. 

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