Title: Last Pen Standing
Author: Vivian Conroy
Series: A Stationary Shop Mystery #1
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Release Date: September 24, 2019
Pages: 290
Book Source: Paperback

“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.

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

Kim’s Review

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Last Pen Standing by Vivian Conroy is a fantastic start to the Stationary Shop Mysteries! Even if I wasn’t a stationary (and all the do-dads that go along with it) lover, I would still have been drawn in by the detailed descriptions of Montana’s gorgeous countryside, the wildlife, the hotel, and, of course, Wanted, the stationary store, as well as the rest of the town.

Conroy’s descriptions, even down to the smallest of erasers, makes you feel like you are actually there seeing the scene, feeling the texture of the paper, or hearing the music played at the hotel’s annual gala. I haven’t had the pleasure of reading any of her other mystery series, but if they are even half way as descriptive, I’m sure they are great reads.

Not only are Conroy’s descriptions enjoyable, but so are her characters. You have Delta, moving back from the big city, who is a strong protagonist that people easily open up to. Hazel, Delta’s college roommate and business partner, seems to have her head on her shoulders when it comes to business, but not when it comes to her brother. Mrs. C., her small dog, Nugget, and the rest of the Paper Posse, who we meet mainly through texting, are amusing and you know will continue to have great insider knowledge of the town in upcoming books. And Mrs. C. seems like she will be a great life mentor to Delta.

Then you have the romantic aspect of the book. At first I thought it might be one person, but then it went into a different one, which I think is a good choice… although, perhaps the first person I thought was going to become a beau will make a move in future books.

And then the star of most cozies (the dogs, cats, or other animals) happens to be a retired K-9 officer who is around to give emotional support to the characters, sniff out clues, and help to round up the bad guys. Spud is a fantastic addition to the Stationary Shop Mysteries, and I hope you end up enjoying the series as much as I do!

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