With By the Time You Read This I’ll Be Gone (Murder, She Wrote #1), Stephanie Kuehn introduces a whole new generation of readers to the mysterious happenings in and around Cabot Cove, Maine.
Beatrice Fletcher is the bi-racial great-niece of the legendary Jessica Fletcher and all that sleuthing clearly runs in the family. Bea and her best friend Jackson have always been there for each other in times of need, so when Jackson fails to show up at a late-night rendezvous they had planned, Bea knows something is wrong.
In the woods that night, Bea stumbles upon some kids from Broadmoor Academy, the elite boarding school just outside of town. They are playing some type of legacy game that is a much rumored but never proven rite of passage for Broadmoor students and Bea wonders if Jackson got caught up in the hazing ritual.
Before too long, the three students – Leisl, Leif, and Carlos – are helping Bea conduct an amateur investigation that threatens to uncover some of Cabot Cove’s deepest secrets. Like her great-aunt Jessica, Bea dives headfirst into the path of danger, determined to protect those closest to her. She even makes a few stops at great-aunt Jessica’s home to ask the legendary crime fiction author for some advice. Bea also anonymously writes columns for an online true crime blog, so readers know the digging she is doing into a murder in Cabot Cove’s past will certainly weave into this current missing persons case.
Stephanie Kuehn knows that her target audience wants a fast and exciting reading experience. Clocking in at less than 300 pages, By the Time You Read This I’ll Be Gone is a quick and easy read. There is no denying that it is a fun visit to Cabot Cove. And as one would expect from Stephanie Kuehn, the young adult-vibe of the whole endeavor is spot on. Works like Nancy Drew and Murder, She Wrote can feel a bit dated since they are clearly products of their time, but Kuehn revitalizes the mythos for a new generation of would-be-sleuths, weaving in modern concerns and technology when needed without going to extremes. All the while, Stephanie Kuehn never loses the traditional feel that makes Jessica Fletcher and Cabot Cove such beloved icons. This is a book that can be enjoyed by crime fiction fans of all ages.
By the Time You Read This I’ll Be Gone (Murder, She Wrote #1) is the start of a new series, so Kuehn leaves plenty of threads dangling around the sides of the core mystery (which is solved), guaranteeing that readers will return for the next volume.
Disclaimer: A print galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the author. No promotion was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.