15 August 2020

Murder at the Estate Sale by Lily Charles Book Spotlight!


Murder at the Estate Sale

by Lily Charles

Black Opal Books

Publication Date: August 15, 2020; e-book ISBN 9781644372456, Fiction/bibliomystery, price $3.99 (e-book)

ISBN 9781644372449 paperback price t/k, 260 pages,


“…a delightful cozy mystery thanks to Molly and Emma’s reckless, brave aplomb.” —Foreword Reviews 

"...a charming pastiche of the age-old body-in-the-cellar mystery genre—one that’s full of hidden passageways, occult rituals, and, of course, amateur sleuthing....this book manages to rise above much of the competition, owing to its consistently jovial and easygoing narrative style, as well as its informative discussions of Renaissance sorcery. A fun, lightweight read for mystery fans, which will also keep occultists and bibliophiles happy.” —Kirkus Reviews


Molly O’Donnell is an antiquarian bookseller with specialties in several categories, including titles about the occult. She’s also the owner of two large, loyal, and lovable Russian wolfhounds and is possessed of a curiosity that leads to occasional recklessness. 

Emma Clarke is a former academic, new to bookselling, who’s trying to gather her life together after a long but finally unsuccessful relationship. She likes her quiet life. She likes having no pets or obligations.

When Emma and Molly meet while waiting to enter an estate sale to search for the old, the rare, and the sell-able, what they find is a murder. Hearing a cry, Emma ignores a “Do Not Enter” sign and discovers book thief Buck Hubbell bashed in the head in a basement library. Molly soon follows and finds a slip of paper with a grave warning, written in ancient script. The paper has fallen from one of the books in this private part of the collection excluded from the sale. The page is creepy and hints at black arts, which neither lady condones, despite their intellectual interest in the subject. 

Newly introduced, tentatively attracted to each other, and terrified, Molly and Emma form an uneasy alliance to reunite the ephemera with its original text—and to solve a murder. 

Bibliophiles and mystery fans will relish this clever novel as well as champion this new pair of amateur sleuths who have the best intentions, the worst timing, big hearts, and significant smarts.


Lily Charles is the pen name of Charlene Ball and Libby Ware. MURDER AT THE ESTATE SALE is the first in their Molly and Emma Booksellers Series. Under the name Toadlily Books, they sell antiquarian and collectible books. Charlene and Libby married in 2016 and live about a mile from each other in Atlanta. Find them at lilycharles.com 

Charlene Ball is the author of DARK LADY: A NOVEL OF EMILIA BASSANO LANYER (She Writes Press, 2017), winner of the Sarton Award from Story Circle. She has published short stories and articles in academic and literary journals. Until 2009, she worked as a college administrator and instructor. 

Libby Ware is a member of Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America and president of Georgia Antiquarian Booksellers Association. She is a fellow of The Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences. Her debut novel, LUM, won the American Library Association’s Stonewall Honor Book in Literature, a gold medal by the Independent Publishers Association, and was a finalist for Lambda Literary’s Debut Novel Award.



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