A Fatal Chapter
A Booktown Mystery #9
By Lorna Barrett
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
While out walking Sarge, her sister’s bichon frise, Tricia is led by the agitated dog to a man lying in a gazebo. She’s startled when she recognizes Pete Renquist, the president of the Stoneham Historical Society, who appears to be suffering from cardiac arrest. When Pete later dies in the hospital, the discovery of a suspicious bruise and a puncture mark on his arm suggests he may have been murdered.
Haunted by Pete’s enigmatic last words to her, Tricia begins to consider who had a motive to kill her friend. Did Pete take his flirting too far, only to have a jealous husband teach him a lesson? Or did he discover something in the town’s historical records that his killer wanted kept secret? Tricia is determined to get to the bottom of things before someone else becomes history…(Goodreads.com)
A Fatal Chapter is the solid ninth entry in the likable Booktown Mystery series. The characters continue to evolve and grow, and the small town setting provides the perfect backdrop for mystery and drama.
Tricia is biding her time, while her book shop is closed, volunteering at the Chamber of Commerce. Her sister Angelica, who has her fingers in so many different pies around town, is the newly elected President of the Chamber and is appreciative of Tricia’s help. It’s a win-win situation. Tricia has a reputation around town as a death magnet, so she is not really surprised, when out walking Angelica’s dog, to find the local historical society president Peter mortally wounded in the park’s gazebo. His last words and his subsequent death haunt Tricia, so when her ex-boyfriend Chief of Police Grant Baker tells her his death does indeed involve foul play, she decides to investigate. Peter was a flirt and passionate about the historical society. Could his flirting have aroused the ire of a rival suitor? Could he have been killed because of information he found doing research for an upcoming cemetery tour at the historical society? On a lighter note, someone is stealing all of the flowers out of the hanging baskets along Main Street, and Tricia and Angelica set out to find the prankster.
I have always enjoyed the Booktown Mystery series and have found them to be smartly written and slightly darker than the average cozy. No fear, though, there is no graphic language or violence. Tricia, however fiercely independent, some would say stubborn, she has carried the weight of her divorce on her shoulders and is at times a bit whiney. A couple of books back in Not the Killing Type I thought she had turned a corner and her attitude was improving. However, she seems to have regressed in this outing. Although, who could blame her after the occurrences in the last book, Book Clubbed? I admit that I did not like Angelica much when she was first introduced in the series, but she, too, has grown on me. No longer a totally self-absorbed, flighty creature, we see a much different side of her in A Fatal Chapter. Christopher, Tricia’s ex-husband plays a big role in this adventure, and I greatly enjoyed his presence.
A Fatal Chapter’s main mystery involving Peter’s death is interesting, yet a little too predictable. The villain is pretty obvious, especially if you have followed the series since its beginning. It plods along at times, but the climax is exciting, dangerous, and heartbreaking. The ending alone warrants my four star rating. The smaller mystery involving stolen flowers is simple and silly, providing some levity to an otherwise pretty serious tale. The culprit here is also quite obvious, but it’s fun all the same.
Even though I am sure that this book could be read as a standalone mystery, I do not advise it. You will want to know everything about Tricia and Angelica’s journey from the beginning. I missed reading the release prior to this one, and the plot of it was ruined for me on page two of A Fatal Chapter. I will still go back and read the other book, but I confess to being disappointed.
A Fatal Chapter is a welcome addition to the long running Booktown series, and I recommend it to fans of the series, Barrett’s writing, and those who enjoy a bookstore setting.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review as part of their ongoing blog tour*