Book Clubbed Booktown Mystery, Book #8 By Lorna Barrett ISBN# 9780425252574 Author’s Website: http://lornabarrett.com/
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
New York Times bestselling author Lorna Barrett is back in town—Booktown, that is—with another page-turning mystery. This time bookstore owner Tricia Miles and her sister, Angelica, put their own problems on the shelf to catch a killer who turns a bookcase into a murder weapon…
Cranky Chamber of Commerce receptionist Betsy Dittmeyer is done reading people the riot act. After she’s crushed by a fallen bookcase, the next item to be read is her last will and testament—which is packed with surprises. It soon comes to light that Betsy was hiding volumes of dark secrets behind that perpetual frown of hers—and one of them just might have been a motive for murder.
While Tricia tries to help Angelica—the newly elected Chamber of Commerce president and Betsy’s boss—solve the mystery, she discovers a hidden chapter in her own family history that rocks her to her very core. And with her ex-husband and the chief of police vying for her affections, it’s doubly hard to focus on who might have buried Betsy in a tomb of tomes.
But as Tricia and Angelica try to read between the lines, they need to watch their step…and make sure the killer doesn’t catch them between the stacks. (Goodreads)
Well…It started off quickly…. I was totally inundated with names of people and places. Guess that is what happens when you start with book 8 of a series! And within the first 10 pages we had the murder! Wow, that is a record for the cozy mysteries I have read.
I truly believe I would have benefited (at least in the very beginning) from having read the series from the beginning. But once I wrote down who everyone was and their relationships, it all became much clearer. A cast of characters might be a good intro to each book in a series, to catch the reader up? I felt the author did a good job of bringing up relevant past history so that for the readers who begin the series here are not too lost.
I certainly got a chuckle out of all the “unique” names for business’ in Booktown (of course with a town named “Booktown”, what does one expect) such as:
Haven’t Got A Clue – mystery bookstore;
Booked for Lunch – a retro café;
By Hook or By Book;
The Outer Limits Sci-Fi and Comics shop;
Bookshelf Diner – local eatery;
Have a Heart – another bookstore in town;
Sheer Comfort Inn – local bed-and-breakfast; and
Dog-Eared Page – a local pub.
We learn that the major sleuth of the story, Tricia, is the owner of Haven’t Got a Clue bookstore (I see a connection here between name of store and Tricia’s propensity for sleuthing :)). Tricia’s major assistant in sleuthing is her sister, Angelica (also the boss of the deceased and newly elected chamber of commerce president). Tricia and Angelica have a complicated relationship which we see develop a stronger bond as the story progresses. Most of that is a result of Angelica finally revealing a family secret to Tricia (I won’t spoil it for you…you will have to read the story to get this juicy tidbit!). I loved their dynamics…. it made me think about how I might interact with my sister, should we be the amateur sleuth’s of the story.
Another plus for this story is the complexity of the dearly departed (okay, so she wasn’t so “dearly” a character…but I digress). Betsy had many secrets and I enjoyed discovering each and every one of them throughout the book. Her secrets involved many other residents in Booktown, so I really got a sense of the town.
What I found a bit weak were the love interests of Tricia’s. An ex-hubby who lives across from her bookstore and the police chief who clearly is a bit resentful of the breakup. And in the end… both ex’s have dinner together with each other on Valentine’s day (what gives with that ????) as she has declined both of their offers. Anyways, since it is a cozy mystery and not a love story, I will let this pass. I just had hoped that Tricia would have shown more emotion with respect to these two men.
The story is such that I want to know more about the characters, so reading the series from the beginning is now on my TBR (to be read) list.
If you would like an afternoon (or three) of delightful, quirky, cute reading….be sure to pick this book up. An easy and enjoyable read.