The first book in the Booktown Mystery series, published in April 2008.
The streets of Stoneham, New Hampsire are lined with bookstores...and paved with murder.
When she moved to Stoneham, city slicker Tricia Miles met nothing but friendly faces. And when she opened her mystery bookstore, she met friendly competition. But when she finds Doris Gleason dead in her own cookbook store, killed by a carving knife, the atmosphere seems more cutthroat than cordial. Someone wanted to get their hands on the rare cookbook that Doris had recently purchased-and the locals think that someone is Tricia. To clear her name, Tricia will have to take a page out of one of her own mysteries-and hunt down someone who isn't killing by the book.
After her divoce, Tricia finally pursued her life long dream: she opened a mystery bookshop in the little town of Stoneham. Bob Kelly, a real estate agent, has been working hard to revive the little village, and has invited lots of different bookshop owners to relocate to Stoneham. The whole Main Street is now littered with bookshops, and tourism is booming, bringing much needed dollars to the town.
Her bookshop, Haven’t Got a Clue, is doing really well, and Tricia is happy with her new life. Then her older sister Angelica calls that she is coming to visit. Divorcing her fourth husband, she is thinking of relocating to Stoneham herself. As Tricia doesn’t really get along with Angelica, who has been demeaning her for her whole life, she is not happy with that. But she cannot really get out of it.
Angelica invites Tricia to dinner at the Inn where she will be staying. But first Tricia has to bring her next door neighbour, Doris, a really unpleasant woman, her reading glasses which she has left in her shop earlier that day, trying to rally her support against Bob Kelly who is wanting to significantly raise her lease on her cooking book shop. She is grumbling that Bob is already late for their appointment to discuss the lease.
After a nice dinner at the Inn, Angelica comes back home with Tricia to see the shop and the little apartment Tricia has above it, on the third floor. But before they can even enter the shop, Angelica smells smoke, which seems to be coming from the bookshop next door, the cookbook shop. The door isn’t locked, and Tricia finds Doris dead on the floor behind the counter. The precious ancient cookbook that was locked in a display case is missing.
The female sheriff is disgruntled about it all. For 60 years there has been no murder in Stoneham, it has the reputation of being the safest town in America. And now, in a re-election year no less, she has a murder on her hands. And her main, and only, suspect seems to be Tricia herself. So Tricia and Angelica have no other choice but to find the real murderer to clear her name. Lucky, Tricia has read all of those detective and murder mysteries she sells, and Angelica has watched a lot of crime shows on tv, so they both have some idea about where to start looking for clues.
I really liked this book. Tricia and Angelica are getting to know each other a little better, and actually starting to like each other. Like the fact that Angelica really likes to cook and is very good at it. But still, Angelica gets on Tricia’s nerves a lot.
The mystery part of the book is also very well done, I had no real idea about it myself, and in the end, both sisters were right about their suspects. Ginny and Mr Everett make nice secondary characters as her helpers in the bookshop. I am looking forward to getting to know them both better in the rest of the books in this series. And the cat, named Miss Marple, is a nice touch too. I must admit, I really would like to live there, so many bookshops to browse!