The second book in the Booktown Mystery series, published February 3, 2009.
Genre: cozy mystery (in a small town filled with speciality bookstores!)
Once a struggling town, Stoneham, New Hampshire, is now enjoying a renaissance, thanks to booksellers like Tricia Miles, proprietor of Haven’t Got a Clue. It’s a great place to find a good mystery to read – or to solve…
To celebrate her bookstore’s anniversary, Tricia Miles hosts a book signing for a bestselling author Zoë Carter. But the event takes a terrible turn when the author is found dead in the washroom. Before long, both police and reporters are demanding the real story. So far, the author’s obnoxious assistant/niece is the only suspect. With a sheriff who provides more obstacles than answers, Tricia will have to take matters into her own hands – and read between the lines to solve this mystery.
Tricia Miles is hosting a booksigning by the only local celebrity to celebrate her bookstore’s anniversary. And that really is a coop, as the author, Zoë Carter, has been very shy of publicity ever since she became famous with her first book. But with her latest, and probably last, book, she has actually been going on a book tour. Her niece Kimberly Peters has organized it all, but she is a very rude person, insulting some of the customers and really angry with her aunt. Her hometown of Stoneham is the last stop on the booktour, and after that, they will move away to warmer climes.
But Zoë will never leave Stoneham again, as she is discovered murdered in the shops tiny bathroom. The local sheriff, Wendy Adams, would love to treat Tricia as a suspect, as she has found the body (again), but there are too many witnesses to testify on Tricia’s behalf, to pull that off. Wendy really hates Tricia, as she believes she stole her boyfriend. Russ has only dated Wendy a few times, there was never anything solid between them, only in Wendy’s mind. And so she really pesters Tricia when she can, and now she keeps the bookshop closed long after that is no longer necessary to gather evidence. She even forbids her to go to her apartment above the shop, other than to fetch her cat and some clothes. Leaving Tricia no other option than to sleep over at her neighbour and sister, Angelica. Angelica owns the cookbook-bookshop next door. They have never been friends growing up, but lately they have found some kind of understanding. And even though Angelica dislikes cats, she welcomes them both into her apartment. Another benefit of the deal is, Angelica likes to cook, and she is fairly good at it. Tricia dislikes cooking, and hardly makes any effort to create something. Whenever her boyfriend, Russ, is invited over, it is usually a pizza dinner.
Angelica is an awful boss to work for, commanding her employees about, commenting on every tiny detail, and watching whatever they do, so it is not amazing that she just lost another shopgirl. But with Tricia’s bookshop closed for the time being, Tricia’s staff, Ginny and mr. Everett, needs another job as they really need the money. And so they show up in the Cookery, to work for Angelica. But if she keeps treating them like that, they will not last the day, and Tricia quickly interferes. But she cannot stay in the shop all the time, she needs to investigate what happens. And for that, she needs to find out more about Zoë and her niece. Is Kimberly horrible enough to kill her own aunt in such a dreadful manner? She certainly doesn’t sound like a grieving relative.
And so Tricia sets out to find the truth, and discovers some very interesting clues. Is it true that Zoë really did not write the books she became a famous author with, herself? Then who did, and why hasn’t that person come forward to claim at least some of the money? Even though Zoë lived a very frugal life, she earned millions with those bestselling mysteries. Walking through town to ask questions, avoiding the Canadian geese who are a real nuisance in town lately, and especially their droppings, Tricia slowly unravels the past.
I enjoyed this book very much. They mystery was very solid, and like our heroine, Tricia, I did suspect the wrong person of being the killer.
I like cats on covers, and this one is called Miss Marple, very appropriate for a bookstore specialized in mysteries, don’t you think? One of the little details I really enjoyed, were the many references to cozy mysteries, and it was extra fun when I had read that book myself. I just wish there was a bookstore like this in my home town.
I really like Tricia, she is determined to find out the truth. Who killed Zoë Carter, and why? Angelica is also an intriguing character. When push comes to shove, she really protects her little sister, without any regard for herself. But true to character, she does complain afterwards.
Lorna Barrett has written a good cozy mystery, with great main and secondary characters, a quirky town which I want to visit again and again. I don’t know what to think about the romance part yet, Tricia and Russ don’t really seem to fit together at this moment.
© 2012 Reviews by Aurian