Genre: cozy mystery
Cover: lovely, makes me want a new dog for myself.
Tricia Miles – owner of Haven’t Got A Clue, the best mystery bookstore in Stoneham, New Hampshire – once again plays amateur sleuth as she is unexpectedly reunited with a man from a chapter of her life she closed long ago…
The town of Stoneham is a haven for bookstores, but it is sadly lacking in bed-and-breakfasts. Fortunately Pippa and Jon Comfort’s Sheer Comfort Inn is about to open, and the couple has offered some locals a free night as a trial run.
But it won’t be so easy to sleep after Tricia makes two startling discoveries: Pippa’s murdered body in the backyard, and the fact that Pippa’s husband, Jon, is actually Harry Tyler, a man Tricia loved – and believed dead – for nearly twenty years.
Though Harry is the prime suspect, Tricia doesn’t believe him capable of murder, even though he’s led a life of lies. Especially when she discovers that Pippa had a few secrets of her own – some that may have been worth killing for.
Angelica has coerced her sister Trisha to come with her to the new Sheer Comfort Inn in town, as she has won a free trial night at the last Chamber of Commerce Meeting. Of course her on-again, off-again boyfriend and head of the Chamber Bob wanted to come with her, but Angelica has no intention of starting with him again. Bob even tried to bribe Trisha to switch places with him, but she has refused. So now Trisha finds herself lugging her sisters enormous amount of luggage with her own humble bag up the stairs to the Inn.
They did not even have dinner yet, and she is starving. The Inn only serves breakfast so they will have to return to town for dinner right away. The Inn’s landlady is disappointed that Bob is not with Angelica, as he could have garnered more guests for her if he was satisfied with things. Her husband will have to help them with the bags to the third floor as there is not service elevator available. And Pippa Comfort leaves to find her husband. After a few minutes impatiently waiting, the sisters decide to head up the stairs by themselves.
Upstairs in their room, the Master Suite, Angelica has another surprise for Trisha. She has brought her cute little doggy with her in her handbag, and as she is going to shower and change, Trisha will have to take him for a walk. And yes, she knows that pets are not allowed in the Inn, so Trisha will have to be careful not to be seen. Using the backstairs, Trisha heads out with Sarge, who really needs a walk. Unfortunately, their plans are thwarted when Sarge and Trisha find Pippa’s dead body near the back fence.
After reporting the grisly find, which is unfortunately not the first time this happened, Trisha waits for her boyfriend and the local chief of police to question her. But inside the Inn waits another nasty surprise. Twenty years ago, a 22 year young Trisha fell in love with a mystery writer. His one and only novel was a bestseller, but he went missing after he took his boat out while there was a hurricane coming. Harry was reported as dead, and Tricia and his family were devastated. And now Harry is standing before her, claiming to be Jon Comfort.
Chief Grant Baker is not happy with this revelation, as the DA will think that Tricia had motive to kill Pippa, like she wants her old boyfriend back. So they should keep their distance in public until this case is solved…
At the bookstore, Tricia is still looking for a new employee to replace Ginny. Lucky for her, Mr Everett is working almost fulltime again, and he is a real treasure. But Mr Everett is sad, as his wife Grace is spending so much time managing the charity organization they started with his lottery winnings. When Tricia tries to talk to Grace about it, the new receptionist acts like a true dragon and keeps Tricia out. And even when there is a medical emergency, she refuses to listen to Tricia and give her access to Grace. Tricia knows the new assistant she finally found, and who is a real fit, would be better qualified to work for Grace. But can she give her up so easily?
To clear her own name from any suspicions, including that of the Town Jinx, Tricia tries to solve the murder, as the police seem to be taking their own sweet time. Grant doesn’t want her to interfere, she might get killed herself, but Tricia just can’t help herself. So when all the suspects clear out, the only one she did not suspect should be the killer …
Harry doesn’t behave like a grieving widower at all, coming on to Tricia, and having an affair with a new 22 year young woman. When Tricia finds out about all that, it kills all the remaining affecting she might still have felt for him.
It was an entertaining story, but I did not really enjoy it as much as the rest. I found Trisha a bit whiny at times, about her bad choice in men. If Grant is not Mister Right after all, just kick him to the curb and start again. And for the exes, tell them the truth and send them on their way too! Please don’t let Angelica bully you into doing so many things for her like you are her servant, stand up for yourself! You are a successful businesswoman as well. And Angelica’s cookbookshoplady, tell her to leave you alone about the murder and famous ex-boyfriend when you don’t want to talk about it, she is rude, like that other lady in the bookclub.
Also, I really like to try to puzzle out the mystery before the sleuth does, and there were no clues at all for me to find, I was completely surprised by the killer and especially the why.
Another thing that bugged me, Tricia constantly has to feed her cat, but she hardly ever eats herself, or go grocery shopping when in the first chapter her fridge is already empty. Talking about ordering pizza, and never doing it. I am used to cozy’s with a lot of food in it, and there are even recipes in the back. Angelica is a great cook and a cook book author. Apparently Tricia has lunch in her sisters’ restaurant every day, ordering the same thing every day. How unhealthy is that?
So, probably it was just my mood to notice those things, but somehow, I kept tripping up over it. But I just missed some humor. The only things I truly did love where the parts with the pets, Tricia’s Miss Marple, and Angelica’s Sarge. Still, it is a well written mystery, with characters I usually love a little more. Will I read the next book? Yes, of course. One lesser book does not make me give up on a series. But I do hope Tricia will show some more spine in the next one.
© 2013 Reviews by Aurian