Murder is Binding was a solid debut in Lorna Barrett's Booktown mystery series, but, Bookmarked for Death is stronger as the characters gain depth, and the two sisters, Tricia and Angelica, start to reach out more to each other.
Tricia Miles is the owner of Haven't Got a Clue, a mystery bookstore in Stoneham, New Hampshire, a booktown with a number of bookstores. And, after her previous experience with the murder of another bookstore owner, townspeople think she's the local jinx. Maybe the appearance at the bookstore of bestselling mystery writer Zoë Carter didn't go smoothly, with her rude niece in attendance, but no one thought the author would end up dead in the restroom. And, of course the sheriff will keep the bookstore closed as a crime scene as long as she can. She and Tricia already have an unpleasant history. But, for a while it seems as if everyone is against Tricia, even her boyfriend, editor of the local newspaper. Between the media and the sheriff, Tricia realizes she better investigate, if she wants to reopen her bookstore.
Barrett avoids the Cabot Cove syndrome in this enjoyable mystery, with a victim from the outside. She has all of the elements essential for a strong entry in a cozy series, family, a little romance, recipes and food, a cat named Miss Marple, books, and a little humor. In this case, the humor comes about through a problem that is actually serious, protected Canadian geese taking over the town, pooping on the sidewalks. Tricia is doing a little better overcoming the long-held rivalry with her sister, Angelica. Angelica still has work to do on her domineering habits. And, Tricia has some insecurity to overcome, after her divorce. This is a cozy series with developing characters. And, for those of us who enjoy cozies, Barrett inserts titles and authors of other mysteries. What's not to like in Bookmarked for Death?
Lorna Barrett's website is www.lornabarrett.com
Bookmarked for Death by Lorna Barrett. Berkley Prime Crime, ©2009. ISBN 9780425226414 (paperback), 304p.