In Bookmarked for Death by Lorna Barrett, Tricia Miles and her mystery bookstore, Haven’t Got a Clue, hosts a book signing of their local author celebrity, Zoe Carter, which has threads of tension running through it. Tricia, who has lived in Stoneham for only about a year, discovers that a lot of residents hold a grudge against Zoe for not supporting the community efforts to revitalize as Booktown. Further, residents born in the village, who tend to resent those who have moved in later, consider her to be an outsider despite moving to Stoneham as a child. The rest of the undercurrents are too unclear for Tricia to interpret. Another problem that arises during the signing is the presence of Zoe’s highly unpleasant niece, who serves as her assistant. But the evening goes off comparatively okay until all the customers have gone home, leaving just Tricia and her sister, Angelica, who owns the Cookery, a cookbook shop next door to Haven’t Got a Clue. They look around for Zoe to have her sign the extra copies of her books but can’t find her until they open the door to the bathroom. There Zoe sits on the toilet, strangled with Tricia’s bungee cord.
Tricia had a bad experience with Sheriff Adams in the previous book, and the sheriff does not warm to her any more in this book. Sheriff Adams shuts down Tricia’s store for being a crime scene and delays allowing Tricia back in there even after it has been released by the coroner’s office and the crime scene investigators. In order to get her store back, Tricia decides to look into the case, knowing that the sheriff is unlikely to be able to solve the case on her own. Going all over town, Tricia talks to a number of people from Zoe’s past. In doing so, she puts her own life at risk.
This book continues the excellent patten set in the first book in this series, Murder Is Binding. In fact, I think I liked this even better than the previous, though I did not expect that to be possible. The path Tricia takes to learn about Zoe’s past goes in really creative directions, with the motive for the murder being interesting and the plot fascinating!
I really liked the depth of the characters and the portrayals of each. Many authors draw only the key characters fully, but this series gives depth to many of the supporting roles. Angelica in particular feels like a real person, with both good and bad streaks in her character.
I was very impressed with the performance of Cassandra Campbell in the audio edition of this book. She gives each character a realistic voice and brings the whole world of Booktown to life, using real depth.
Bookmarked for Death delighted me and kept me drawn to the book without wanting to put it down. I loved the path the plot took and found it clever. This book displays what strong writing skills Barrett has. I give this book five stars!
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