In Sentenced to Death by Lorna Barrett, Tricia and Angelica Miles gather at the center of the town square with most of Stoneham for the Founders’ Day celebration. Tricia notices a plane pulling a sign touting the town as it circles and comes in lower and lower. Then, as Tricia’s best friend, Deborah Black, steps up to talk, the plane crashes, destroying the gazebo and killing Deborah and the pilot, Monty Capshaw. Monty is a friend of Chamber of Commerce president Bob Kelly, Angelica’s boyfriend. Though the NTSB thinks the plane crashes due to no fuel, Tricia finds out that he has cancer that has just come back more strongly, and he has struggled financially. His significant life insurance policy will take care of his widow, Elaine.
Tricia has her suspicions about the crash and starts asking questions. Strangely, David Black, Deborah’s husband, has her immediately cremated without telling the rest of her family and schedules the service for the next morning. When everyone shows up, they discover David has no program planned and sends everyone home after a few hors d’ouvres. He also refuses to take his 2-year-old son, Davey, leaving him with Deborah’s mother, Elizabeth Crane. Even more disturbing is that David immediately sells the store that has been Deborah’s pride and joy, The Happy Domestic, to Nigella Reseda Associates, who have been buying up a lot of Stoneham. Within a few days, their representative, Antonio Barbero, who is dating Ginny, the best store assistant Tricia has ever had, has closed on the purchase and installed Ginny as the manager of The Happy Domestic. But Ginny faces all sorts of problems, leading Tricia to question things further, putting herself in danger.
I have really enjoyed listening to the Booktown books, and Sentenced to Death is a strong addition to the series. I liked the way that the book began strong with a dramatic death yet moved slowly with the mystery until things sped up dramatically. I appreciate the setting of Stoneham, where Deborah was a regular but minor character until this book. We feel connected to the town and to its citizens, with all the daily happenings, both positive and negative.
Cassandra Campbell voices the audiobook of Sentenced to Death and does so with her usual flavor and energy. She uses clear voices for each character and makes the audio version of this book a real pleasure to listen to.
I appreciated getting to listen to Sentenced to Death, which is a clever and delightful book. It made me, as a listener, become highly invested in the characters and in the mystery plot. I’m eager to learn what will happen next in the lives of Tricia and her friends. I give this book five stars!
Disclaimer: I received this book for free for review purposes, but that in no way influenced the content of my review.
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