My rating: 4 of 5 stars
4 stars to Lorna Barrett‘s Murder is Binding debut in the Booktown Mystery series. I had my eyes on this one for awhile as a quaint little village full of bookstores in New Hampshire sounds a bit like heaven. And it didn’t disappoint!
Trish Miles uses her divorce settlement to move from NYC to a Stoneham, a lovely little village on the New Hampshire and Massachusetts border, where she opens a mystery-focused book shop nestled amongst several other book shops. Soon after, the older sister she’s never really been close with decides to show up and build a new relationship after she and her husband also separate.
As Trish gets to know her fellow booksellers and villagers, she’s making both friends and enemies. Some of the folks resent the new store owners for bringing too much traffic into Stoneham but some are eager to help re-build the town.
After The Cookery’s book shop owner, Doris, is found stabbed to death and her valuable first edition cooking pamphlet is stolen, Trish is the prime suspect. She works to clear her name against the town sheriff who seems to have it out for Trish. She eventually does prove her innocence but nearly dies herself.
Trish also goes on a few dates to see what the men are like in the NH town learning quickly she’s got to drop her New York roots in order to surive in New England! Add in a few side stories about a nursing home and a nudist colony, Trish has had more trouble in this small town than she did when she called NYC home!
1. Stoneham is an intriguing town with a fine cast of characters. Introducing Trish’s sister into the mix gives her some roots which makes it feel right for them to stay. Having the older characters, like Grace and William, gives some depth to the history and the relationships.
2. Writing style is easy. It took me a few hours to get through the book and left me wanting to hear more!
1. The inital mystery was too easy to solve. It was clear who was mixed up in the shenanigans from the beginning and as the clues started to come forth, readers could easily solve the puzzle half-way through the book. It was more about how would Trish solve rather than what actually happened.
A good debut novel. Has many charming highlights. I suspect it will continue to get better.
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