I’m choosy about my cozy mysteries. I like interesting settings and plausible characters with just enough faults and foibles to make them realistic. When I came across the Booktown Mystery series by Lorna Barrett, I found the perfect sleuth and setting.
Our heroine, Tricia Miles, moved to Stoneham, New Hampshire, to follow through on her lifelong wish of opening a bookstore. Reincarnated as “Booktown” this sleepy community boasts numerous specialty bookstores on its main street, including The Cookery, History Repeats Itself and Tricia’s mystery book store Haven’t Got A Clue. The first installment of the Booktown series, Murder Is Binding puts Tricia in the thick of a murder investigation before the end of Chapter One when she discovers a body.
The Cookery is spotted full of smoke. Tricia races in to check for anyone who may be inside. She literally stumbles over the body of Doris Gleason, the store’s owner. Tricia notices that the protective glass case housing Doris’s prize antiquarian cookbook has been broken and the contents are missing. Thus begins Tricia’s quest to find the missing book—and the bookstore owner’s murderer.
Interesting characters abound in the Booktown series. There’s prickly Sheriff Wendy Adams, glad-handing real estate agent Bob Kelly, intrepid local newspaperman Russ Smith, Tricia’s eccentric sister Angelica and even a tabby cat named Miss Marple. These characters and others become enmeshed in solving the mystery of who killed their bookstore-owning friend.