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Murder is Binding
Murder is Binding
by Lorna Barrett

Small town cozy mystery with mystery bookseller sleuth.
Lorna Barrett's Murder is Binding introduces the new Booktown Mystery series. A cozy mystery with a mystery bookseller amateur sleuth and a book at the center of the puzzle, this mystery is a fun light read. For mystery enthusiasts, the tribute to the mystery genre itself with mentions of mystery classics from Cornell Woolrich and Ngaio Marsh to Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie make Murder is Binding a must read. Every good cooking mystery must include recipes, and true to form, Lorna Barrett delights readers with a recipe addendum in the back.

Stoneham, known as the safest town in New Hampshire, was a dying town until the downtown revitalization. Now, the center of town houses genre specialty bookstores and draws in tourists and book collectors. Tricia Miles and her cat Miss Marple run the mystery bookstore, Haven't Got a Clue. When she discovers Doris Gleason, owner of the Cookery, dead in the neighboring bookstore, Tricia sees a new side of Stoneham from the political race threatening to divide long term natives on the town's outskirts and the bookstore newcomers to other simmering jealousies. When another resident has a suspicious car accident, Tricia thinks she might have a lead into the motive behind the murder but who can she trust? Sheriff Adams seems determined to pin the murders on Tricia, the town jinx. Tricia's sister Angelica arrives into town unexpectedly, stirring up the past along with her appetizing dishes.

Lorna Barrett's Murder Is Binding is a must read for mystery buffs. Full of first edition classics and tributes to many of the great mystery classics, readers will not only feel the nostalgia of a small town mystery but of their personal reading histories. Lorna Barrett's research into the bookseller trade flows in the smallest details from the details of book sources and different types of booksellers to the antiquarian and rare book standards for packaging books.

Tricia Miles is a wonderful sleuth. With each new trail, the reader catches a glimpse of a woman who cares for others and justice beyond just clearing her name even to the point of endangering her own safety. Tricia's relationship with her sister Angelica adds depth to the characterization as Tricia battles a history of sibling rivalry at the same time as she gains a mystery sidekick who amuses and endears the reader to the sisters. To the reader's delight, the mystery details and resolution provide several twists until the very end. Lorna Barrett gives readers a delicious mix of small town and family jealousies and undercurrents beneath the surface complemented by heart-warming scenes, all brought together by Doris Gleason's murder. After reading Lorna Barrett's Murder is Binding, the first in the Booktown Mystery series, readers might just find themselves hoping that this small town will forever shed the distinction of safest town to make way for more Booktown mysteries!

Publisher: Berkley (April 2008)

Reviewed by Merrimon, Merrimon Book Reviews
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