Saturday, May 9, 2009

Murder Is Binding ~ Lorna Barrett

...the first in the Booktown Mystery series, was an April 2008 release by Berkley Prime Crime.

Publisher: Berkley Trade Pub
Pub. Date: April 2008

Courtesy of Berkley Publishing Group

Stoneham, New Hampshire, was a dying town until community leaders invited booksellers to open shop. Now, its streets are lined with bookstores--and paved with murder…When she moved to Stoneham, city-slicker Tricia Miles was met with friendly faces. And when she opened her mystery bookstore, she met with friendly competition. But when she finds Doris Gleason dead in her own cookbook store, killed by a carving knife, the atmosphere seems more cutthroat than cordial. Someone wanted to get their hands on the rare cookbook that Doris had recently purchased--and the locals think that someone is Tricia. To clear her name, Tricia will have to take a page out of one of her own mysteries--and hunt down someone who isn’t killing by the book…

Murder Is Binding is a definite must for cozy mystery fans.

Lorna Barrett is the pseudonym of author
Lorraine Bartlett aka L.L. Bartlett who pens psychological suspense & the Jeff Resnick mystery series.

Let me say, I'd love to visit the charming town of Stoneham, New Hampshire. I mean after all, I'd be living in Kate Borden's incredible Cobbs's Landing so a day trip by bus or a stay @ The Brookside Inn for a four-day weekend would be sheer paradise.

Stoneham is known as "Booktown" & consists of many used bookstores ~ think
Hay-On-Wye in Wales. Oh, my deliciousness. Talk about a bibliophile's b spot.

The characters are appealing. An author can write the most gripping mystery, but w/o amiable characters it's going to fall as flat as an undercooked souffle.

Tricia Miles is a welcome addition to the cozy scene, but I must say Tricia's older sister, Angelica, tends to steal some of the spotlight.

Angelica is an amusing character w/ a quirky sense of humor that endears her to you.

Angelica's presence enhances Tricia's character by giving her more depth & allows Ms. Barrett to break free from the emergence of "cookie cutter" mystery scribes.

What I love about the sisters most is they are authentic. Tricia & Angelica have an intricate relationship that will take some time to resolve ~ no "hugs & kisses" all better in time for the ending phony bologna. Which is so refreshing.

Tricia's regular customer, Mr. Everett is an absolute stellar standout.

Tricia's employee Ginny is entertaining. I am champing at the bit to learn more about both of them.

Kudos to Ms. Barrett for layering on some clever twists.

I loved Murder Is Binding but the writing was a bit flawed. I'm a stickler for rhythmic writing.

There were moments of disjointed grammar that aggravated me & I did stop to reread.

I blame this on the proofreader not on Ms. Barrett.

I'm a bit anal about awkward writing & strong writing is unquestionably essential for all of my reading indulgences. It not only makes or breaks the book, it sets the bar on buying anymore of the author's work.

Murder Is Binding is a terrific debut despite the grammatical flaws.

Read an excerpt
here .

Check out
Lorna Barrett's web site.

Large print edition

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