Chapter and Hearse (Booktown Series #4)

( 60 )

Overview

Mystery bookstore owner Tricia Miles has been spending more time solving whodunits than reading them. Now a nearby gas explosion has injured Tricia's sister's boyfriend, Bob Kelly, the head of the Chamber of Commerce, and killed the owner of the town's history bookstore. Tricia's never been a fan of Bob, but when she reads that he's being tight-lipped about the "accident", it's time to take action.

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Chapter and Hearse (Booktown Series #4)

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Overview

Mystery bookstore owner Tricia Miles has been spending more time solving whodunits than reading them. Now a nearby gas explosion has injured Tricia's sister's boyfriend, Bob Kelly, the head of the Chamber of Commerce, and killed the owner of the town's history bookstore. Tricia's never been a fan of Bob, but when she reads that he's being tight-lipped about the "accident", it's time to take action.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425236017
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 8/3/2010
  • Series: Booktown Series , #4
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 138,833
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Read an Excerpt

one

The poster on the Cookery’s display window had advertised the book signing for at least a month. Throngs of people were supposed to be in evidence. A temporary cook station had been assembled, and ramekins filled with diced vegetables, chopped chicken, and spices were lined up like props in a stage play.

Tricia Miles forced a smile and tried not to glance at her watch. “Everything looks perfect,” she said with a cheerfulness in her voice she didn’t quite feel.

The “guest” author, her sister Angelica, stood behind the cook station, head held high, although her eyes were watery and her mouth trembled ever so slightly. Next to her stood a larger-than-life-size photo cutout of . . . herself! The real Angelica was maybe five foot six in her stocking feet—the cutout was six feet tall, dressed in dark slacks and a white blouse covered by a buff-colored, full-front apron with her, name emblazoned across the front: ANGELICA MILES, and beneath that: author of EASY-DOES-IT COOKING.

Tricia tried to concentrate on the living Angelica, but her gaze kept wandering to the cutout. It wasn’t a good likeness, but somehow Angelica had missed that when she’d purchased the thing as an aid for promotion. Her rather demented expression was one of perpetual surprise—either that, or one of a victim of bad plastic surgery. With her fingers splayed, the cutout reminded Tricia of a bird spreading its bony wings. Yes, that was it—Angelica looked like she’d been goosed. Either that, or the photographer had coached her into an uncanny imitation of a constipated blue heron.

The real Angelica spoke, her voice sounding wobbly. “Nobody’s going to come. Not one person.”

“I’m here,” said a smiling Ginny Wilson, Tricia’s twenty- something assistant at her mystery bookstore, Haven’t Got a Clue.

“And I,” said elderly Mr. Everett, Tricia’s other part- time employee.

“Don’t forget me,” Frannie May Armstrong said in her Texas twang. Angelica owned the Cookery, Stoneham’s cookbook store, and Frannie managed it for her. Angelica also owned Booked for Lunch, a retro café across the street. Writing cookbooks was just another entry on her colorful résumé.

Unfortunately, the village of Stoneham, known locally as “Booktown,” was more a tourist destination not far from the New Hampshire/Massachusetts state line. Not many of the locals supported the booksellers, who’d been recruited to save what had been a dying village. And shops filled with used, rare, and antiquarian books had done it, too, as evidenced by new prosperity and a much-needed influx of tax revenue.

“Wasn’t a busload of gourmands supposed to arrive for the signing?” Mr. Everett whispered to Frannie.

“I got a call about an hour ago,” she whispered in reply. “They canceled, but asked for a rain check. They may come up sometime in the fall.”

Tricia refrained from commenting. Thanks to the Internet, Angelica had cultivated a relationship with the “Gamboling Gourmets,” who traveled New England throughout the summer, tasting the local cuisines. Tonight’s signing was to be their first outing of the year, and Angelica’s launch party. She’d spent days preparing a table full of desserts—all from her newly published book, Easy-Does-It Cooking, which had been officially available all of two days.

Angelica’s cutout notwithstanding, Tricia had expected at least a few more warm bodies to attend the signing. Mr. Everett’s bride of eight months had come down with a cold, which explained her absence, but surely the employees at Angelica’s café—Jake Masters, the cook, and Darcy Gebhard, the waitress—might have made an effort to be there. And someone else was conspicuous by his absence.

“Anybody know where Bob is?” Frannie asked.

Bob Kelly, owner of Kelly Real Estate and the president of the local Chamber of Commerce, had been Angelica’s significant other for the past eighteen months—ever since she’d come to live in Stoneham.

“I’m sure he’ll have a perfectly reasonable explanation for being late,” Tricia lied. She and Bob weren’t exactly best friends, but she tried to overlook his many shortcomings for her sister’s sake.

“I saw his car parked down the street, near History Repeats Itself,” Ginny volunteered. “It’s been there awhile.”

Angelica pouted. “He said he’d be here.”

“There’s still time,” Tricia reassured her.

Angelica nodded, resigned, and tucked a lock of her short, blonde hair behind her left ear. “Business hasn’t been good lately, and he’s been preoccupied. It probably just slipped his mind.”

“I’m sure you’re right,” Tricia said, and hoped her nose hadn’t just grown an inch. For weeks, Angelica had done nothing but talk about the event.

Frannie straightened the stack of unsigned books on the side table, and everyone tried not to make eye contact with Angelica as they waited in awkward silence for someone—anyone— else to arrive. Finally, Ginny suggested Angelica go ahead with her cooking demonstration.

“What’s the point?” Angelica asked, defeat coloring her voice.

“Well, it’s almost seven thirty, and none of us has had dinner. I can’t be the only one eager to try your Hacienda Tacos.”

“Good old Tex-Mex—the best food on Earth,” Frannie piped up, then sighed. “Next to a luau, that is.” It was Frannie’s dream to retire to the fiftieth state.

Angelica gave a careless shrug and turned on the electric skillet.

Across the street, the newly installed gas lamps glowed. The Board of Selectmen had approved the installation of the old-fashioned streetlights in an effort to capitalize on the town’s history and its new lease on life. Tourists ate up that kind of stuff, and the Board of Selectmen was eager to do all it could to encourage their visits. Unfortunately, when the bookstores closed, the visitors disappeared, leaving no one to appreciate them.

Within minutes, Angelica had prepared the filling, spooned it into corn tortillas, and passed them out to her small—and hungry—audience. The desserts were then sampled, and everyone sipped complimentary coffee, not making a dent in the contents of the five-gallon urn borrowed from Angelica’s café.

As Angelica served Mr. Everett another portion of coconut cake, Tricia gave Ginny a nudge. “Buy a book,” she whispered.

Ginny’s eyes nearly popped. “They’re thirty-four dollars,” she hissed. “I can’t afford it.”

“Use your charge card, and I’ll credit your account tomorrow morning. I want Ange to make at least a couple of sales tonight.”

Ginny shrugged. “If you insist.” She set down her paper cup, grabbed a copy of the coffee-table-sized book filled with glossy photos, and marched up to the cash desk where Angelica stood wringing her hands. “I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m proud to be the first to get my signed copy of Easy-Does-It Cooking.”

Mr. Everett’s nervous gaze shifted to Tricia. She mouthed the words Buy one—I’ll pay you back.

“Uh, uh—let me be the second,” Mr. Everett said.

Luckily, Angelica hadn’t noticed Tricia’s prompting. She pressed a clenched hand to her lips, fighting back tears. “You guys are just the best. Frannie, grab the camera, will you?” she said. Next, she played director, carefully positioning Ginny with her back to the camera, posed to her satisfaction. She shook Ginny’s hand. She raised a finger to make a point. She looked surprised—then serious, and, ultimately, very silly. At last, Angelica reached for her pen, wrote a few words on the flyleaf of Ginny’s copy, and signed her name with such a flourish that it was completely illegible. Frannie kept snapping pictures as Angelica handed the book to Ginny.

Ginny frowned. “Live free or diet?” Was Angelica mocking the state motto?

“Yes, don’t you think that’s clever?” Angelica said. “I’m going to sign that in all the books.”

Though Ginny forced a smile, her voice was flat. “Go for it.”

As Mr. Everett stepped up to have his book signed, Tricia moved to look out the large display window that faced Main Street. As Ginny had said, Bob’s car was parked near History Repeats Itself. Tricia’s anger smoldered. How inconsiderate of Bob to ignore Angelica’s very first signing. He had to know how much it meant to her.

Tricia glanced back at her sister and Mr. Everett, still posing for Frannie. In a fit of pique, she decided it was time for action. She’d go find Bob and, if necessary, drag him back to the Cookery by this thinning hair. Besides, Angelica’s photographic self was beginning to creep her out.

Tricia took a Zen moment to calm herself before she spoke. “I think I’ll run out and see if I can find Bob,” she told Angelica. “If his car is parked down the road, he can’t be very far away.”

“I suppose,” Angelica said. “But please hurry back to help us pack up some of these desserts.” She shook her head, taking in the amount of leftover food. “I can’t serve all this at the café. Would you like to take some home, Ginny?”

“Would I? Hand me the plastic wrap, will you?”

“Be right back,” Tricia called and headed out the door.

The village was practically deserted, and Bob’s car was the only vehicle parked on the west side of Main Street. Tricia crossed the street and started down the sidewalk. Upon consideration, she decided she wouldn’t berate Bob, at least not in front of Jim Roth, owner of History Repeats Itself. It wouldn’t do to go ballistic with him as an audience. Instead, her plan was to poke her head inside the door and cheerfully ask if Bob hadn’t forgotten another engagement—and probably do it through gritted teeth.

The glowing gas lamps really did lend a quaint, old- fashioned charm to the already picturesque storefronts. Although an expensive indulgence, they added to the village’s ambience—especially outside of Haven’t Got a Clue. It went right along with the atmosphere she’d created, emulating 221B Baker Street in London.

Tricia was within two doors of History Repeats Itself when she paused to look inside Booked for Lunch. Angelica had done a wonderful job decorating the café. Heck, she’d done a terrific job managing two businesses and starting a writing career. Not that Tricia had ever mentioned to Angelica how proud she was of Angelica’s accomplishments. As it was, her swelled head could barely fit through a standard doorway.

As Tricia took a step forward, she heard a phoomph. The Earth shook as a shower of glass exploded onto the street, and a rush of hot air enveloped her, the shock of it knocking her to the ground.

Then everything went black.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 60 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(30)

4 Star

(19)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 60 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 10, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Another delightful Booktown mystery

    I really enjoyed this mystery, the fourth in a delightful cozy series in which each book seems better than the last. I loved the setting, a New Hampshire town centered on bookstores. In this one, the History Repeats Itself bookshop is hit by a fiery gas explosion, which kills the proprietor and injures a local real estate mogul, and presents our heroine, Tricia, owner of the Haven't Got a Clue mystery bookstore, with yet another case to solve.

    The author does a great job of portraying the characters and their complex interrelationships. She includes just the right amount of romance, not letting it overwhelm the clever, fascinating mystery plot, which goes in quite unexpected directions. There's also plenty of humor. I enjoyed the antics of Tricia's cat, Miss Marple, and there's a hilariously funny scene in which Tricia tries to bake blueberry muffins.

    I loved the conclusion, after the murder is solved, in which Tricia gets some lovely surprises on her birthday, which she had thought nobody would remember. And there's more at the very end: recipes, including one for blueberry muffins (not Tricia's disastrous recipe, but that of her more culinarily talented sister, Angelica) and one for cinnamon coffee cake. A tasty addendum to a delectable mystery.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2011

    Great read!

    I really enjoyed this book. Had no idea who the killer was until the end. I definitely recommend this book and author to anyone who loves a good mystery.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    If you love books, food and cats, you will love this!

    Even if I wasn't already a fan of Lorna Barrett's Booktown Mystery series, I would have picked this book up just based on the cover design. I think it's one of the prettiest covers I've seen in a while and it contains everything I love: a cat, books, coffee, and a bright, cozy spot by a window to sit and enjoy all of them. Can't you just picture yourself there?

    In Chapter and Hearse, the fourth book in the series, we return to Stoneham, New Hampshire, a small town where not much remains a secret. We find Tricia Miles, the owner of the Haven't Got a Clue mystery book store, at the Cookery, Stoneham's cookbook store owned by Tricia sister Angelica, who views herself as the next celebrity chef and is hosting a launch party for her newly released first book, Easy-Does-It Cooking. The event appears to be jinxed - not only is it lacking in guests, but a nearby gas explosion injures Angelica's boyfriend Bob Kelly, the head of the Stoneham Chamber of Commerce, and kills the owner of the town's history bookstore.

    Tricia suspects foul play when she finds Bob being tight-lipped about the incident, and she gets drawn into investigating the murder. As the list of suspects grows to include the victim's mother and Angelica's employees at her restaurant Booked for Lunch, Tricia still seems no closer to identifying the murderer. Then a series of strange occurrences on Angelica's book tour have Tricia increasingly worried about her sister's safety and raise the stakes in finding the murderer before he or she can strike again. Filled with surprising plot twists and turns and well-developed secondary characters, including Tricia's lovely cat Miss Marple, the story builds to a surprising ending. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found it very hard to put down.

    As a bonus, the book includes Angelica's recipes for Hacienda Tacos, Coconut Cake, Blueberry Muffins, Cinnamon Coffee Cake and Lemon Bars.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2013

    Tip

    Name: Gratuity Tucci <br> Nickname: Tip <br> Age: 12 <br> Gender: &female <br> Appearance: A girl with chocolate colored skin and very dark brown(almost black) hair, usually in two buns by the sides of her head. She also has warm brown eyes. <br> Book: The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex. <br> Friends: An outcast alien mechanic named J-Lo. <p> Name: Too hard to for humans to pronounce. <br> "Smekland" Name: J-Lo <br> Age: ??? <br> Gender: This may be confusing, but his species has seven genders, boy, girl, boygirl, girlboy, boyboy, boyboygirl, and boyboyboyboy. J-Lo is a boy. <br> Appearance: A short cylindric thing with six tiny green legs and two arms that are part of his legs. He has green, slimy-looking skin and big eyes. In human disguise, he wears a ghost costume. <br> Book: See Tip. <br> Friends: A missing girl named Gratuity.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2013

    Tommy

    Full Name: Tommy Learner.<br>Age: Erm...I'm not sure. I don't remember celebrating a birthday. Somewhere around thirteen. (Note: This character is based on a later version of Tommy Learner from The Dead Gentleman.)<br>Affiliation/Occupation: Explorers' Society.<br>Character Type: Hero.<br>Appearance: Look up "The Dead Gentleman" on Sh<3>op. I'm the sexy kid on the front.<br>Book: "The Dead Gentleman" by Matthew Cody.<br>Powers: None.<br>Vehicles: The Nautilus, my submarine.<br>Equipment: Tesla Stick, mayfly, netgun, paragoggles, my flamethrowing lantern, a Cycloidotrope, and my chronometer.<br>Companions: I would say Merlin, but Jez practically killed him in the end of the book. T~T<br>Dislikes: The Dead Gentleman, the High Father, Grave Walkers, and Harper.<br>Likes: Exploring, stealing, the Ying Obelisk, and whatnot.<br>Clothing: Explorer garb. Read the book for details.<br>Status: Single. O.o I'd never date Jez.<br><br>(Note: You must at least post full name, affiliation, occupation, character type, and book. The rest is optional.)

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 21, 2012

    In Barrett's mystery novel, Trisha's sister, Angelica, is now a

    In Barrett's mystery novel, Trisha's sister, Angelica, is now a published author and sadly disappointed in the small turnout to her initial book signing when her boyfriend, Bob Kelly is injured when the bookstore across the street blows up. While not one of Bob's biggest fans, Tricia takes action when he becomes tightlipped about the circumstances surrounding his presence at the accident. As details emerge, Tricia gets up close and personal in a murder investigation that becomes as intense as any story on her store's shelves. Numerous twists and turns make this installment to the A Booktown Mystery spine-tingling.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 11, 2011

    Chapter and Hearse

    What seems to be a natural gas explosion, killing history bookstore owner Jim Roth, turns into something more evil. When Tricia's sister's friend Bob Kelly is on the hook as a favorite suspect, Tricia decides to help the local police as Stoneham has another killer on the loose. The twists in the story, from Jim's mom to other bookstore owners, kept things flowing along. Tricia's sister, Angelica, always good for some verbal sparring, was absent a good deal of the story on her cookbook publicity tour. I look forward to the next Booktown mystery and perhaps the arrival of a new store in the shell across the street from Tricia's shop.

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  • Posted August 7, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A Must Read Series

    A nearby explosion finds one man dead and Angelica's boyfriend hurt. Tricia wonders why Bob is being evasive in helping her and the police find the killer. I had my theories and I like that the author set up several red herrings as to the identity of the killer. This was a rippling good story and if you haven't read this series yet, what are you waiting for.

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  • Posted August 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Books, Bombs, and Bad Cooking

    Bookstore owner Tricia Miles wasn't sure what to expect when she agreed to host her ego-inflated sister's debut cookbook launch party, but Tricia certainly didn't expect it to bomb. Literally and figuratively. After having her own workers purchase copies of Angelica's cookbook to have her sign, Tricia angrily sought out an explanation for Angelica's boyfriend's absence only to find herself in the middle of a gas explosion that leaves Bob Kelly injured and the owner of the blown-out history bookstore dead.

    Since Angelica is committed to a booksigning tour she begs Tricia to discover answers despite her antipathy towards her sister's beau. Bob doesn't help matters by being completely unwilling to provide answers to Tricia's questions even when his home is broken into and evidence seems to indicate that he was the true target. Adding to Tricia's concerns is how tourist-reliant town of Stoneham, New Hampshire has been hit hard by the downturn in the economy, and her friends are at risk at losing their homes and businesses. The final topper to Tricia's worries is how her ex-boyfriend Russ seems to be displaying stalker tendencies in his desire to win her back while the police captain who won her heart continues to be loyal to his ill ex-wife.

    In the fourth in the Booktown Mystery series Barrett now has a fully developed cast of characters who inhabit this book-centered town. The impact of the economy realistically affects the characters who each must cope with the threat of the loss of their livelihoods. Tricia's relationship with her sister is a complicated and conflicted one, as Tricia both resents having to assume all of Angelica's responsibilities at her restaurant and cookbook store and yet also deeply misses her sister's company. Tricia's relationships with her ex Russ and not-quite-a-boyfriend Grant Baker are similarly torn and unresolved with no easy solution in sight. However, the concept of a town completely centered around the theme of bookselling is overwhelming appealing and the characters are all engaging and realistic. Some are irritating, many are hilarious, but all are fascinating. This is a true booklover's delight. - Cindy Chow

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  • Posted July 12, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF THIS EXCELLENT COZY SERIES!

    Lorna Barrett (a.k.a. Lorraine or L.L. Bartlett) continues to enthrall cozy mystery aficionados with her fourth Booktown Mystery, Chapter & Hearse. In the newest installment of the series featuring kind-hearted mystery bookseller, Tricia Miles, our heroine finds herself receiving unwanted attention from some of the locals, suggesting her presence in Stoneham might be some sort of catalyst for crime. She certainly does nothing to dispel that notion when she heads toward Jim Roth's bookshop, History Repeats Itself, to find out why her sister's boyfriend, Bob Kelly, hasn't shown up for Angelica's book signing, at the very moment History Repeats Itself is blown to smithereens. Bob Kelly is injured in the blast, which also results in Jim Roth's demise. When the gas explosion is revealed to be no accident, Tricia has her suspicions about who might be responsible for Jim's death - with Bob being uncooperative and secretive, and Jim Roth's mother acting like anything but a grieving mother.

    Not wanting to give anything away, I'll just mention that there are plenty of plot twists and turns to keep the reader guessing about possible suspects and motives, and this installment of the series also gives us much more insight into the family dynamic of the Miles sisters. One of my very favorite things about the Booktown series is the social commentary that is intricately woven into the story. This particular storyline deals with both stalking and the stigma of having a criminal record and what that might mean to a person who is given a second chance. Well done, Ms. Bartlett.

    While I naturally read this series for the excellent whodunit, I would be remiss if I didn't at least mention the wonderful recipes that are included at the end. I strongly recommend Mrs. Roth's lemon bars as the perfect way to cap off a summer's evening. Yum!

    The ending of Chapter & Hearse promises much in store for Tricia, as well as a teaser for the author's newest cozy series, the Victoria Square Mysteries, written under her own name, Lorraine Bartlett. So much to look forward to!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Will keep the reader burning the midnight oil!

    If there ever was a book written about a murder magnet, Tricia Miles could easily have been the protagonist. Every time a corpse showed up in Stoneham, New Hampshire she had her finger in the pie so to speak, but lately things had been toning down and all was well at her bookstore, "Haven't Got a Clue." Her employees were loyal, she was getting along much better with her sister, Angelica, and the most exciting thing that could happen was a tourist bus showing up in the quiet book town. Angelica was the kind of sister who had an ego that wouldn't quit and that life-sized cutout of her at "The Cookery" was simply aggravating, BUT Tricia was determined to get along with her.

    Angelica's boyfriend, Bob Kelly, was a drip, but that wasn't her problem. Even though Trish just might have been a tad jealous about Angelica's upcoming book tour for her new cookbook, all was good. Trish could have hung out a shingle on the side of her store because all of a sudden she unintentionally became a "personal counselor to half of Stoneham." The chit chat and gossip would soon travel around town faster than a speeding bullet when a sudden explosion rocked the quiet street, right across from "Haven't Got a Clue." Jim Roth's store, "History Repeats Itself," was blown to smithereens when he lit up. The quiet streets of Stoneham began to stir again and history was repeating itself. A murder history, that is.

    Bob Kelly was in that building. Granted, Trish thought Jim was a "spineless mama's boy" and her opinion of Bob wasn't much better, but they didn't deserve this. Things seem to move quickly around Ms. Miles and the hubbub began in earnest. Someone was out to get Angelica, Russ began to stalk Trish, Ginny's home owning days were going down the tubes, Trish's ex, Christopher, sent her a gift...what next? Everyone was starting to think she was the "village jinx." They just might have something there. Even mild mannered Muriel Dexter said, "Well you do seem to be falling over corpses every few months." Could the next one be hers? Perhaps Angelica's? Something really weird was brewing in Stoneham and it wasn't espresso.

    This "explosive" Booktown series is now hitting its stride when an explosion rocks the quiet of Stoneham, New Hampshire. Readers who have been following this series right along will take delight in becoming reacquainted with their favorites and making the acquaintance of a few new ones. The character development is beginning to gel nicely and the story line is becoming increasingly interesting. The three coulda dunit characters will tickle your fancy and each one has a good enough motive to keep you guessing.

    Quill says: This lighthearted cozy has a bit of romance, plenty of intrigue, just the right amount of fandango and one more explosive murder to keep the reader burning the midnight oil!
    Reviewed by: Deb Fowler

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  • Posted June 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    CHAPTER & HEARSE BY LORNA BARRETT PRE ORDER TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    A BOOKTOWN MYSTERY
    RELEASE DATE AUGUST 3, 2010

    This is our 4th adventure with Tricia, Angelica, Ginny, Mr. Everett and of course Miss Marple. Angelica's cookbook has finally been released, but the launch party at her store is very poorly attended, not even her boyfriend Bob Kelly, Chamber of Commerce president, has shown up to support Angelica, before she takes off on her book tour. Ginny tells Tricia that she had seen Bob's car, down the street in front of another bookstore, History Repeats Itself, owned by Jim Roth. Tricia decides they have waited for him long enough and goes off to drag him to the party. She gets right outside Jim's store when the front windows of the store explode, knocking her to the ground and everything goes black.

    OK, that's enough of a teaser to make you put this book on your must have list.

    I have really have enjoyed every book in this series, but this one was the very best, and it even has a preview of the next one and I can't wait to get that one in my hot little hands. I think this one was the most suspenseful with characters we love as prime suspects. Some of the characters had weird behaviors, others went off in directions I never expected, and the backgrounds of some were quite a surprise. But being her usual self, Tricia puts herself right in the middle of the investigation, jumping to the wrong conclusions, and ends up putting herself and others in danger. Sometimes Tricia really doesn't "Haven't Got A Clue".



    LOVED IT, LOVED IT, LOVED IT!!!


    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Posted June 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Another Chapter in a great series

    Welcome back to Stoneham (Booktown), New Hampshire, where every book lover's dreams come true. A quiet slice of life with every type of bookstore imaginable. If you can't find a book you like in this cozy little town, then there is definitely something wrong with you. Tricia and her two employees, Mr. Everett & Ginny, and of course her cat Miss Marple, continue to happily sell books at her store, Haven't Got A Clue. Her sister Angelica owns the Cookery bookstore, a diner, and is now a published author about to embark on a book signing tour.

    Unfortunately, Angelica's signing in Stoneham is a bust, with no one showing up, not even her boyfriend Bob. Tricia decides to hunt him down and give him a little piece of her mind, but before she can find him, an explosion occurs at History Repeats Itself, destroying the building and most definitely killing Jim Roth, the owner. Tricia is shocked when she sees Bob emerge from the ruins. He is being very tight-lipped about what he was doing there and what, if anything, he saw. Now the question is, was Jim the only target? Did the killer want to take Bob out too, or was it just a case of wrong place, wrong time? Tricia must once again put on her investigative hat, whittle down the list of suspects, and find out who killed Jim Roth. Is it the local store worker who was having a secret romance with Jim? His mother who was tired of bailing him out of one jam after another, the cook at Angelica's diner with a criminal history or the waitress with the bad attitude? Someone who was looking to collect on some gambling debts? Or even Bob himself so that he could collect the insurance money to pay the rent Jim hasn't paid in months?

    And while all this murder and mayhem is going on Angelica is wondering why Bob is being so distant, Ginny is struggling to hold onto her little cottage in the woods, Mr. Everett is having a tough time with the fact his lovely new wife has more money than him, and Tricia is dealing with the unwanted attention of her news reporter ex-boyfriend while wishing things with the Sherriff could get back on track. Chapter & Hearse is a light and enjoyable mystery, so if you're looking for something fun and heartwarming you've found the right book. Author Lorna Barrett keeps the pace moving, and there is never a dull moment in the book. The ending is wonderfully sweet, and we are reminded of the proverbial expression about one chapter ending and another beginning. Let me know when the next bus is heading out to Booktown because I will most definitely be on it!

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  • Posted June 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    fun cozy

    Bob Kelly might not be the nicest person in New England, but he was instrumental in saving his hometown of Stoneham, New Hampshire from financial bankruptcy. He somehow got several booksellers to open up stores in the town; this proved so successful the village is famous as Booktown.

    One of the new proprietors Tricia Mills, owner of Haven't Got a Clue, is hosting a book signing for her sister who just published a cookbook. Angelica owns the Cookery and the Booked for Lunch. When Angelica's boyfriend Bobfails to show up, Tricia looks for him and notices he is talking with Jim Roth of History Repeats Itself. When she returns to her store, an explosion occurs, which destroys History Repeats Itself, kills Jim and injures Bob. Once Angelica knows her boyfriend is okay, she goes on her book tour. Meanwhile the police conclude Jim was murdered and have three suspects with strong motives including the victim's mother. Other people wanted him dead too. Tricia places herself in danger searching for a killer who will do anything to remain anonymous.

    Chapter and Hearse is filled with action, but is character driven by the visitors and small town eccentrics who turn the cozy wonderfully and amusingly convoluted. The protagonist is strong willed and independent who believes in doing the right thing (a too frequently used trait of the amateur sleuth) even when the police and others tell her to butt out of their inquiry. Lorna Barnett has written a delightful amateur sleuth filled with red herrings and false leads that keep reader interest from the explosion till the explosive climax.

    Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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