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Cozy Mystery Challenge #4 Review


Chapter and Hearse by Lorna Barrett is the fourth title of the Booktown Mystery series. It's the first one I've read. I doubt I'll read any of the others. The protagonist, Tricia Miles, is the owner of a mystery bookstore in a small (fictional?) town in New Hampshire. That alone ought to be enough for me to enjoy the series. It's not. 

I don't care too much for Tricia. She doesn't have much confidence in herself, though she was much better about her worth by the end of the book. After all, her husband dumped her because he went off to Colorado to find himself. A reporter guy likes her, almost stalkingly. The police guy who likes her put their relationship on hold because he decided to care for his ex-wife who is being treated for cancer. To add to that, her older sister is a type A author, bookseller, and cook. So, Tricia does have a lot to get herself out from under. I'm just not curious to see how her life progresses in future books.

The plot? The bookstore across the street explodes. The owner is dead. The coppers suspect Tricia's sister's boyfriend, who is the landlord of the building. Tricia, the now professional snoop of the town, tries to prove otherwise. Her suspects include the dead man's elderly mom, who seems to be changing her lifestyle too quickly in Tricia's eyes, and the dead man's secret girlfriend, who works for Tricia's sister. Pshew, that was a mouthful. 

One of the interesting things about this New Hampshire town is that it is home to several independent bookstores and tour buses full of readers come to town to shop at the bookstores. I find that unbelievable even though I like the concept a lot. Maybe there is a place in the world like that. 

Another thing that I liked about this mystery were the recipes at the back of the book. Tricia doesn't cook, but her sister does. There's a pretty tasty-sounding recipe for lemon bars that I want to try. 

So, there you go. Three more books to read by September 30 for the Cozy Mystery Challenge. I think I may just make it. 

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