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Tricia Miles, owner of Havent a Clue mystery bookstore, is still settling into Stoneham, New Hampshire, the kind of town where everybody knows your nameand where everyones quick to lend a hand, even when murder is afoot . . . The kinder folks of Stoneham might call Pammy Fredericks a free spirit. The less kind, a freeloading thief. Tricia has put upand put up withher Tricia Miles, owner of Haven’t a Clue mystery bookstore, is still settling into Stoneham, New Hampshire, the kind of town where everybody knows your name—and where everyone’s quick to lend a hand, even when murder is afoot . . . The kinder folks of Stoneham might call Pammy Fredericks a free spirit. The less kind, a freeloading thief. Tricia has put up—and put up with—her uninvited college roommate for weeks. In return, Pammy, has stolen $100, among other things. But the day she’s kicked out, Pammy’s found dead in a dumpster, leaving loads of questions unanswered. Like what was she foraging for? Did her killer want it too? To piece the case together, Tricia will have to dive in head-first.…


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Tricia Miles, owner of Havent a Clue mystery bookstore, is still settling into Stoneham, New Hampshire, the kind of town where everybody knows your nameand where everyones quick to lend a hand, even when murder is afoot . . . The kinder folks of Stoneham might call Pammy Fredericks a free spirit. The less kind, a freeloading thief. Tricia has put upand put up withher Tricia Miles, owner of Haven’t a Clue mystery bookstore, is still settling into Stoneham, New Hampshire, the kind of town where everybody knows your name—and where everyone’s quick to lend a hand, even when murder is afoot . . . The kinder folks of Stoneham might call Pammy Fredericks a free spirit. The less kind, a freeloading thief. Tricia has put up—and put up with—her uninvited college roommate for weeks. In return, Pammy, has stolen $100, among other things. But the day she’s kicked out, Pammy’s found dead in a dumpster, leaving loads of questions unanswered. Like what was she foraging for? Did her killer want it too? To piece the case together, Tricia will have to dive in head-first.…

30 review for Bookplate Special

  1. 4 out of 5

    John

    I'm going to try to describe the problems I had with the book without revealing any (major) spoilers, so please bear with me if things get a bit awkward in my phrasing. Thanks in advance! In writing workshops we were always told to say something constructive up front, so ... the setting is well done, and I found the plot, though eventually quite convoluted, moved along well in terms of pacing. The characters on the other hand were rather a mess. Mr. Everett and Grace's wedding (not really a I'm going to try to describe the problems I had with the book without revealing any (major) spoilers, so please bear with me if things get a bit awkward in my phrasing. Thanks in advance! In writing workshops we were always told to say something constructive up front, so ... the setting is well done, and I found the plot, though eventually quite convoluted, moved along well in terms of pacing. The characters on the other hand were rather a mess. Mr. Everett and Grace's wedding (not really a spoiler, IMHO) doesn't really add a lot to the plot, but doesn't detract either. They're their usual selves. No issue there. Ginny, Tricia's assistant, does turn into a weepy mess as noted in other reviews. Perhaps that was intended as some sort of "foreshadowing" of later events, but her poormouthing over the cost of the house did get tedious. Angelica actually came across as more likable here - perhaps because she runs two businesses, and has a book under contract, while Tricia moans about how hard she works (when not taking time off at the drop of a hat to play detective). Moreover, Angelica comes across as caring for others, not as self-absorbed as she'd come off previously. Much is made of Stewart Page, a New Hampshire philanthropist with a Chappaquiddick-like episode in his past, after which he's devoted his life to Good Works. His main contribution to the story seems to give Tricia a specific piece of information, though otherwise has little direct bearing on the story. Significant space is invested in Tricia's hounding him for what amounts to a relatively minor contribution to the plot. Either he's being set up for the next installment, or he was intended to have a larger role, and then got lost in the plot shuffle? No, he's not the killer, but that's established early enough on that I don't feel I'm spoiling things - he seems more a red herring, getting discarded partway through. He is noble and likable. Her spats with his bodyguard/assistant are tedious. Eugenia, the diner waitress, and her family are featured in prominent roles this time, as was Nikki the pastry chef in the previous book. Not much to say about them, except that her mother's description of the town's new food bank procedures flummoxed me when she said, "We take non-perishables up to two years past their expiration dates. They don't taste as fresh, but they're edible." Ummmm ..... I don't think so! They become so heavily involved that I'll say no more about them specifically, except that, yes, they do qualify as "cardboard" characters. Sheriff Adams herself does not appear at all. Her (assistant) Captain Baker is sent to investigate the discovery of Pammy's body (the third one Tricia has found in about a year in the same small town!); presumably the sheriff realized Tricia was involved and washed her hands of trying to deal with her. Captain Baker is soon to see why for himself as Tricia interferes again and again until he blows his stack, Tricia becomes defensive ... and he backs down and apologizes! He is a sensitive man, whose hobby is ... baking! He reads a lot (though not mysteries), and is single. He's also proud that he presses his shirts himself. We are given two descriptions of his features - the green eyes with which Tricia is smitten, and the "nice buns" noticed by her sister. A spoiler I cannot resist: Near the end, he is surprised when Tricia spontaneously kisses him rather passionately (in front of others no less) - I was surprised he did not push her away in horror. Tricia ... whom I came to regard already as an unreliable narrator with her "decision" at the end of the first story that Sheriff Adams disliked her (paraphrasing) because the man she secretly wanted was so immediately struck by Tricia's hot-ness that her delusion that she could ever be desirable was shattered causing bitterness. Ho hum. Still, the audio narrator gave Adams a nasty enough edge that I was willing to accept that perhaps she really did go out of her way to be mean. So, what does Tricia do in this book? She consoles weepy Ginny, buying a small fridge and microwave (via Craigslist); now Ginny can eat in the store back room rather than shivering in her car. Tricia herself is independently wealthy, but why say ... order from Best Buy in a few minutes when she can get cheaper used models less efficiently? She hounds Page on two occasions (a half day each where Ginny has to work the store alone). She spends an evening "dumpster diving" with the local Freegans (Pammy had become involved with them during her two weeks in Stoneham), has conversations with Frannie at Angelica's bookstore about how to deal with a new cat (this subplot prompts a ridiculous, Drama Empress outburst from her sister), washes dishes and squeezes spinach dry for her sister (different visits), and ... oh yes ... she has various run-ins with Captain Baker before molesting him. More details would need a spoiler, but the average reader should feel annoyed that the denouement regarding Pammy's death proved quite bizarre - almost impossible to predict as there weren't any clues leading to it - just a scene in Haven't Got a Clue involving Tricia, Angelica, Ginny, three other people ... and a gun. Oh yes ... many folks disliked the goose poop distractions in the previous book. Here we have a mad vandal smashing pumpkins right and left instead. Tricia, looking out her window, identifies the perp (to herself) one night, which gets filed away until later in the story. Not long before the scene described above, she confronts the person, almost literally saying, "Hmmmm ... I have some down time, let me resolve that issue now (before I inevitably get threatened by the killer and rescued.)" She's quite nasty about it, while the vandal has a hissyfit meltdown. I plan on reading the next (final?) book to see whether it's possible for Tricia to become even more self-centered, and whether some of the loose ends here have gotten tied up at all.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bird

    I like the premise of this series, and the first two books were enjoyable. The one, however, bothered me. My main complaint is that most of the characters are unlikable. Tricia annoyed me throughout the book. I'm tired of hearing how she doesn't like sweets because she wants to stay skinny. I don't want to hear her complaints about Ginny arriving five minutes late to work, when Tricia spends most of her work days snooping around rather than helping her employees in the store. And her (basically I like the premise of this series, and the first two books were enjoyable. The one, however, bothered me. My main complaint is that most of the characters are unlikable. Tricia annoyed me throughout the book. I'm tired of hearing how she doesn't like sweets because she wants to stay skinny. I don't want to hear her complaints about Ginny arriving five minutes late to work, when Tricia spends most of her work days snooping around rather than helping her employees in the store. And her (basically non-existent, since it's only ever mentioned briefly) relationship with Russ was ridiculous. She complains that he doesn't have time for her, but she doesn't even read the newspaper he puts out (and it's a weekly - not daily!)...way to not support your significant other. Then there's Detective Baker. I was immediately grateful the Sheriff wasn't in it, because that storyline was getting old, fast. So of course Detective Baker is hunky, and they're attracted to each other. Except, I have no idea what Tricia sees in him. (Or vice versa, since she wasn't a very enjoyable character in this one.) He's frequently condescending to her, ignoring her when she tries to make jokes, or poking fun at some of the things she says/does. It's not in a playful way, either. The author has no talent for writing about relationships. Why is there some disastrous car chase/accident scene in every book? Every time Tricia gets in the car with someone to drive across town, I cringe, waiting for the inevitable bad-guy encounter. Finally, it seems at times that the author is injecting her own beliefs into the story. Every once in a while, Tricia will think/say something that doesn't jibe with the rest of her character, and it feels like the author's just trying to make a point. I didn't hate the book, although you might not be able to tell from this review! I'll probably read the next in the series, but I'm not rushing out to get it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lynne Tull

    BEWARE POSSIBLE SPOILER? This series is going on my "do not read anymore" list. First of all, I am beginning to think Lorna Barrett is a committee. This book covered so many different social issues they are too numerous to list...from dumpster divers who dive for food (Freegans) to babies that are born with both sets of reproductive systems. Secondly, the main characters are not people that I would want to hang out with in real life; therefore, why should I want to spend my 'read' time with them. BEWARE POSSIBLE SPOILER? This series is going on my "do not read anymore" list. First of all, I am beginning to think Lorna Barrett is a committee. This book covered so many different social issues they are too numerous to list...from dumpster divers who dive for food (Freegans) to babies that are born with both sets of reproductive systems. Secondly, the main characters are not people that I would want to hang out with in real life; therefore, why should I want to spend my 'read' time with them. One sister is arrogant and self-centered. The other sister (the main character) is not only arrogant, but she is rude to people she doesn't even know and is condescending to those she likes. I can understand why her first husband left her and her boyfriend for over a year has dumped her. Even harder to believe he changes his mind and now there is to be a love triangle with him, her, and the new man in town. I will continue to read her other series, Jeff Resnick, written under the name of L. L. Bartlett. I'll keep you posted on it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Karen ⊰✿

    I'v read three books in the series because I could get them on audio from the library and they are good "filler" books when you don't want to think too much. But the dialogue is always a bit stilted and very formal. It feels forced rather than natural and I thought by now this would have improved. Not a bad cozy mystery series if you can get your hands on it, but I think there are others that are much better.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Book Concierge

    Audiobook performed by Cassandra Campbell Book number three in the Booktown Mystery series. Tricia Miles, owner of Havent Got a Clue mystery bookshop cant help but investigate when her college roommate, Pammy, is found dead in a garbage bin, a day after Tricia told her to find another temporary residence. Its not just any garbage bin, either its behind Tricias sisters café, which is right next door to the book shop. Angelica had even hired Pammy, after hearing her sob story of how Tricia kicked Audiobook performed by Cassandra Campbell Book number three in the Booktown Mystery series. Tricia Miles, owner of Haven’t Got a Clue mystery bookshop can’t help but investigate when her college roommate, Pammy, is found dead in a garbage bin, a day after Tricia told her to find another “temporary” residence. It’s not just any garbage bin, either … it’s behind Tricia’s sister’s café, which is right next door to the book shop. Angelica had even hired Pammy, after hearing her sob story of how Tricia “kicked her out.” This is a typical cozy mystery, with a cast of colorful characters, and a nosy amateur sleuth who simply cannot help herself when it comes to investigating a crime on her doorstep. There’s a little romantic tension as well, and a few recipes at the end. (Angelica has written a cookbook, and runs a bistro, after all.) It’s not great literature, but it’s entertaining and a quick read. And, I just love all the references to books. The audiobook is performed by Cassandra Campbell, who is quickly becoming one of my favorite audio narrators. She has good pacing, and is an accomplished voice artist, able to handle the large cast of characters.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Penny

    Nothing new here. Too many concepts for a cozy in my opinion, and the characters go from just 'okay' to downright unlikeable. As one reviewer said, I wouldn't want to spend time with these folks in real life, why would I want to spend my reading time with them? Actually I did not finish this one - there are too many better ones on my reading list. (Edit: FYI I listened to the e-audiobook.)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    As much as I enjoy the author's writing and liked the story line I just cannot like or seem to warm to Trisha Miles, the heroine. The possibilities of being a small-town mystery book shop owner who solves mysteries is not a new one and could be delightful but the way the main character goes about it just sets my teeth on edge. With no regard to the fact that she's withholding evidence from a police officer in a murder investigation, Trisha steamrollers on as she sees fit, getting in the way and, As much as I enjoy the author's writing and liked the story line I just cannot like or seem to warm to Trisha Miles, the heroine. The possibilities of being a small-town mystery book shop owner who solves mysteries is not a new one and could be delightful but the way the main character goes about it just sets my teeth on edge. With no regard to the fact that she's withholding evidence from a police officer in a murder investigation, Trisha steamrollers on as she sees fit, getting in the way and, in one scene, actually acting like a spoiled brat and saying to the police Captain, "You're not my mother!" when he, quite justifiably, tells her to butt out for her own safety. When being threatened by a mysterious phone message or being shot at, rather than go to said police she keeps everything to herself and eventually reveals vital evidence when she sees fit. Nevertheless, since this is the 3rd book of the series I've read, and will probably read more, there's something still attractive about the town and Trisha's friends. I keep hoping she will turn out more likable. And I find her aversion to good food off-putting too! The story and mystery itself were well drawn, with a surprising twist and the other characters are likable so I don't think I'll give up yet.

  8. 4 out of 5

    DonnaCarol

    Very good book. I don't know how Barrett does it, but that town, (Booktown) and those characters come alive for me. I caught myself thinking about them while trying to fall to sleep. The sister/sister realationship is very touching and so realistic. I have 3 sisters. I know of what I speak. LOL. The female characters , lead as well as supporting are a perfect mix of intelligent,fiesty,strong,vulnerable,emotional careing & sometimes "snippy". Just like real life.I will continure to follow Very good book. I don't know how Barrett does it, but that town, (Booktown) and those characters come alive for me. I caught myself thinking about them while trying to fall to sleep. The sister/sister realationship is very touching and so realistic. I have 3 sisters. I know of what I speak. LOL. The female characters , lead as well as supporting are a perfect mix of intelligent,fiesty,strong,vulnerable,emotional careing & sometimes "snippy". Just like real life.I will continure to follow these characters in their lives in Booktown.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mayda

    Tricia and her sister have their ups and downs, but they can count on each other in a crisis, which is a very good thing. Tricia kindly asked a visiting former school mate to move on, having over-stayed her visit, and the old friend winds up dead in the dumpster. Well, head-first in the trash container behind Angelicas store. Turns out, the old friend wasnt so nice, yet Tricia wants to find out who did her in. There is much interaction between the characters in this story, which furthers their Tricia and her sister have their ups and downs, but they can count on each other in a crisis, which is a very good thing. Tricia kindly asked a visiting former school mate to move on, having over-stayed her visit, and the old friend winds up dead in the dumpster. Well, head-first in the trash container behind Angelica’s store. Turns out, the old friend wasn’t so nice, yet Tricia wants to find out who did her in. There is much interaction between the characters in this story, which furthers their development and adds to the enjoyment of the tale.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    Tricia is the most dislikable character in all of fiction (ok, not as bad as Professor Umbridge but close). She acts like a petulant child when told no by authority. I don't think any 40 year old woman would act like that. I mean, maybe the author wrote an emotionally stunted character? You know like serial killers who did not develop past mommy and daddy not loving them enough. She hates her sister for no reason apparently and wants us to dislike her but I don't have a reason to. I mean, she is Tricia is the most dislikable character in all of fiction (ok, not as bad as Professor Umbridge but close). She acts like a petulant child when told no by authority. I don't think any 40 year old woman would act like that. I mean, maybe the author wrote an emotionally stunted character? You know like serial killers who did not develop past mommy and daddy not loving them enough. She hates her sister for no reason apparently and wants us to dislike her but I don't have a reason to. I mean, she is annoying but you can't be such a b word if someone asks for help once in a while. You can tell that the author just puts her little remarks that seem out of character for someone everyone says is so "giving". Tricia at one point she molests an officer of the law. She also is such a snob. I've never struggled for food but I know why food banks don't take non perishables, an 8 year old would know. It's funny for a book from 2009 referring to boomboxes and being like "Oh where will I find a small fridge?!" Given that she is filthy rich then she could just get a new one from amazon, but no... she somehow ordered one from Craigslist? I don't think the author knows how Craigslist works. It feels like the author wants to add so many characters to her stories and she never develops them. Like what was the point with the smashed pumpkins, the wedding, the cat penny, the poodle that died, the freegans (they all knew each other their whole lives. Why add that?), Bob breaking up with her, Bob Russel just in general.... like why are all these people there without contributing anything? I got all the series because I'm one of those people who commits to reading but I did return the ones I managed to read within a week. Not that hard since this isn't A Brief History of Time but still... I have a whole set of books left.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Chance Lee

    This is another one where I enjoyed the mystery, but found the main character incredibly unlikeable and awfully judgmental. Sometimes, I got the feeling that the author felt the same way, because characters repeatedly had to correct her or gently explain things to her. It never sunk in though, and by the time she told the police officer who didn't want her, a bookstore owner, meddling in a murder mystery, and she told him "You're not my mother," I realized that I would never like her. It is nice This is another one where I enjoyed the mystery, but found the main character incredibly unlikeable and awfully judgmental. Sometimes, I got the feeling that the author felt the same way, because characters repeatedly had to correct her or gently explain things to her. It never sunk in though, and by the time she told the police officer who didn't want her, a bookstore owner, meddling in a murder mystery, and she told him "You're not my mother," I realized that I would never like her. It is nice that she's a strong, clear personality, though, even though she doesn't particularly click with me. Aside from her, the mystery was interesting, and it made good use of characters who had been mentioned but not utilized in previous books. Not much time was spent in the bookstore, which was a shame. Also, they almost got ran off the road for the third time in three books, and for the second time a major clue had been hidden on the shelves of the main character's book store. New plot devices, please. Finally, it often irked me in the past books how Tricia was always drinking her coffee out of disposable paper cups. Does she own a mug? Someone finally calls her out on it in this one, and decides to use china mugs in the future. I hope so, as for some reason I am really concerned with this fictional waste.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    This is the third book in the Booktown Mystery series. I really enjoyed reading this book and the characters are building as the series goes on. What I particularly liked was that this book had a little more substance than most cozies have. The storyline brings in quite a lot of information about freegans (dumpster divers) and how it isn't just homeless people who eat salvaged food out of garbage cans. I had recently read a long article about this subculture (as it was called) and was pleased to This is the third book in the Booktown Mystery series. I really enjoyed reading this book and the characters are building as the series goes on. What I particularly liked was that this book had a little more substance than most cozies have. The storyline brings in quite a lot of information about freegans (dumpster divers) and how it isn't just homeless people who eat salvaged food out of garbage cans. I had recently read a long article about this subculture (as it was called) and was pleased to see an author that presented it in a very sensitive way and wove it into the story quite well. I would highly recommend this series. Of course, as a booklover, how could you not love a book set in a bookstore in a town of bookstores. I am also looking forward to book four "Chapter and Hearse". There is a preview in the back of Bookplate Special.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Roberta

    In this third book of the Booktown Mystery series but the first one I noticed at the bookstore. In this book Tricia is an owner of a mystery bookstore called Haven't Got A Clue located in the small town of Stoneham, New Hampshire. She does virtually no work at the bookstore and apparently has only one full-time and two part-time employees but sells more books than the Manhattan Barnes & Noble. This small town also suffers from the "Cabot Cove syndrome" having a higher crime rate than Detroit In this third book of the Booktown Mystery series but the first one I noticed at the bookstore. In this book Tricia is an owner of a mystery bookstore called Haven't Got A Clue located in the small town of Stoneham, New Hampshire. She does virtually no work at the bookstore and apparently has only one full-time and two part-time employees but sells more books than the Manhattan Barnes & Noble. This small town also suffers from the "Cabot Cove syndrome" having a higher crime rate than Detroit and Chicago put together. One star for being a book-related mystery and one star for the cat.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nor Finn

    Tricia (the main character) is a snooty, cold, judgmental, and an all-around unlikeable character. It was hard to get past that and read the story. Also, what is up with mentioning the names of their stores by their full names EVERY time? Weird. The plot wasn't enough to make up for the annoying characters either. Don't think I will read another book in this series.

  15. 4 out of 5

    S.

    Not having read the first two books in this series, I feel like I'm missing something. Otherwise why would a mystery book store owner who presumably knows all about crime from reading so many books doesn't realize she's hindering a murder investigation. Quick example, donating the box of books? It makes no sense.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

    This review covers both book #3 and #4 in this series. Lorna Barretts series Booktown Mysteries really appealed to me when I saw the first one-"Murder is Binding", and I did enjoy it as your basic who done it with the usual format of female sleuth with her own business, some involved relatives, some love interests and history, the requisite cat, and some cooking. All is good. On to the next book in the series, where the personality of the main character, Tricia Miles, is developing. One problem This review covers both book #3 and #4 in this series. Lorna Barrett’s series Booktown Mysteries really appealed to me when I saw the first one-"Murder is Binding", and I did enjoy it as your basic ‘who done it’ with the usual format of female sleuth with her own business, some involved relatives, some love interests and history, the requisite cat, and some cooking. All is good. On to the next book in the series, where the personality of the main character, Tricia Miles, is developing. One problem for me here, is the author doesn’t seem to make up her mind on what this personality should be. We get the basic do gooder to the extreme, with some overly highhanded attitude. There is reference to everyone thinking Tricia is a door mat due to her abundance of kindness. Then we get some holier than thou from Tricia as well, but it segues into slightly discriminating bitch with a touch of bad ass. Okay, many people have a variety of personality traits, but then there is also extreme vagueness about what does Tricia actually look like. At this point, I am up to book five and my mental picture of Tricia is one of a blank face, sitting at the booth in the café eating a Cobb salad with a twin set on and her nose in the air. She is colorless. I don’t like Tricia, but could if the author gave her a defined personality and some color to her physical being. I do recall reading that she drives a Lexus in one of the books. Frankly, a beat up Jeep driving girl who swigs down some Southern Comfort and eats Capt. Crunch for breakfast would have won me over far easier. However, her eating habits are not in line with a cozy, in my humble opinion. The series constantly indicates that Tricia is so slim and hates deserts, sweets, and lives on salad. Boring! Me - no like. However, her big sister, Angelica, is downright chubby and loves all food. Of course! Halo for Tricia, and perpetuate the bad sister, Angelica. This series had a great start and an interesting basic style for a cozy, with the NH setting of a Book Town, but it has become downright strange. Getting into both the third and fourth books in the series, which have become blended into one for me - this review is for both books. I was no longer enjoying the story as much as looking for incredibly odd ball and annoying incidents to jump out at me. I was not disappointed, as it became more and more frequent. Such as-half way through the third book, Bookplate Special, we finally get a glimpse of a Tricia never before seen. (Really, after three books)? This comes out when the hinted at new love interest, Grant Baker, who happens to be the investigating officer this book around in place of the aggressive unlikeable previous female authority Sheriff Adams. The only thing is here, once again, the author confuses us with Baker's description, he has green eyes, tall with sandy hair, a Trooper hat, a Mountie hat, a Captain title, a deputy with lots of bars on his uniform, but is a Sherriff. Yep, go figure. Anyway, suddenly we get-“Nobody tells Tricia what to do” in a scene with Baker. Really? Sweet little Tricia? This was so out of place I thought the page dropped in from another book! It was like the author at the spur of the moment decided to give Tricia some kind of oomph. The scene where this took place was Baker asking Tricia to step back for her own safety concerning her interfering in his investigation. Remember, Tricia, you’re not a cop! This is a back and forth throughout both books number 3 and 4, first she gets mad that Baker doesn’t seem to bother with her safety, then she is teed off because he is concerned if she becomes too involved she could get hurt. At one point, Baker implores Tricia to stay out of the investigation and asks her to promise to do so. Tricia’s reply indicates that as she is the owner of a book store where every piece of inventory involves mysteries, how can she promise to do so? This is so lame-all credibility is now gone. Are we to believe that this shop owner, a middle aged female, untrained in any police position, should be qualified to investigate the third murder in this series? This pretense has become ludicrous, laughable, and ill-fitting to the series. Basically, Tricia’s self-righteousness progresses to such a peak she becomes a very unlikeable protagonist for this series. Her perfectness is grating. Her persona seems to ‘own’ the little town of Stoneham. She does everything so ‘right’, from running her business, assisting her sister’s businesses, aiding everyone who may need money, because of course, Tricia is independently wealthy. She is also the shoulder to lean on, as Frannie and Ginny go to her with everything and the go-to person for knowledge about cats. Tricia is the saving force behind Mr. Everett and Grace. The love interest for Russ and Capt. Baker, to the point of them fist fighting over her. She is the one who happens to see the identity of the pumpkin smasher, the know it all about hermaphrodite birth defects, and on and on. Speaking of which, that kind of serious birth anomaly is just too intense for a cozy mystery, in the same book as freegan’s , a dialysis center being built, issues of adoption, of the hungry and poor, all in one book. The ending of "Chapter and Hearse" brought memories of having watched Gunsmoke and Bonanza on TV as a kid, when the shoot out between the villain, Tricia and her bystanders takes place in Angelica's business- Tricia is on the floor on her back holding a smoking gun, while Baker arrives to give our hero a hand up. When he asks 'what is she doing', her reply? "Taking care of Business". At that point she grabs him by his tie to plant a big kiss on him while disclaiming how he is NOT, her ex husband, or Russ for sure. Big reality check please, Ms. Barrett. I may move on to the next installment just to see what further sainthood Tricia may have achieved, but I will check it out of the library, not buy it. I give a begrudged three stars as the book covers are great, the cat blameless, and the recipes are okay.

  17. 4 out of 5

    QNPoohBear

    Tricia Miles has a problem. Her college roommate Pammy Fredericks has been staying with Tricia for two weeks - more like freeloading - and Tricia has had enough. It's not so much the freeloading but the breech of trust that bothers Tricia - that and the fact that Pammy singlehandedly annoyed and chased away customers. Pammy assures Tricia that she has hooked up with some locals and will have some place to go. Tricia feels bad that Pammy alienated her family and has very few friends but is Tricia Miles has a problem. Her college roommate Pammy Fredericks has been staying with Tricia for two weeks - more like freeloading - and Tricia has had enough. It's not so much the freeloading but the breech of trust that bothers Tricia - that and the fact that Pammy singlehandedly annoyed and chased away customers. Pammy assures Tricia that she has hooked up with some locals and will have some place to go. Tricia feels bad that Pammy alienated her family and has very few friends but is relieved Pammy won't be out on the streets. The next time Tricia sees Pammy is at the dedication of the new food pantry where former playboy turned philanthropist Stuart Page is giving a speech. Pammy tries to crash the event but is hauled away by Page's entourage. Pammy stops by her sister Angelica's cafe for a bite to eat and listens to her sister gloat about her wonderful new hire - none other than Pammy Fredericks. Tricia is not thrilled but Angelica needs the help and Pammy has food prep experience. Then Tricia is shocked to discover Pammy face down in a garbage can behind Angelica's cafe. Fortunately for Tricia, the police don't suspect her this time. Deputy Baker is kind and sympathetic but doesn't seem to be making a lot of headway with the case. Tricia is receiving mysterious phone calls about a missing book or possible diary that is the clue to the mystery. There's also someone smashing pumpkins on Main Street and the mystery of who shot at Tricia's window to solve. Meanwhile, her love life is in the dumpster with Russ planning to leave the state and return to city living and her business is booming but she has employee problems. Tricia decides to focus on the mystery of Pammy's death and seek justice for her friend. Book 2 was checked out so I skipped ahead to 3. There are hints about what happened in the first two mysteries but no major spoilers. There is a LOT going on in this novel. There is way way too much extraneous plot and even some of the clues in the mystery are told in too much detail. First there's animal adoption/pet care, which I'm all for (though I'm not a cat person) but it has zero relevance to the mystery or main characters. Then there's "freegans" which I had never heard of or would have labeled dumpster divers. These people believe in reducing waste and carbon footprints by searching out free food in dumpsters behind stores. This squicks Tricia out big time and I don't entirely blame her but I felt her attitude was a bit condescending towards these people. It's no wonder they didn't really want to talk to outsiders. Then there's the whole former playboy turned philanthropist mystery. He's clearly loosely based on Ted Kennedy. That made me a bit uncomfortable and I wouldn't be too happy with the author for bringing up that old story if I were the family. Finally, there's birth defects and adoption, not to mention the personal lives of the characters and too much about Angelica's new business ventures. The central mystery was engaging. I had to keep listening to the story to find out what happened to Pammy and why.At first it seemed easy to guess but I figured Tricia's guess was way too simple and there had to be more to it than that. I was right. I never guessed who the murderer was or why. Actually the thought crossed my mind but I couldn't find a motive and I didn't want it to be that person. I did guess one vital clue before Tricia did and I thought I guessed who the shooter was. I was very upset at the reveal and how it all happened and why. It changes the lives of several characters in the story in a very big way. It also made clear that there were certain plot elements that were not at all relevant to the story and characters who didn't need to be in the story. This book also introduces a new love triangle for Tricia. I didn't really care for the romance aspect of the book. In fact, I don't even like Tricia and I thought at one point "No wonder she can't hold on to a relationship." Her attitude towards the other characters was often rude, condescending, petty and childish. She didn't even support her supposed-boyfriend by reading his paper! I didn't see a need for her to investigate the mystery on her own, especially when she was told not to. She gets offended at the slightest little thing and it made me not like her much. She also thinks she's a brilliant detective just because she reads and sells mysteries. Russ doesn't get much page time but I felt sympathy for him because Tricia was horrible and overreacted. Deputy Baker is a softer, kinder man than Tricia is used to dealing with. He has more of a sense of humor than she does but I do not see these two as a couple at all. I felt bad for Pammy because she reminded me of my uncle's college roommate in some ways. Pammy was not a very likable person overall but she had some positive aspects to her character that Angelica saw and Tricia did not, despite years of knowing each other. I found Angelica a little more annoying in this book than the first one but I like her better than Tricia. She's more compassionate than her older sister and she's better with people. I liked Bob better in this book than the first and I don't think Tricia gives him enough of a fair chance though she claims she's trying for her sister's sake. Franny is a kind and caring woman who doesn't belong in this story at all. She seems very sweet and I liked her best of all. Ginny, Tricia's employee, has more page time here. She seems likable enough though she whines a lot and she doesn't show any character growth in the story when she should at least have some reactions to what happens to her in the story. Mr. Everett is still very sweet as is Grace and they deserve all the happiness they can get - away from Tricia and her crazy mystery obsession! The audio book narrator was good but not great. She pitched her voice differently for male and female characters but that was about it. I couldn't tell by her voice who was supposed to be speaking. I love Booktown and wish it was real but it's a shame the characters in this series are not more likable.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Danny

    I am curious how a niche bookstore owner (literally sells only crime novels) in a small tourist town (with other niche bookstores) makes enough to pay over minimum wages to her employees as well as health? Oh and she has been involved in 3 murders. If Tricia Miles isn't involved in some sort of money laundering/mafia shenanigans then I'm the Pope. (The book was enjoyable though).

  19. 5 out of 5

    Toni (T.C.) LoTempio

    Really liking this series. I started with the most recent ones and now I'm reading from the beginning.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Shalor T.

    When I originally reviewed this book, I'd read it before the other two by mistake. I didn't really feel like I'd missed out on a lot & after reading the other two I can safely say that for the most part I was correct. Other than a bit of character setup, I didn't really need to read the other mysteries first. This entry into the series has Tricia attempting to get rid of a troublesome friend from college who has been squatting at her apartment for a few weeks. No sooner does she manage this When I originally reviewed this book, I'd read it before the other two by mistake. I didn't really feel like I'd missed out on a lot & after reading the other two I can safely say that for the most part I was correct. Other than a bit of character setup, I didn't really need to read the other mysteries first. This entry into the series has Tricia attempting to get rid of a troublesome friend from college who has been squatting at her apartment for a few weeks. No sooner does she manage this when her friend is discovered dead in the dumpster behind her sister Angelica's restaurant. With calls demanding the return of a mysterious diary & the appearance of a handsome new policeman, Tricia has her hands full. I do have to say that I liked the introduction of the new character. It's about time that Tricia meets someone better than the uber-slimy Russ who constantly keeps ditching her whenever he gets a new story & is always trying to worm murder details. (In a previous book he actually tries to interview her while he's making out with her.) This new guy has spark, something that could breathe a little more life into this series. Other than that, the book was pretty much the same as the books before it. Sheriff Adams is still a dolt who dislikes Tricia, Russ is still a slimeball trying to get a story out of Tricia & Angelica is the same as ever. (Although I will say that I have a warm spot for Angelica, despite this.) Still, the mystery wasn't bad. It was also interesting to hear about the various social groups, although it felt a teensy bit tacked on at times. Die-hard mystery fans will probably recognize a lot of different plot devices, but at the same time you can't exactly entirely dislike the series for going with a formula that works for the most part. In the end, I liked this book well enough to give it 4 stars. I'd have given it 3 stars, but I really liked that *finally* we have a better suitor for Tricia than Russ, which shows that there may be some change in the next volume. It's not the greatest book themed mystery I've read, but it's nice enough that I'll probably keep my eyes open for the next one in the series.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sen

    I debated about giving this two or three stars. I might even change it later after I think about it some more. It's not the writing, I enjoy it just fine. The mystery, too, is fine. It's the protagonist-- sometimes she's just really irritating! I get that she's starting to realize that, hey, she's had a lot of privilege in her life, but she's still a bit snobby at times. She's getting better, I think, and it's why I'm sticking with this series. Good grief, though, she (and her sister) both need I debated about giving this two or three stars. I might even change it later after I think about it some more. It's not the writing, I enjoy it just fine. The mystery, too, is fine. It's the protagonist-- sometimes she's just really irritating! I get that she's starting to realize that, hey, she's had a lot of privilege in her life, but she's still a bit snobby at times. She's getting better, I think, and it's why I'm sticking with this series. Good grief, though, she (and her sister) both need a wake-up call. And please, author, stop with the weight stuff! Trish is thin-to-average, great for her, but it doesn't need to be commented on so much. Angelica is a little bigger, stop the presses, it's a shocker! It's getting tedious. I know including character descriptions in each book is needed in case someone hasn't started from the beginning or just wants a refresher, but it's mentioned a few times per book. We get it already. I'm glad Sheriff Adams isn't in this one. I generally don't care for her on a few levels. One, she's written obnoxiously; two, sadly, there are police officers out there like her in jumping to conclusions and I'm convinced my county employs at least half of them; three, her interactions with Trish are little annoying. Yes, some people do act like that, but it's written a little... thinly? Like there isn't enough story to go with it? I'm not sure how to express it. In any case, I'm still trucking along with this series. I have the first five books, so I'll probably at least read that far.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Cat

    Tricia Miles owns Haven't Got a Clue bookstore, in the tour bus book-stop town of Stoneham, NH. Her sister Angelica owns The Cookery next door, as well as the diner across the street, Booked for Lunch. Stoneham is a tiny town, about 20 minutes from Nashua, and filled with bookstores (well, and places to eat) but little else. Each store specializesTricia deals in first editions and out-of-print mysteries, Angelica in a wide variety of cookbooks. Unfortunately Tricia also has the unusual talent of Tricia Miles owns Haven't Got a Clue bookstore, in the tour bus book-stop town of Stoneham, NH. Her sister Angelica owns The Cookery next door, as well as the diner across the street, Booked for Lunch. Stoneham is a tiny town, about 20 minutes from Nashua, and filled with bookstores (well, and places to eat) but little else. Each store specializes—Tricia deals in first editions and out-of-print mysteries, Angelica in a wide variety of cookbooks. Unfortunately Tricia also has the unusual talent of falling into murders. In this book she has just finished tossing Pammy, her not-quite-a-friend of 24 years, out after 2 weeks of mooching; within 6 hours Pammy has applied for several jobs using Tricia as a reference, been hired by Angelica, and found dead upside down in a Dumpster, by none other than Tricia. Oh, no, not again! Luckily it's Captain Baker of the Sheriff's Department who shows up to investigate, not the Sheriff herself, who really has a problem with Tricia's snooping. While the characters are interesting and engaging, the plot in this cozy is a bit far-fetched, involving potential blackmail of a high-powered magnate, a missing diary, a child born with a serious deformity, and a couple going through some serious financial issues. All gets tied together a bit too tidily—no loose ends here for Ms Barrett—but it's a fun easy read for a rainy Sunday afternoon.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    This third book in the series was a good continuation. The characters developed more personality as well as more of a history to give them a better feeling to me. Each book contains a mysterious death that Tricia, the main character, continuously seems to be involved with in one way or another. Tricia's personality has grown on me and I am not as annoyed with her as I was with the first two installments. In fact, her reactions to what goes on around her reminds me much of myself. The way she This third book in the series was a good continuation. The characters developed more personality as well as more of a history to give them a better feeling to me. Each book contains a mysterious death that Tricia, the main character, continuously seems to be involved with in one way or another. Tricia's personality has grown on me and I am not as annoyed with her as I was with the first two installments. In fact, her reactions to what goes on around her reminds me much of myself. The way she thinks semi-rude or offensive opinions, but prevents them from leaving her mouth is very much like me. I have been amused by many of her observations and run-ins with others In The community. I can relate to being in the customer service industry and I know the importance of having good help. Her sister, Angelica, is constantly badgering her for help with her two businesses, but her employee, Ginny, is a very sweet girl and excellent employee. I find myself not putting the book down because I can picture what is happening and want to know what will happen next. I look forward to the next book in the series.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Vickie

    I love the WTF endings in a good mystery. When it happens in a cozy mystery, it's even better. My eyebrows were up well past the hairline this morning when I finished this third entry in a fun series. I want to live in Stoneham, own a bookstore or work for Tricia. I could help her with her sister, Angelica, who means sort of well, just has an offbeat way of showing it. I learned of a new-to-me lifestyle, freegan. Freegans salvage foods from Dumpsters for various reasons, either for to save the I love the WTF endings in a good mystery. When it happens in a cozy mystery, it's even better. My eyebrows were up well past the hairline this morning when I finished this third entry in a fun series. I want to live in Stoneham, own a bookstore or work for Tricia. I could help her with her sister, Angelica, who means sort of well, just has an offbeat way of showing it. I learned of a new-to-me lifestyle, freegan. Freegans salvage foods from Dumpsters for various reasons, either for to save the Earth or due to finding themselves in circumstances that require them to supplement their pantry to feed their family. The mystery is there, who killed Pammy? But there is a focus on food pantries and freegans, bringing awareness to the reader. Thank you, Lorna. I can highly recommend this book and this series. Good mystery, good characters, excellent premise. And the recipes in the back.....BOOKPLATE SPECIAL has meatloaf, garlic mashed potatoes, quick-and-dirty garlic bread, potato and leek soup and mini spinach quiches....nummers! Five eyebrow raised and umby-gumby recipe beans.....

  25. 5 out of 5

    Crys

    I really enjoy Tricia's character. She is strong-willed and owns a mystery bookstore, but she also has a good heart and takes good care of her employees. However, the opening of this book is a little different from the other two. Tricia is demanding that her college pal, Pam, get out of her apartment. Immediately. And it's not in the usually demur Tricia way either. It wasn't a shift in the character, which is what I feared she was going for, it was a humanistic moment of frustration. And Tricia I really enjoy Tricia's character. She is strong-willed and owns a mystery bookstore, but she also has a good heart and takes good care of her employees. However, the opening of this book is a little different from the other two. Tricia is demanding that her college pal, Pam, get out of her apartment. Immediately. And it's not in the usually demur Tricia way either. It wasn't a shift in the character, which is what I feared she was going for, it was a humanistic moment of frustration. And Tricia has every right to be upset with her college pal. But...Pam turns up dead and all fingers point at no one in particular. At least, not yet. But Tricia feels it is her duty to help solve the murder of Pam. And of course that puts her in danger; otherwise, we wouldn't have a story. One way to describe this series (and my love for it): imagine if Nancy Drew grew up and owned a mystery bookstore. This series makes me want to build my own Booktown. How awesome would that be?! If you enjoy a cozy mystery, you need to add the Booktown mysteries to your reading list.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    I was disappointed in this installment of the series. The author brought in the topic of poverty in the economic downturn, which was fine, but Tricia seemed more obtuse than usual as she is surprised to find that people in her town, including her employee, are struggling to make ends meet and get food. So she learns about the freegan culture that liberates food from Dumpsters. All this would be fine except that Tricia was somewhat annoying in this book. She fusses about Ginny coming to work I was disappointed in this installment of the series. The author brought in the topic of poverty in the economic downturn, which was fine, but Tricia seemed more obtuse than usual as she is surprised to find that people in her town, including her employee, are struggling to make ends meet and get food. So she learns about the freegan culture that liberates food from Dumpsters. All this would be fine except that Tricia was somewhat annoying in this book. She fusses about Ginny coming to work late, yet she leaves the store or closes early anytime she feels like it. I realize she's the owner and can do that, but it seemed disingenuous. Her sister Angelica was a much more sympathetic character in this novel which made for an interesting switch. My biggest complaint about the book was the solution which came out of the blue and seemed a little bizarre. Hopefully the next one will be better because I've already acquired it. ;)

  27. 4 out of 5

    DAISY DISNEY

    I love to read according to the season and I wanted a fall/ halloween cozy mystery to read. I looked through my shelves and noticed that the cover of this one had a smashed pumpkin on it so I thought, "What the heck, that's festive enough!". I am very glad I read this. It's a cozy fall read indeed. I just love the little village in Stoneham! This is the 1st book I have read in the series and although it's not the beginning of the series, I can say that I didn't feel like I was missing any pieces I love to read according to the season and I wanted a fall/ halloween cozy mystery to read. I looked through my shelves and noticed that the cover of this one had a smashed pumpkin on it so I thought, "What the heck, that's festive enough!". I am very glad I read this. It's a cozy fall read indeed. I just love the little village in Stoneham! This is the 1st book I have read in the series and although it's not the beginning of the series, I can say that I didn't feel like I was missing any pieces to the puzzle. Some incidents that I think occurred in previous books were brought up, but nothing that would make a new reader feel lost. I loved all of the people in this book. Tricia was very like-able & might I add I learned about Freegans through reading this which was interesting!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    This is the 3rd in the series. In this book, we find Tricia breaking up with her boyfriend Russ, and a new love interest maybe on the horizon in the form of a police detective she meets. Her sort of friend from college is killed, on the very day that Tricia asks her to leave her home. Over two weeks of visiting is too long! While trying to find out why, Tricia discovers a group of people, called freegans. They dumpster dive for food, and come to find out, her assistant Ginny is one of them! On This is the 3rd in the series. In this book, we find Tricia breaking up with her boyfriend Russ, and a new love interest maybe on the horizon in the form of a police detective she meets. Her sort of friend from college is killed, on the very day that Tricia asks her to leave her home. Over two weeks of visiting is too long! While trying to find out why, Tricia discovers a group of people, called freegans. They dumpster dive for food, and come to find out, her assistant Ginny is one of them! On the nicer side, her other assistant, Mr. Everett and his girl friend Grace get married, and the wedding is held at Haven't Got a Clue.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Hogue

    I am loving this series! Lorna Barrett has created an appealing setting and interesting characters that are continuing to develop with each book. Set in a small New England town that is experiencing a revitalization with the influx of booksellers, hence the nickname "Booktown", the characters offer a mix of family relationships, newcomers, established "townies", employers and employees, friends and foes. Barrett is not afraid to make big revelations amongst her characters and keep you guessing I am loving this series! Lorna Barrett has created an appealing setting and interesting characters that are continuing to develop with each book. Set in a small New England town that is experiencing a revitalization with the influx of booksellers, hence the nickname "Booktown", the characters offer a mix of family relationships, newcomers, established "townies", employers and employees, friends and foes. Barrett is not afraid to make big revelations amongst her characters and keep you guessing right up to the last chapter. This series contains a mix of cuisine, history, romance and books, books, books....it doesn't get any better than that! I can't wait to read the rest of the series!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    A good installment in this enjoyable series. As with so many of these series, the body count is getting pretty ridiculous but I really enjoyed this one for the development of the characters ongoing plot arcs more than the mystery itself. The best part of series like this for me is getting to know the townfolk and seeing their lives over time and this book was great for that. A fun read and much needed lightness after my last read, which was a book I ended up hating (Tigers in Red Weather for A good installment in this enjoyable series. As with so many of these series, the body count is getting pretty ridiculous but I really enjoyed this one for the development of the characters ongoing plot arcs more than the mystery itself. The best part of series like this for me is getting to know the townfolk and seeing their lives over time and this book was great for that. A fun read and much needed lightness after my last read, which was a book I ended up hating (“Tigers in Red Weather” for those looking for a book to avoid.)

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