Bookmarked For Death: 08/23/17
Bookmarked For Death by Lorna Barrett is the second of the Booktown Mystery series, which I am listening to as audiobooks, performed by Cassandra Campbell. To celebrate Haven't Got a Clue's first anniversary, Tricia has invited Stoneham's one and only mystery author, Zoë Carter to a book signing. The event doesn't go well, ending with the author dead.
Carter's death opens up a can of worms. There are rumors that she didn't write her own books. Nor were they ghostwritten. They were stolen outright. The question though, is, why wait for her very last book to come out before killing her?
Besides the mystery, there is the ongoing story of Angie's move to Stoneham. At the close of Murder is Binding the sisters had reconciled and agreed to be neighbors. Angie has taken over the cookery and is adding some of her own recipes to store as a way to highlight her cookbooks. Unfortunately, serving food at a bookstore has stirred up some bad feelings among other store owners. So much so that people are starting to get sick!
An on-going complaint among some reviewers is Tricia's unending source of money. Yes — this has been established. And yes, she is, whether or not she realizes it — part of the early gentrification of Stoneham. Bob who owns most of the town got her to sign a larger lease than anyone before and is using her willingness to pay to charge more on future leases. The town isn't ready to pay higher rent and Tricia doesn't see that — even though she pays her two employees more than other stores (those who can afford any employees). She still doesn't pay them a living wage. Instead, she relies on bonuses and only by the end of the book does she realize she should be paying for their health insurance.
Often in a series like this, I'd find Tricia's attitude a hinderance to the series. There is, however, enough wiggle room between Tricia's view of the world and the author's world view — allowing for a dialog between her perception and the reality of what the town is facing.
Finally, it seems that every book has a side plot — nearly a gag plot. The first one had the appearance of the Nudist Resort leaflets. This one has migratory Canada geese who are everywhere and causing a nuisance. These side plots give a sense of place and time to the village. They also provide moments of clarity for Tricia in her sleuthing.