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Book Clubbed: 03/28/18
Book Clubbed by Lorna Barrett is the eighth of the Booktown mysteries. Angelica is now the Chamber of Commerce president and has set up her office upstairs of the Cookery. Tricia is helping out with the chamber affairs while her shop is under repair. And then the still loyal to Bob, Chamber secretary ends up dead — flattened by a bookcase.
As so often happens around book seven, or year seven of a TV series, there is enough time elapsed between beginning and current story to revisit old themes and plots. In that regard, Book Clubbed is very much like Murder is Binding in that most of the novel ends up being a character study of the murder victim and the unveiling of her darkest and saddest secrets.
Meanwhile, a trusted, close character (and with the length of the run, a long-running recurring character) is set up to betray everyone. That said, the betrayal here is a long one coming and makes sense given the previous volumes.
Of course a new story can't completely rehash an older plot an expect to keep loyal readers coming back. So mixed into the familiar sleuthing by way of breaking into the departed's house, there is a side plot involving Tricia's past that explains a lot of the ambivalence she feels for her parents, especially her mother.
Tricia's back story reminds me most of No Ghouls Allowed by Victoria Laurie minus the paranormal aspects. My one complaint though is that Tricia's backstory has such a strong parallel with a major plot point of Murder is Binding that in retrospect it's hard to believe that first Stoneham murder didn't trigger this memory. Realistically, though, the author probably hadn't thought through all of Tricia's backstory in her first book.