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A Crafty Killing: 07/06/21
Since I'm current with the Booktown Mystery series by Lorna Barrett, I've decided to go back and read through another of author's series. A Crafty Killing by Lorraine Bartlett (aka Lorna Barrett) is the start of the Victoria Square mystery series.
Katie Bonner ends up as the de facto manager of Artisans Alley after its owner, Ezra, is murdered inside the store. She already has a job and isn't sure she wants to devote the time and energy to saving the company. Unfortunately her late husband put their savings into Ezra's venture, so she's stuck if she wants to recover her investment.
Like Murder is Binding, this initial volume introduces a woman in the process of making a huge change to her life. While Tricia was escaping New York after a divorce to run her own book shop, Katie is a widow set now to inherit a business she was only tangentially part of because of her husband's investment. Like Tricia, though, once faced with the responsibility, she is fully committed to the business and the people.
The mystery itself is couched in the business of running Artisans Alley. It has a familiar twisting of plot threads to how the Constable Molly Smith mysteries have A and B plots that end up being intertwined. As I was hyper focused on the details of Artisans Alley I caught a major clue and its significance well before Katie did. It made for a suspenseful but satisfying read.
I actually found myself pulled in much faster to Katie's story because of the familiar setting. I grew up around antiques malls and other consignment shops. The sad state Artisans Alley is in at the start of the mystery along with the surrounding businesses' take on the shop bring to mind a couple different places my father did business with.