Double Booked for Death by Ali Brandon is the first book in the new “Black Cat Bookshop” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, December 2011

Darla Pettistone left Texas for New York after unexpectedly inheriting her great-aunt Dee’s Brooklyn bookstore. She didn’t know that the store’s mascot—Hamlet, an oversize black cat with a personality to match—was also part of the deal. And he may be more valuable than Darla bargained for.

As the new owner of Pettistone’s Fine Books, Darla Pettistone is determined to prove herself a worthy successor to her late great-aunt Dee…and equally determined to outwit Hamlet, the smarter-than-thou cat she inherited with the shop.

Darla’s first store event is a real coup—the hottest bestselling author of the moment is holding a signing there, which brings hordes of fans and some protestors. But when the author meets an untimely end during the event, it’s hardly good for business, even though it’s ruled an accident—until Hamlet digs up a clue that seems to indicate otherwise. Now, Darla fears a killer might be lurking about…Can the interfering Hamlet point the paws at the culprit without losing one of his own nine lives?

What a good start! Imagine getting the hottest author to come to your bookstore and an accident causes her demise or did it? That’s what faces Darla in this fun-filled and engaging who-dun-it when she uncovers a clue that can change the outcome of the police’s investigation. The writing was crisp and the alluring storylines kept me engrossed in this story as I tried to figure out the mysteries contained in this nicely done tale. The characters are likable and the setting made me feel at home. This was a lovely beginning to what I hope are many adventures with Darla and her friends in this charmingly entertaining new series.

Ali Brandon is the pseudonym of Diane A.S. Stuckart

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