Chapter & Hearse by Lorna Barrett is the 4th book in the “Booktown” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime (Penguin), August 2010

According to the gossip around Stoneham, New Hampshire, Tricia Miles cannot put down a real murder mystery. After all, the owner of the mystery bookstore, Haven’t Got a Clue, has been spending more time solving whodunits than reading them.

Tricia’s sister, Angelica, considers herself to be the next celebrity chef. To celebrate her first cookbook, Angelica hosts a launch party, but sadly the only guest is an oversized cutout of herself. Worse than the lack of fans is a nearby gas explosion that injures her boyfriend, Bob Kelly, the head of the Chamber of Commerce.

Tricia’s never been a fan of Bob, but when she reads that Bob is being tight-lipped about the “accident” and how it killed the owner of the town’s history bookstore, it’s time to take action. As the incriminating details emerge, Tricia gets wrapped up in a murder that proves to be as spine-tingling as the books that line her shelves.

I love my visits with Tricia and her friends. As always, the plot was good and it was a pleasure to spend time with my friends from Stoneham. A nearby explosion finds one man dead and Angelica’s boyfriend hurt. Tricia wonders why Bob is being evasive in helping her and the police find the killer. I had my theories and I like that the author set up several red herrings as to the identity of the killer. Overall, this was a rippling good story. I can’t wait to read “Sentenced To Death”, the next book in this series. My rating: 5 stars

Lorna Barrett is the pseudonym of Lorraine Bartlett.

Lorraine writes the “Victoria Square Mysteries,” debuting February 2011

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