One Hot MurderOne Hot Murder by Lorraine Bartlett is the third book in the “Victoria Square” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, February 2012

Where there’s smoke…

Katie Bonner, the reluctant manager of Artisans Alley in the quaint shopping district of Victoria Square, is no stranger to ambivalence. Things have been going hot and heavy with pizza maker Andy Rust—so much so that Katie has moved in over his pizza parlor. But now that summer’s ushered in a heat wave, an apartment above pizza ovens without an air conditioner is making Katie hot and bothered.

At the height of the heat wave, a tragic fire strikes Victoria Square. Wood U, a small store selling wooden gifts and small furniture, is destroyed. But the fire may just be a smoke screen—for murder. A body is found among the charred wreckage, and the victim didn’t die from smoke inhalation. He was shot. Now—despite making Detective Ray Davenport hot under the collar—Katie is determined to smoke out a coldhearted killer.

A fire sparks our sleuth’s investigation when a dead body is found inside a burned store. Who is the dead body? Who started the fire? Who is behind this dastardly deed? All these questions and more will be answered in this pleasantly appealing whodunit.

I know whenever I read a book written by Lorraine Bartlett, she is going to take me on a fabulous journey that transcend time and place and draws me into the goings on in Victoria Square, right alongside Katie. I loved the way this drama flows from one chapter to the next as the mystery kept me guessing with some surprising twists I didn’t see coming until it happened and I do love that in a mystery. The more I learn about Katie, the more I like her and the relationships she has with her vendors and friends. Boasting a diverse cast of characters, a warm comfortable atmosphere and enjoyable dialogue, this is by far, the best book in this wonderfully crafted series and I look forward to the next adventures with Katie and her friends.

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