My work is never done.
That sounds like the story of my life, and honestly—it is. When I came to live in Stoneham and decided to take over the cookbook store, the Cookery, I had no idea what a successful businesswoman I would become. Of course, I modeled my store after my dear sister Tricia’s mystery bookstore, Haven’t Got a Clue, but it soon became apparent to me that I had far more business acumen and stamina than her. I mean, she’s only running one business, and she’s not as efficient as she could be. She insists on having two employees, plus herself in the store several days a week. I can’t imagine what that’s doing to her bottom line. (I didn’t ask.)
Still, just running the Cookery wasn’t enough. I’d always wanted to be a restaurateur, but at the time I opened my little café, Booked for Lunch, there was nowhere on Main Street to have a bigger business. That changed when the history bookstore blew up, but by then I was already knee deep in blue plate specials. Still, good food is good food, and my customers leave happy.
My next business venture was buying a share of the Sheer Comfort Inn, a beautiful Victorian house on a residential street that caters to weary (well-heeled) tourists. I was lucky to get a say in the furnishings and linen upgrades, and I think my good taste shines through. During the summer months we’re booked solid, and during the winter, we still manage a 50-60 percent occupancy rate. Not bad!
I mustn’t forget to mention that I’m a bestselling cookbook author, although lately I’ve put that career on hold after taking the helm of the local Chamber of Commerce. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it. Of course, I had to wrestle it away from my former paramour, but our relationship had ended and, honestly, it was time for a change. Our membership is already up 100 percent and still growing, and we’re doing spectacular things in just a short period of time. Of course, things would be better if we hadn’t lost our receptionist. Betsy Dittmeyer was killed when a fully loaded bookshelf fell over and squashed her like a bug. (A big juicy bug.) But I’m sure we’ll soon hire someone very good (and a lot nicer) to take her place.
You see, Betsy had a lot of secrets she was keeping not only from me, but all the rest of the people in her life. Then again, there are a few secrets I’ve been keeping from Tricia. A very big one that, when told, will shatter her for life. It’s been more than 40 years, perhaps it’s time to spill the beans. But that means waiting until the time is right. And it might be time very soon.
Until that time comes, I’m going to charge full-speed ahead.
It’s the only way I know how to operate.
You can read more about Angelica in Book Clubbed, the 8th book in the “Booktown” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first book in the series is Murder is Binding. Books are available at retail and online booksellers.
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Book Clubbed is new in hardcover, e-book, and audio on July 1st.
Not the Killing Type is new out in paperback on July 1st.
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Meet the author
The immensely popular Booktown Mystery series is what put Lorna Barrett’s name on the New York Times Bestseller list, but it’s her talent — whether writing as Lorna, or L.L. Bartlett, or Lorraine Bartlett — that keeps her there. This multi-published, Agatha-nominated author pens the exciting Jeff Resnick Mysteries as well as the acclaimed Victoria Square Mystery series and the Tales of Telenia saga, and has many short stories and novellas to her name(s). Check out the descriptions and links to all her works, and sign up for her emailed newsletter here at www.LornaBarrett.com
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