Once Upon A Romance

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Chapter & Hearse by Lorna Barrett

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Cover art: Chapter & Hearse Reviewer: Robyn Roberts
Title: Chapter & Hearse - 4th in the Booktown Mystery series
Author: Lorna Barrett
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
ISBN-13: 978-0-425-23601-7
Release Date: August 2010
Genre/Sub-genre: Cozy Mystery
Year/Setting: Present day, Stoneham NH
Overall Rating: 3.75
Sexual Content Rating: None
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: Mild
Violent Content Rating: Minimal
Lorna's Website/Blog: www.lornabarrett.com


Tricia Miles owns the mystery bookstore Haven’t Got a Clue and since moving to Stoneham, she keeps finding herself in the middle of real life mysteries. Tricia’s sister, Angelica, is launching the release of her cookbook when an explosion interrupts the event. Angelica’s fiancé, Bob Kelly, is injured in the blast. With Angelica going on a book tour, she insists that Tricia help keep an eye on Bob and make sure he’s doing ok. While Tricia might not be Bob’s number one fan, she can’t deny her sister’s wishes. When it’s discovered that the blast killed the owner of the store, Jim Roth, Tricia finds it odd that Bob remains tight lipped and aloof regarding the events leading up to the blast.

With Tricia seeing suspects at every turn, will she end up being the next victim?

This story kept me guessing from the first page to the last. It was nice to revisit old friends in Stoneham, but readers who are new to the series will not feel lost. Lorna Barrett was able to keep leading me off track in this story. I was amazed at the twists and turns the story took and was surprised by the ending.

Tricia is a delightful character. I identify with her as I enjoy mystery books, too. I like her ingenuity in making her bookstore more profitable. She is very loyal and desires to give back to the community. The thing that cracks me up about Tricia is the way she jumps into something with both feet, and then stops to think about the ramifications later.

Tricia is working things out in her life and trying to decide what she wants to do about her love life. She’s not sure if her ex-boyfriend is starting to stalk her or not. And her romance with the hunky local lawman is still in a holding pattern. I found some of the scenes that focused on these relationships drew away from the main focus of the book. I was frustrated with both Tricia and the men in her life for not being able to move on.

Overall, I found this book to be a terrific mystery. I was hooked from the opening pages of the book and couldn’t put it down.

Robyn

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