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Sentenced to Death
A Booktown Mystery, # 5
Lorna Barrett

June 2011/ ISBN 978-0-425-24186-8

Reviewed by Laura Hinds

Author Lorna Barrett’s newest release, Sentenced to Death, is the fifth book in the Booktown Mystery series. The premise for the series is a truly unique one: a small New Hampshire town that had fallen into obscurity has been brought back to life by a group of independent booksellers lured into town to peddle their wares. It was a good idea, and the booksellers are all doing well due to the influx of tourist trade. Unfortunately, there has also been an influx of crime, specifically murders, in recent months.

Tricia Miles, who owns the mystery bookstore “Haven’t Got a Clue,” is, as usual, in the thick of things when trouble comes to Stoneham once again. This time around there is a question as to whether there is actually a murder, or if instead, the death of Deborah Black is really a terrible tragic accident. It is during Deborah’s speech at the Founder’s Day celebration that a small plane, hired to tow a banner promoting the event and the town, crashes into the gazebo killing both the pilot and Deborah instantly. As Tricia learns more about her late friend’s secrets and witnesses first hand the bizarre behavior of both Deborah’s husband and her mother, her sleuthing antennae quiver and thrum and she knows she has to get to the truth of the matter.

The hit Booktown Mystery series has something for everyone who loves small town life, a solid mystery, books, recipes, cats and dogs and realistic characters populating each book. Sentenced to Death lives up to the previous four books and takes things to a new level by ratcheting up the personal relationships of Tricia and her cohorts. Her sister, Angelica, is once again writing another potential best-selling cookbook, and the men in their lives don’t fail to disappoint the ladies, while on the other hand offering up some humility and hope for their futures. I particularly like that Tricia actually takes time to read, and that people come into her mystery bookstore and buy books that are real. I take notes on the authors and titles sprinkled throughout to add to my own “to be read” list as I know Lorna Barrett wouldn’t steer her readers wrong.

A charming read, this book will appeal to cozy mystery lovers of all ages. It is interesting and smart, tightly crafted and full of both down to earth and off the wall characters. The story is real enough to happen and just twisted enough to make one look twice at those on the periphery of their lives. The addition of two recipes at the back of the book is an added bonus, so you can share your copy with the cook in your family too!

Reviewer Laura Hinds is the author Are You Gonna Eat That Banana?
Reviewed 2011
© 2011