Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Double Booked For Death
A Black Cat Bookshop Mystery, No 1
Ali Brandon

Berkley Prime Crime
December 2011/ 978-0-425-24497-5

Reviewed by Laura Hinds

Darla Pettistone is a Texas to New York transplant. She·s inherited a bookstore in the heart of Brooklyn from her Great- Aunt Dee. Along with the bookstore came an upstairs apartment, an ex-cop tenant in the garden apartment, and a cat named Hamlet. The ex-cop is Jake (Jacqueline) Martelli, who was forced into retirement after an injury. Lucky for Darla, she and Jake get along great. Hamlet, however, makes it known that he intends to continue to rule the roost and wreak havoc whenever he feels like it.

Thanks to Great-Aunt Dee, there is a famous author scheduled for a book signing that should garner some attention and good publicity, not to mention boost sales. The author, Valerie Baylor, has a series of Haunted High books that have created quite the buzz amongst teens and even some pre-teens. The signing is limited to 500 fans, and that limit is strictly enforced by security officers. The groupies arrive quite early and are assigned wrist bands that will show they are authorized for admittance.

Baylor is a real piece of work and is downright nasty to everyone, including her own entourage. That isn't Darla's problem, though, and she has enough of her own. There is a protester across the street holding a sign saying that Baylor has plagiarized her work from other authors. Things escalate when Baylor takes a cigarette break and somehow ends up in the street out front, dead as a doornail. Was her being run over by a van of religious fanatics who vowed to stop the signing an accident or could it have been murder? When the police determine it was an accident, Darla and Jake decide to investigate on their own. Especially after Hamlet provides the very first clue that malice was involved.

Double Booked for Death is an outstanding debut to a very promising new series. The author is an accomplished writer, having written the Leonardo da Vinci mysteries and several historical mysteries as well. Her skill at writing mysteries is evident in this novel. The characters are interesting and smart, the mystery is clever and provides clues the reader will notice but don't let the cat out of the bag prematurely.

I had such fun reading about Darla and her cohorts, and found Hamlet's antics made me smile as I recognized typical cat behavior that is taken up a notch to show how smart he is. The plot is clever and the characters are charming. The bookstore setting is cozy, but a great deal of the action takes place outside of the shop, giving the main characters opportunities for more interaction with others.

If you enjoy a cozy mystery, a clever cat, a bookstore setting and smart, realistic characters you are sure to enjoy Double Booked for Death.

Reviews of other titles in this series

Double Booked for Death #1
A Novel Way to Die #2
Plot Boiler #5

Reviewed 2012
© MyShelf.Com