A Black Cat Bookshop Mystery, No 1
Berkley Prime Crime
December 2011/ 978-0-425-24497-5
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.
of other titles in this series
Booked for Death #1
Novel Way to Die #2