Murder on the Half Shelf by Lorna Barrett

12608175Lorna Barrett’s Booktown Mystery series is everything I love about cozies. Set in a charming little touristy East Coast hamlet, the stories revolve around a loveable bookstore owner, a bevy of eclectic characters, and a couple of furry, four-legged sidekicks. It’s like this series was tailor-made just for me!

In this sixth installment, our fearless protagonist, Tricia Miles, stumbles upon a dead body while staying at a newly opened Bed and Breakfast. Known as the “Village Jinx,” she has a knack for finding murder victims in her so-called peaceful town of Stoneham, New Hampshire.

This time, the victim is a former Playboy bunny turned B&B owner named Pippa. The plot thickens when Tricia discovers Pippa’s husband is actually Harry Tyler, an old boyfriend who was believed to be dead for more than 20 years. This makes Tricia a suspect, adding some serious tension between Tricia and her police chief boyfriend. Plus being a murder suspect really puts a damper on business, so she better find the killer before she loses her sweetie and her loyal book club customers.

As Tricia delves into the mystery, she comes up with more questions than answers. Why would Harry knock off his wife right after opening a B&B? Who’s sending all of those old pictures and cryptic messages in the mail? And who is always lurking in the shadows?

As you can see, there are a lot of pieces in this puzzle – and boy is it fun putting it all together! Half the fun is getting to k

This book is Gizmo approved.
This book is Gizmo approved.

now all of the quirky characters, especially Tricia’s feisty sister who runs an eclectic bookstore for foodies. She’s a tad on the selfish side, but she tends to redeem herself when Tricia is in a bind. Plus she’s got some scrumdiliumptious recipes that you can find in the back of the book.  Mmmm…I can’t wait to try out the Simply Crackers Candy!

But of all the secondary characters, I’m most intrigued by an ex-con named Pixie Poe. She’s rude, violent and anti-social – but trust me – she’ll grow on you! I’m really excited to see what lies in store for her and Tricia in the next book!

If you love a good character-driven mystery in a deliciously inviting setting, you’re in for a treat. I’m putting this one on the top shelf with my other two favorite bookstore mysteries: Carolyn Hart’s Death on Demand, and Alice Kimberly’s Haunted Bookshop series.

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