Bookplate Special (A Booktown Mystery)
by Lorna Barrett
Cover Artist: Teresa Fasolino
Review by Gayle Surrette
Berkley Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425231197
Date: 03 November 2009 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
In this the third outing in the Booktown Mysteries, Tricia Miles, owner of Haven't Got a Clue is, as usual, worried about her bottom line. Her sister, Angelica, has opened a diner called Booked for Lunch just across the street but she's been calling on Tricia to help her out when she has employee problems. That wouldn't be so bad but Tricia's old college roommate showed up for a short visit that's now dragged on and on. Pammy Fredericks has alienated the bookstore staff and most of the customers and now Tricia learned that she stole from her. She wants her packed and out. Pammy takes it well and ends up working for Angelica. It looks like things will now get back to normal, until Pammy turns up dead in the dumpster behind the restaurant.
With series books such as Bookplate Special, there's an interesting and engaging mystery in each book but you also get to revisit with continuing characters. Continuing characters also mean that side plots get to continue over books as the characters grow and develop. Bookplate Special continues from the events of the previous books, though you can read it as a stand alone.
When Pammy Fredericks is murdered, it seems people expect Tricia to get involved. However, Tricia has learned not a bit of caution, but a load of it and she's more than willing to let the police handle it. But, with the kind of mind that loves mysteries and being in the midst of one, Tricia does poke a bit at the periphery -- just to get the lay of the land, so to speak.
Tricia is also finding her personal life a bit strained as Russ has been a bit standoffish lately. Of course the fact that she's attracted to the detective on the case may be adding a bit to her confusion. Then there's the Pumpkin Smasher who has been destroying pumpkins throughout the shopping area. Now that might be a mystery she could solve.
But plots and life can get complicated and while looking into what Pammy had been doing in town, Tricia learns about food kitchens, food banks, and freegans. There was an entire subculture of people who dumpster dive for food in her town. Tricia is floored to learn that while some people have moved into this extreme recycling because of the hard economic times, some people enjoy the lifestyle. It's here that she learns more about Pammy and her life.
Once again, Barrett has written an interesting, plausible murder mystery with an amateur sleuth that not only entertains but educates. What you learn is all germane to the plot and information needed to solve the mystery but it was a glimpse into a culture and lifestyle that I hadn't really thought about. Another excellent installment in this series.
Also included are some recipes for various foods talked about in the book.