Chapter & Hearse (A Booktown Mystery)
by Lorna Barrett
Cover Artist: Teresa Fasolino
Review by Gayle Surrette
Berkley Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425236017
Date: 03 August 2010 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Tricia Miles doesn't know what to think when her sister Angelica's launch party for her first cookbook doesn't bring in more than her staff and a few friends. Noticeably absent was Bob Kelly, Angelica's boyfriend, and the employees of her cafe. The low turnout disappoints Angelica but she's confident that the stops on her book tour will be different – she's lined up for the next few weeks. Tricia, looking out the window, notices Bob's car parked in front of History Repeats itself and decides to go give him a piece of her mind. She's just at the door when the store blows up.
Barrett begins with an explosion and the tension of not knowing who survives and who is injured and the action moves on from there. There's misdirection, miscommunication, red herrings, and plot twist galore. As if an interesting plot wasn't enough there are also a number of relationship problems that have been gathering attention over the last few books. Many of these come to a head and either get resolved or at least brought out in the open. Tricia and Angelica's relationship is also changing and growing as the sisters begin to know each other better.
You know that Tricia is not going to be able to sit back and let the police handle the investigation because things just don't add up. Bob's scared and refusing to talk to anyone. Angelica is either having a statistically unlikely run of accidents while on her book tour or someone is targeting her on purpose; and could that be something to do with Bob? Mrs. Roth, mother of Jim Roth who owned History Repeats Itself, doesn't seem upset in the least that her son has died. Things just don't add up for Tricia so she begins to look for clues.
If you've read other Booktown Mysteries, you're going to definitely enjoy this one. If you haven't read the other books in the series, don't worry, you'll come up to speed as there's enough background information to fill you in on most of the connections between the characters. Tightly plotted and paced to keep you turning the pages, this series is indeed getting better with each book.
Chapter & Hearse also includes recipes for Hacienda (Soft) Tacos, Coconut Cake, Coconut Icing, Blueberry Muffins, Cinnamon Coffee Cake, Mrs. Roth's Lemon Bars.