|Stoneham, NH is a book lover’s paradise. Most of the shops in this charming New England town are book stores with a theme such as history, or Tricia Miles’s mystery bookstore, Haven’t Got a Clue, or her sister Angelica’s combination café and cookbook store. Angelica has just published her first cookbook and is kicking off her publicity tour in her store.
Sadly, attendance is low, but it turns out to be a good thing as before the evening is over, there is a gas explosion across the street that kills bookstore owner Jim Roth and seriously injures Bob Kelly, Chamber of Commerce President and Angelica’s boyfriend. Angelica is reluctant to leave on her tour, but Bob insists she go, so she agrees, leaving Tricia with the charge to help run the café and book store, along with Angelica’s staff.
Tricia is a very organized person and quite capable, but often bites off more than she can handle, trying to help everyone, since she is well off financially from an inheritance and a divorce settlement as she reminds herself and her friends quite often. She is working on a deal to help save her employee’s home from foreclosure, trying to help elderly Mr. Everett and his wife work through their newlywed adjustment period and offers comfort, and financial aid to Jim’s mother, with whom he lived, even though he was middle aged himself.
Tricia soon realizes that someone murdered Jim and he just wasn’t in the wrong place at the wrong time. She starts asking questions, especially after Bob becomes a target again. She is also concerned with the goings on at the café which seem a little suspicious, especially when she talks things over with Angelica.
There are many good things going on in this series, and they are starting to come together in this latest mystery. Dynamo Tricia has a lot to offer people and she is learning, from others, how to better help them than by just doing it or offering to give them. Angelica, up to now very self-centered, is becoming a more concerned sister to Tricia and has taken on a lot of responsibility with the store and café and realizes life isn’t all spotlights and book signings.
Tricia is working through her relationships with newspaperman Russ and the police chief whose ex-wife has become ill, but she is also getting unsettling notes and gifts from her ex-husband. The mystery is well-plotted and there are a few good suspects, though few clues as readers may take some events as an indication of something else. Best of all, there is plenty of book talk sprinkled throughout and even a few of Angelica’s recipes.
--Jennifer Monahan Winberry