Sunday, January 27, 2008

Murder Is Binding-Lorna Barrett

Murder Is Binding
Lorna Barrett
Berkley, Apr 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780425219584

The town of Stoneham, New Hampshire is considered the safest place in the sate because it hasn’t had a murder in sixty years. However, Stoneham is ironically also a dying town until the President of the Chamber of Commerce and owner of Kelly ERealty Bob Kelly lured several used specialty bookstore owners to open shops on Main Street.

One of the newcomers is Tricia Miles who opened her mystery bookstore. When she visits the cookbook store, Tricia finds proprietor Doris Gleason dead with a knife in her chest. The rare cookbook that Doris purchased is missing. The female sheriff has taken an instant dislike of Tricia and is determined to find enough evidence to prove she killed Doris; she looks nowhere else for motives. When the victim’s twin sister arrives to take over the cookbook store, Tricia is shocked that the newcomer has no interest in who killed her sibling. Tricia begins her own inquiries to clear her name and soon finds an elderly woman committed to a nursing home due to dementia but seems quite lucid when they talk. As local businessman Mike shows he is interested in her as does the sheriff for different reasons Tricia keeps digging to uncover who killed Doris.

Stoneham seems so real that readers will regret when they recall it is fictional as it seems like a heavenly place to foliage for books. The townsfolk are friendly and helpful to Tricia and other newcomers, but in the heroine’s case that somewhat changes when many assume she is the killer; their logic is impeccable as why else would the sheriff consider her a person of major (and only) person of interest. Fans of regional amateur sleuth cozies will want to visit the bookstores of Stoneham guided by Tricia as she learns first hand that MURDER IS BINDING.

Harriet Klausner