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Murders in a city full of bookstores…
What is the Booktown Mystery series by Lorna Barrett about?
Also writing as L.L. Bartlett or Lorraine Bartlett, American author Lorna Barrett writes cozy mysteries set in contemporary times, most notably the Booktown Mystery series.
Set in Stoneham, New Hampshire, where the streets are lined with bookstores, Booktown Mystery series follows Tricia Miles, the owner of the Haven’t Got a Clue bookstore. An amateur sleuth in a city full of murders, Tricia has her hands full, but there’s always something new to complicate her life.
How to read Lorna Barrett’s Books in Order?
Every book in the Booktown Mystery series works as a standalone story, but the lives of the different characters evolve from one novel to the other.
- Murder is Binding – When she moved to Stoneham, city slicker Tricia Miles met nothing but friendly faces. And when she opened her mystery bookstore, she met friendly competition. But when she finds Doris Gleason dead in her own cookbook store, killed by a carving knife, the atmosphere seems more cutthroat than cordial. Someone wanted to get their hands on the rare cookbook that Doris had recently purchased-and the locals think that someone is Tricia. To clear her name, Tricia will have to take a page out of one of her own mysteries-and hunt down someone who isn’t killing by the book.
- Bookmarked For Death – Tricia Miles, owner of the Haven’t Got a Clue bookstore, must solve her own mystery when a bestselling author is found dead in the washroom.
- Bookplate Special – Bookstore owner Tricia Miles has put up—and put up with—her uninvited college roommate for weeks. In return, Pammy has stolen $100. But the day she’s kicked out, Pammy’s found dead in a Dumpster, leaving loads of questions unanswered.
- Chapter and Hearse – Tricia’s sister, Angelica, considers herself to be the next celebrity chef. To celebrate her first cookbook, Angelica hosts a launch party, but sadly the only guest is an oversized cutout of herself. Worse than the lack of fans is a nearby gas explosion that injures her boyfriend, Bob Kelly, the head of the Chamber of Commerce. Tricia’s never been a fan of Bob, but when she reads that Bob is being tight-lipped about the “accident” and how it killed the owner of the town’s history bookstore, it’s time to take action.
- Sentenced to Death – On Founder’s Day in Stoneham, the whole village has turned out to celebrate in the square, including Tricia’s friend and festivities organizer Deborah Black. As everyone watches Deborah give the opening speech, a small aircraft crashes into the village gazebo, killing both Deborah and the pilot. While the Sheriff’s Department is convinced that it was an accident, Tricia has a feeling that there’s more to the story.
- Murder on the Half Shelf – The town of Stoneham is a haven for bookstores, but it is sadly lacking in bed-and-breakfasts. Fortunately, Pippa and Jon Comfort’s Sheer Comfort Inn is about to open, and the couple has offered some locals a free night as a trial run. But it won’t be so easy to sleep after Tricia makes two startling discoveries: Pippa’s murdered body in the backyard, and the fact that Pippa’s husband, Jon, is actually Harry Tyler, a man Tricia loved—and believed dead—for nearly twenty years.
- Not the Killing Type – It’s November in Stoneham, New Hampshire, and time for the Chamber of Commerce elections. The long-standing Chamber president is being challenged by a former lover—Tricia’s own sister, Angelica. Also throwing his hat in the ring is small business owner Stan Berry. Unfortunately, Stan isn’t in the race for long. When Stan is found murdered, his political rivals become suspects.
- Book Clubbed – After cranky Chamber of Commerce receptionist Betsy Dittmeyer is crushed by a fallen bookcase, the next item to be read is her will, which is packed with surprises. It seems Betsy was hiding volumes of secrets behind her perpetual frown—one of which might have been a motive for murder. While Tricia tries to help Angelica solve the mystery, she discovers a hidden chapter in her own family history.
- A Fatal Chapter – While out walking Sarge, her sister’s bichon frise, Tricia Miles is led by the agitated dog to a man lying in a gazebo. She’s startled when she recognizes Pete Renquist, the president of the Stoneham Historical Society, who appears to be suffering from cardiac arrest. When Pete later dies at the hospital, the discovery of a suspicious bruise and a puncture mark on his arm suggests he may have been murdered.
- Title Wave – While her bookstore, Haven’t Got a Clue, is rebuilt following a devastating fire, Tricia Miles and her sister, Angelica, decide to book a cruise for some much-needed R & R. Naturally they choose a Mystery Lovers cruise, where they can ponder whodunit in deck chairs while sipping colorful drinks and soaking up some rays. But the fun is cut short when a fellow passenger is murdered for real. Is the killer a famous mystery author, one of her fans, or a member of the ship’s crew?
- A Just Clause – Tricia Miles is in for a surprise when her ne’er-do-well father, John, comes to town—and promptly becomes a prime suspect in the murder of a woman with her own scandalous past. Even Tricia’s faith in the old man is shaken when the Stoneham police break the news that her father is a known con man who has done jail time.
- Poisoned Pages – Tricia Miles throws a housewarming cocktail party in her new apartment and has cooked all the food by herself. Then one of her guests is poisoned and dies. Tricia’s left to wonder if her cooking is to blame or if there’s something much more sinister at play. Either way, Tricia’s once again in hot water with her ex-lover, Chief Baker. Meanwhile, the charming town of Stoneham is being disrupted by a vandalism crime wave.
- A Killer Edition – With her assistant, Pixie, picking up more responsibility around the shop, Tricia Miles suddenly has a lot more time on her hands. She decides to join the local animal rescue board and enter the Great Stoneham Bake-Off, but neither pans out as smoothly as she’d hoped. Balancing a bake-off that’s heating up with a frosty reception from the board, Tricia stops by Joyce Whitman’s romance bookstore looking for a book to get her fired up. She stumbles on something hot, but it’s an argument between Joyce and her neighbor Vera Olson instead of a steamy read. When Vera turns up dead in Joyce’s garden hours later, Tricia has to wonder—could Joyce be the killer?
- Handbook for Homicide – Haven’t Got A Clue bookshop owner Tricia Miles’s relationship is on the rocks. After a not-so-fun vacation with her on-again-off-again lover, Marshall Cambridge, Tricia’s hoping for smooth sailing back in Stoneham. Unfortunately, Booktown greets her not with blue skies but with another body. When Tricia’s assistant manager, Pixie, finds homeless vet Susan Morris’s body behind Haven’t Got A Clue, Pixie’s checkered past makes her the prime suspect.
- A Deadly Deletion – Tricia Miles has just received a second marriage proposal within fifteen minutes. The first was from her friend with benefits, Marshall Chambers, and the second from her ex-lover, police chief Grant Baker. Tricia’s got some serious thinking to do. She’s still weighing her options when she hears the sound of an engine roaring down Main Street. It’s a big white pickup truck that aims for and hits Marshall as he’s walking back to his apartment. Tragically, he’s killed. Tricia retreats to her sister’s apartment to wait for Baker to update her on what happened. While there, Tricia takes Angelica’s dog out for a comfort call behind the building, and the same white pickup roars up the alley and just misses hitting Tricia. Tricia’s on the hunt for a killer, and it seems like she might be next on the list.
- Clause of Death – Things are changing in the booktown, and some merchants would say not for the better. They grumble that too many non-book-related stores are moving into the village, taking up the most visible storefronts on Main Street, diluting the “Booktown” moniker. Of course, the members with other businesses, like the latest, The Bee’s Knees, are fine with other businesses moving in. No matter what side of the argument they’re on, all the business owners agree on one thing: Tricia and Angelica are to blame. Still, it’s a pretty typical day in the life of a small-town Chamber of Commerce until one of the disgruntled bookstore owners is killed.
- A Questionable Character – It’s a busy summer in Booktown. Contractor Jim Stark is in great demand: he’s overseeing a number of projects, including Angelica Miles’s newly constructed building on Main Street, finishing up the new brew pub, and gutting a stone mansion off Main Street that Angelica bought to be the world headquarters for Nigela Ricita Asssociates. It’ll house office space where her marketing staff and the rest of the NR Associates clerical personnel will work. Tricia Miles and Angelica arrive at the mansion before their workday to see how the construction is going. They find the place unlocked and Stark’s right-hand man, Sanjay Arya, dead—bludgeoned to death. The
If you like Booktown Mystery, you may also want to see our Bibliophile Mystery reading order, or our guide to Sofie Kelly’s books (or Sofie Ryan’s). Don’t hesitate to follow us on Twitter or Facebook to discover more book series.