cover image A Fatal Chapter

A Fatal Chapter

Lorna Barrett. Berkley Prime Crime, $25.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-425-25266-6

Near the start of Barnett’s engrossing ninth Booktown mystery (after 2014’s Book Clubbed), Tricia Miles, the proprietor of By Hook or By Book, a bookstore in Stoneham, N.H., takes her sister Angelica’s dog, Sarge, for a walk. While passing near the gazebo in the town square, the animal starts to bark and strain at his leash. Sarge leads Tricia to the gazebo, where she discovers a man lying face down, apparently suffering from a heart attack. She recognizes him as Pete Renquist, the president of the local historical society. His only words to her are the enigmatic “I never missed my little boy.” Pete dies in the hospital, where newly discovered wounds on his arm indicate murder. Tricia and Angelica set out to find out whodunit at considerable risk to their own lives. Credible characters lead realistic lives in a cozy that will make readers feel very much a part of the idyllic town of Stoneham. Agent: Jessica Faust, BookEnds. (June)