cover image A Just Clause: A Booktown Mystery

A Just Clause: A Booktown Mystery

Lorna Barrett. Berkley Prime Crime, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-0-399-58591-3

Set in Stoneham, N.H., a town that rivals Hay-on-Wye as a destination for book lovers, Barrett’s delightful 11th Booktown mystery (after 2016’s Title Wave) opens at a signing party for thriller writer Steven Richardson at Haven’t Got a Clue, a bookstore owned by the intelligent and inquisitive Tricia Miles. The event is marred by the surprise arrival of Tricia’s ne’er-do-well father, John Miles, and the slap in the face he receives from Carol Talbot, a recent widow and Tricia’s rival in the village darts competition. Shortly after closing the shop, Tricia and her sister, Angelica, owner of the Booked for Lunch café, find Carol dead; an autographed copy of Steven’s book is nearby. It doesn’t take long for Grant Baker, chief of the Stoneham PD and Tricia’s former flame, to suspect John of the murder. With wit and verve, Barrett smoothly blends the story lines involving Tricia’s dysfunctional family with her investigations into the death of Carol and of another seemingly upstanding member of the community. [em]Agent: Jessica Faust, BookEnds. (June) [/em]