cover image Book Clubbed

Book Clubbed

Lorna Barrett. Berkley Prime Crime, $25.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-425-25257-4

Barrett’s eighth Booktown mystery (after 2013’s Not the Killing Type) struggles to keep the series formula fresh, as bookstore owner, and so-called “town jinx,” Tricia Miles investigates yet another death in Stoneham, N.H. This entry’s victim is Betsy Dittmeyer, an ill-tempered secretary at the Chamber of Commerce, whose new president happens to be Tricia’s sister, Angelica. After a bookcase falls on Betsy and kills her, the townspeople learn that she, in true soap opera fashion, had been keeping files containing damaging info on chamber members—and was hiding worse secrets into the bargain. While Tricia probes the suspicious death, she finds herself being romantically pursued by both her ex-husband, Christopher Benson, and former boyfriend, police chief Grant Baker. Readers may be amused by a recurring tic in the writing, in which every attractive man Tricia meets is described as having green eyes. Beyond a plethora of green-eyed males, however, this smalltown cozy does not stand out in its crowded field. Agent: Jessica Faust, BookEnds. (July)