cover image Poisoned Pages: A Booktown Mystery

Poisoned Pages: A Booktown Mystery

Lorna Barrett. Berkley Prime Crime, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-0-451-48983-8

Barrett’s lightweight 12th mystery set in Stoneham, N.H.—a town that rivals Hay-on-Wye as a haven for book lovers (after 2017’s A Just Clause)—finds Tricia Miles, owner of the Haven’t Got a Clue bookshop, hosting a housewarming party at her newly refurbished apartment over the shop. All is going swimmingly until one of Tricia’s guests drops dead from what looks like an allergic reaction to something in the canapes she prepared. Attempted murder, blackmail, threats, cruel pranks, and vicious gossip follow in the wake of this suspicious death, but the really pressing questions that arise are more personal. Will Pixie, a clerk at the bookshop, get a new job? Will Mr. Everett and his wife adopt a cat from the animal shelter? Will Tricia become president of the chamber of commerce? What will Angelica, Tricia’s entrepreneurial sister and gifted chef, whip up for dinner? These issues—oh, and the murder—will be resolved over chilled martinis and glasses of pinot grigio. Despite the lame plot, fans of food-focused cozies will be rewarded. Agent: Jessica Faust, BookEnds. (July)