#FlashbackFriday – Handbook for Homicide (A Booktown Mystery) by Lorna Barrett #Review / #Giveaway @BerkleyMystery @LornaBarrett

On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.

Handbook for Homicide (A Booktown Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
14th in Series
Setting – New Hampshire
Berkley (July 21, 2020)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1984802755
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1984802750
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Berkley (June 1, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1984802763
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1984802767
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B081M7J5FF

Tricia Miles must swim against the tide to catch a killer when Haven’t Got A Clue’s assistant manager is accused of murder in the latest entry to Lorna Barrett’s New York Times bestselling Booktown series.

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. Tricia sets out to clear Pixie’s name armed with only an anchor insignia earring found at the scene of the crime.

As Tricia digs deeper she discovers Susan was involved in a scandal right before retiring from the Navy—but since nobody in the village knows Susan, even Tricia’s one lead is in danger of drying up. With family drama brewing in the background and all of Stoneham convinced her manager is a murderer, Tricia knows she has to get to the bottom of the case soon before Pixie’s life is sunk.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Haven’t Got A Clue bookshop owner Tricia Miles was excited to travel to Ireland with Marshal Cambridge but the entire trip was a bust. Her return home to Stoneham was also far from perfect. She learns that while she was gone someone tried to break into her bookshop and that her sister had bunion surgery while she was gone. But the thing that tops the list is the dead body Pixie found in the dumpster. Tricia barely had time to catch her breath before police chief Grant Baker was flinging questions at both her and Pixie. The deceased, Susan Morris was living in her car, and Pixie had tried to help her in the past. Knowing the deceased, the location of where the body was found, and Pixie’s criminal record makes her a prime suspect. Tricia knows Pixie had nothing to do with Susan’s death. She just has to prove it. That is not easy when hardly anyone knew the victim.

Ms. Barrett takes on a hot topic within the pages of this book, homeless vets. When Tricia found out the victim was homeless it opened her eyes. She visits a nearby encampment and meets several other homeless vets. She talks to the leader of the group, Hank Curtis about Susan and learns why he is living the way he is. She has an idea that may help him into a better situation. Angelica may be sidelined from her surgery but that doesn’t mean she can’t make things happen. Mr. Everett and his wife Grace are also doing good things around the town too. I love Pixie and her energy even when she is a murder suspect. She and Mr. Everett can keep the bookshop completely under control while Tricia does some investigating.

Again, the author has packed the pages of the book with all kinds of drama. Tricia’s romantic life really outshined the murder mystery. Almost every page had Tricia ruminating about the direction of her life. That being said the murder mystery was easy to solve. The clues were all there early in the story. Tricia didn’t give up and had her a-ha moment at an inopportune time. I did enjoy how the entire story panned out. The pace to be a little slow in places and some of the actions felt forced but we are at the 14th book of this series so the characters pulled us through.

I love the Stoneham setting. A classic small town with a mission to make it the best place it can be to draw in tourists. I do wish there was more diversity in the business owners. Angelica or her alter ego Nigela Ricita owns almost everything in town and sometimes it gets a little boring that she can just throw money at a problem or an issue and fix it right up.

Handbook for Homicide is an interesting cozy mystery with characters that continue to grow in a place that can be chaotic or idyllic depending on the day.

There was a bit of a cliffhanger at the end of this book so I was really looking forward to reading A Deadly Deletion but after reading the synopsis I am going to put it off for a while. Tricia has been unhappy in her life throughout the last few books and I was hoping she would find happiness in the next book but that is not in the cards for her anytime soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent
Find out more about Lorna and her books on her webpage here.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”