This month, the mystery book club I host chose to read Lorna Barrett’s Bookmarked for Death.
Set in the fictional New Hampshire town of Stoneham, the Booktown Mystery series features Tricia Miles, propietor of a mystery bookstore. In this second book in the series, Tricia hosts an author signing, but the featured author turns up dead in Tricia’s shop. Naturally, Tricia is on the case. It’s a search for motive and suspects who may have wanted Zoe Carter dead. Was she killed because of an embezzlement scheme a decade ago, or was she killed because, as it’s been rumored, she didn’t write her bestselling books?
Bookmarked for Death is an average cozy. I readily admit cozies are not my favorite type of mystery. Too many characters were introduced in the first chapter too haphazardly. Some of them didn’t appear again in the book until much later. I also had a difficult time identifying possible suspects. Most of the characters seemed to be series regulars. Unfortunately, I didn’t really connect with them. There were few moments where I felt the characters and story “came alive” and really held my interest. But the discussions about the town’s problem with too many geese got tiresome, detracting from the mystery.
Without giving the ending away, I did feel that the author didn’t quite play fair. Some suspects and motives are introduced too late and too close to the reveal, giving the reader no real chance at solving the crime.
I like the concept of the story, but I feel Carolyn G. Hart does it better in her Death on Demand series.
The book includes a few recipes. Personally, I find this rather gimmicky. So many mystery series now seem to include recipes, but I fail to see where many of them offer original dishes. Some of the recipes included in Bookmarked for Death appeared generic to me, and ones I’d easily find elsewhere. Some of them didn’t even appear to be mentioned in the actual story! Or if they were, they weren’t integral.
Cozy fans may like this, but those who prefer a strong puzzle plot will not.