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Murder Is Binding Mass Market Paperback – April 1, 2008

193 customer reviews
Book 1 of 9 in the A Booktown Mystery Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Stoneham, N.H., the picturesque setting of the pseudonymous Barrett's charming first in a new series, boasts a newly renovated main street devoted to a variety of bookstores. When Tricia Miles—mystery bookstore proprietor and city refugee—discovers her unpleasant cookbook store neighbor stabbed to death and a rare book missing, Tricia soon finds herself under the sheriff's surveillance and dubbed the village jinx. Determined to clear her name and track down the stolen cookbook, Tricia enlists a few friendly locals to aid in her investigation. When her difficult older sister, Angelica, arrives unexpectedly, Tricia worries she's in for another headache, but Angelica turns out to be a willing conspirator in Tricia's search for answers. The mix of books, cooking and an engaging whodunit will leave cozy fans eager for the next installment. (Apr.)
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"Move over Cabot Cove. Lorna Barrett's new cozy creation, Murder Is Binding, has it all: wonderful old books, quirky characters, a clever mystery, and a cat named Miss Marple!" --Roberta Isleib, author of Preaching to the Corpse and the Advice Column Mysteries "A mystery bookstore in a sleepy New England town, a cat named Miss Marple, a nasty murder and a determined heroine make Barrett's delightful debut mystery everything a cozy lover could want and more. Bravo!" --Leann Sweeney, author of the Yellow Rose Mystery Series

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (April 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425219585
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425219584
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (193 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #230,888 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

The immensely popular Booktown Mystery series is what put Lorna Barrett's name on the New York Times Bestseller list, but it's her talent -- whether writing as Lorna, or L.L. Bartlett, or Lorraine Bartlett -- that keeps her there. This multi-published, Agatha-nominated author pens the exciting Jeff Resnick Mysteries as well as the acclaimed Victoria Square Mystery series and has many short stories and novellas to her name(s).

Lorna lives in Rochester, NY with her husband and three felines.

What others are saying about Lorna's books:

"Barrett is skilled at making her characters flawed and fully believable."
--Richard Times-Dispatch

"Tightly plotted and paced to keep you turning the pages, this series is indeed getting better with each book."
--Gumshoe Review

" engaging whodunit."
--Publishers Weekly

"Sheer entertainment. A good rollicking read."
--Roundtable Reviews

Indulge yourself today! Pick up a Lorna Barrett Booktown mystery! For more information about Lorna and her books visit her blog at or her website:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

82 of 87 people found the following review helpful By D. Merrimon Crawford VINE VOICE on April 1, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Lorna Barrett's MURDER IS BINDING introduces the new Booktown Mystery series. A cozy mystery with a mystery bookseller amateur sleuth and a book at the center of the puzzle, this mystery is a fun light read. For mystery enthusiasts, the tribute to the mystery genre itself with mentions of mystery classics from Cornell Woolrich and Ngaio Marsh to Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie makes MURDER IS BINDING a must read. Every good cooking mystery must include recipes, and true to form, Lorna Barrett delights readers with a recipe addendum in the back.

Stoneham, known as the safest town in New Hampshire, was a dying town until the downtown revitalization. Now, the center of town houses genre specialty bookstores and draws in tourists and book collectors. Tricia Miles and her cat Miss Marple run the mystery bookstore, Haven't Got a Clue. When she discovers Doris Gleason, owner of the Cookery, dead in the neighboring bookstore, Tricia sees a new side of Stoneham from the political race threatening to divide long term natives on the town's outskirts and the bookstore newcomers to other simmering jealousies. When another resident has a suspicious car accident, Tricia thinks she might have a lead into the motive behind the murder but who can she trust? Sheriff Adams seems determined to pin the murders on Tricia, the town jinx. Tricia's sister Angelica arrives into town unexpectedly, stirring up the past along with her appetizing dishes.

Lorna Barrett's MURDER IS BINDING is a must read for mystery buffs. Full of first edition classics and tributes to many of the great mystery classics, readers will not only feel the nostalgia of a small town mystery but of their personal reading histories.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Phillips on April 27, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
My six-year-old grandson actually picked this book out for me and told me that it looked good. He was right! That child is a chip right off the block. I looked over his choice and saw that it was about a bookseller that specialized in mystery books and it was set in a small New England town that had based its whole economy on bibliotourism. Stoneham sounds like just the sort of town where I could spend many happy days not to mention many thousands of dollars. I knew right from the start that this would be a book that I was going to like.

As with the first book of any series this one spends a lot of time introducing the reader to the characters and although a few of them do seem to be a bit flat I imagine that they will flesh out some more as the series progresses. It is a delicate line that an author walks in a first in the series book in trying to give the characters enough space to develop without completely losing the plot in the process and this author has done this in quite an acceptable manner. In particular I enjoyed the interaction between the story's main character Tricia and her sister Angelica who shows up in town unannounced and really gets on Tricia's nerves, at least at first. As the story progresses Angelica grows on her sister and on the reader as well as bit-by-bit the reason for her visit becomes apparent.

It may well be this author's background at work but I found that this book actually held to the plot more so than a lot of cozies and that may be why some readers might find the characters a tad shallow. This book was less character driven and more plot driven than a lot of books in this genre but for me at least this method worked well and I found that I very much enjoyed this book.
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50 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Mark Baker - Carstairs Considers HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 27, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Tricia Miles has found life in Stoneham to be a nice change from life in the big city. The historic down town area consists of nothing but bookstores, and running her own mystery bookstore has been a real joy.

But one fall day things change from good to bad. First, her sister Angelica shows up for an unannounced, extended visit. The two sisters have a strained relationship, and Tricia can't wait until she leaves.

Much worse, however, is finding the body of Doris Gleason. Doris owned the cookbook shop next door to Tricia's. She could be quarrelsome, but she didn't deserve to die. Tricia immediately notices that the antique cookbook Doris had just acquired is missing. Was theft the motive? Or was it something more sinister?

I'm of two minds about this debut. On the one hand, I loved it and the setting. What reader wouldn't love the idea of a town devoted to bookstores? And the little details of the book made me smile every time they showed up on the page. The plot twisted in a couple surprising directions. Angelica and Tricia have a complicated relationship, and I could identify with both of them at the same time. And Tricia's employee Ginny and regular customer Mr. Everett are both a delight as well.

On the other hand, this debut had some flaws. The rest of the characters are a little flat. In fact, the characters I already mentioned could be flat at times as well. The ending is too abrupt. While logical, it needed more time to be fully developed. Finally, the writing is okay, but it was often awkward, forcing me to backtrack and reread stuff to make sure I understood.

In the end, I did enjoy the book enough to give the sequel a chance. Hopefully, the problems will be ironed out as the series progresses.
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