Customer Reviews


151 Reviews
5 star:
 (57)
4 star:
 (61)
3 star:
 (18)
2 star:
 (12)
1 star:
 (3)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


77 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Small town cozy mystery with mystery bookseller sleuth
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...
Published on April 1, 2008 by D. Merrimon Crawford

versus
45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A New Book on Murder
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...
Published on May 27, 2008 by Mark Baker


‹ Previous | 1 216 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

77 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Small town cozy mystery with mystery bookseller sleuth, April 1, 2008
This review is from: Murder Is Binding (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. Lorna Barrett's research into the bookseller trade flows in the smallest details from the details of book sources and different types of booksellers to the antiquarian and rare book standards for packaging books.

Tricia Miles is a wonderful sleuth. With each new trail, the reader catches a glimpse of a woman who cares for others and justice beyond just clearing her name even to the point of endangering her own safety. Tricia's relationship with her sister Angelica adds depth to the characterization as Tricia battles a history of sibling rivalry at the same time as she gains a mystery sidekick who amuses and endears the reader to the sisters. To the reader's delight, the mystery details and resolution provide several twists until the very end. Lorna Barrett gives readers a delicious mix of small town family jealousies and undercurrents beneath the surface complemented by heart-warming scenes, all brought together by Doris Gleason's murder. After reading Lorna Barrett's MURDER IS BINDING, the first in the Booktown Mystery series, readers might just find themselves hoping that this small town will forever shed the distinction of safest town to make way for more Booktown mysteries!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If Only Stoneham Were a Real Place, April 27, 2008
By 
This review is from: Murder Is Binding (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. I must admit that I did find some annoying grammatical errors in this book especially when it came to comma usage. I suspect that in some new school of thought that has come into vogue since my school days that this type of comma usage is preferred but it doesn't read well and often took my mind away from the story at hand. Having found this same thing in another Berkley book that I have recently completed I also suspect that this is the work of an editor rather than the author but wherever it comes from it did take away from the overall very positive feeling that I have for this book.

Beyond the grammatical errors though I really did like this book and enjoyed my trip to "Booktown" a great deal. The mystery flowed well, the plot was solid and believable and the ending was quite exciting. I just wish that Miss Marple the cat had been given a more prominent role. She reminded me very much of my own cat with an attitude.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A New Book on Murder, May 27, 2008
By 
Mark Baker (Santa Clarita, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Murder Is Binding (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stoneham Fun, April 10, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Murder Is Binding (Mass Market Paperback)
What a wonderful new addition to the cozy mystery genre. No need to do much in the way of recapping as it has been admirably done by others. I liked, by and large, Ms. Barrett's characters. They were not all wearing the usual black and white hats. Some actually wore gray in that you might feel one way about them at first but that could change. Tricia is the spunky heroine who owns the town's mystery bookstore and her loud and obnoxious sister, Angelica, has decided she is going to move to Stoneham--much to Tricia's dismay and chagrin. Looking down the road, I can see this "Snoop Sister" act--with their sparring and dichotomous ways--entertaining us throughout. I don't necessarily agree, as has been indicated, that this tale takes us through the mystery book genre and author world as might have been the case. Such a shame. I was rather hoping for a cozy rendition of John Dunning/Cliff Janeway... Even though I don't usually enjoy books with cooking and recipe sharing, it was fairly subtly done. Mr. Everett is a very likeable Stoneham resident and comes across as the town's moral compass. I even like the cat--except for the name. The sobriquet, Miss Marple, is a bit heavy handed.

The only thing I found ridiculously out of touch with reality was the sheriff's character. There is no way that a sheriff facing an election is going to treat a seemingly upstanding business owner they way Wendy (the sheriff) treated Tricia.

That aside, the book was well crafted and a pleasure to read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Looking forward to the next, April 2, 2008
This review is from: Murder Is Binding (Mass Market Paperback)
Every once in awhile, a nice cozy-ish mystery is exactly what is needed to fill a cold, rainy Saturday and MURDER IS BINDING fits the order nicely. What better way to spend an afternoon than with a freshly single bookseller, a store cat, a interfering sister, and a sheriff who seems to be wearing blinkers? Lorna Barrett's MURDER IS BINDING, a cozy that isn't quite a cozy, is a treat in every way.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Books, Bookstores, New England and Murder, September 25, 2008
By 
This review is from: Murder Is Binding (Mass Market Paperback)
From time to time when I need some fluff, I enjoy a good cozy mystery. Loving books, bookstores and life in a sleepy New England town, Murder is Binding, by Lorna Barrett, seemed like the perfect book for me. It is the first book in Booktown Mystery Series. I was not disappointed.

Set in fictional Stoneham, N.H., the streets in this town are lined with bookstores (my dream town). Tricia Miles is a mystery bookshop owner, who soon becomes a suspect when a fellow bookstore owner, Doris Gleason is murdered---stabbed to death and a rare cookbook is missing. Determined to clear her name, Tricia, and some other locals help her to try and clear her name.

This was a really fun cozy mystery. The book had quirky characters, was plot driven, and had me anxious to turn the pages. I can't wait for the second installment: Bookmarked for Death, scheduled to be released in February of 2009.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get A Clue with this Fascinating New Cozy Series!, April 7, 2008
By 
C. A. Hopkins (The gorgeous Rockies) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Murder Is Binding (Mass Market Paperback)
Well, I already knew that L.B. could write a mean paranormal thriller, but the question was whether or not she could pull off a cozy - something much more lighthearted and fun than her usual hard-boiled fare. No worries - it's as if she's been writing about Stoneham, the Safest Town in New Hampshire, and its interesting inhabitants all her life. Cozy lovers should definitely add the new Booktown Mysteries to their not-to-be-missed lists!

Tricia Miles is a successful businesswoman who moved to the safe little village of Stoneham, New Hampshire following a painful divorce. As part of a downtown renovation project to revitalize the village, Tricia and several other booksellers were wooed to open up shop along Main Street. The new businesses helped give the town a new lease on life - but too bad for Doris Gleason, owner of the The Cookery, it didn't work both ways! While Tricia is giving her sister, Angelica, the 50-cent tour of her new digs, they discover the body of the recently deceased Doris - with a knife sticking out her back.

As it turns out, Doris hasn't exactly endeared herself to the other booksellers, or anyone else for that matter, so there is an abundance of people who disliked her, although circumstantial evidence starts to point toward Tricia as a possible suspect. Tricia continues to be in the wrong place at the wrong time as Stoneham's nickname, the Safest Town in New Hampshire, becomes more and more of a misnomer.

The entire book is wonderfully descriptive, the characters fascinating and 3-dimensional, the plot exquisitely complex, and L.B.'s painstaking attention to detail doesn't go unnoticed (check out the facade of Haven't Got a Clue on the cover)! In addition, there is the added bonus of Tricia and Angelica's interesting and complicated sibling relationship. The way they were able to put aside past history to work together when push came to shove was touching. It made me ache for the company of my own sisters!

There are an awful lot of new series to choose from in the cozy mystery subgenre these days, but if you're debating about which one to add to your TBR list, I'd recommend putting Murder is Binding at the top!

Carol Ann Hopkins 4/7/2008
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit of throat clearing before getting down to business, December 4, 2008
By 
L. E. Cantrell (Vancouver, British Columbia Canada) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Murder Is Binding (Mass Market Paperback)
Oh, gee, just what we all need, a cozy mystery about a woman who runs a smalltown bookstore that sells only mysteries! Perhaps now we can look forward to a new series of books about a young woman in, say, New Jersey who takes up bounty hunting, or maybe another one about a woman in Southern California who operates a small-time detective agency. (Hm ... here's an idea: one might have titles that progress through the alphabet while the other uses numbers.)

This first book of a proposed new series is all about setting the scene, introducing characters and establishing relationships. By the standards of detective fiction, the mystery element of "Murder is Binding" is rather anemic, although perhaps a bit closer to crimes in real life. After all, the master criminals who use elaborate, diabolical plots and exotic, untraceable poisons must be few and far between compared to the simple, untaught toilers who simply bash their victims over the head in commonplace back alleys.

Some Amazon reviewers, I see, dislike the author's word-smithing--her style, her punctuation, that sort of thing. And, yes, this book is a bit more crude than many exemplars of the cozy mystery. On the other hand, how many times have we seen writers heap praise to the highest heavens upon their editors for helping to shape their works? I see no reason why some honest, hard-working and, needless to say, underpaid editorial drudge should not pull up his or her sleeves to put in some real work on the second volume of this series.

(This type of aid is by no means limited to cozy mysteries. There is something truly epic about the way Maxwell Perkins, greatest of all American editors, carved minor masterpieces out of the endless reams of glop submitted by Thomas Wolfe. And no doubt, unless the author burns it all first, some other editor is going to do the same thing for the enormous but still unpublished output of a famously reclusive writer when he finally catches his last in the rye.)

"Murder is Binding" isn't much as it stands, but it may yet prove to hold potential as the author expands both the series and herself as a writer.

I think this is a three-star book, but I look forward to volume two of the series with a certain amount of hope.

LEC/AM/11-08
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun New Series, May 6, 2008
This review is from: Murder Is Binding (Mass Market Paperback)
This shapes up to be a fun new series. The mystery bookstore owner is a fun sleuth along with her very different sister. The idea of a mystery owner as a sleuth is similar to that of Carolyn Hart's Death on Demand series and those who enjoy that SC series will also enjoy this NH series.

The concept of a bookstore town is fun to consider and offers lots of potential for this series.

The mystery was fairly easy to spot, but hopefully the mysteries will improve as the series continues. With the first one done, and the sleuth done being the main suspect, we should expect some braching out in the future.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars MURDER IS BINDING, July 14, 2009
By 
Marlene Homer (Las Vegas,, NV United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I posted my original review in July, 2009. It is now, July, 2010. Because I am a Joanne Fluke fan, the similarities between Barrett's Tricia Miles and Fluke's Hannah Swensen jumped off the pages at me.

Both women live in cold-weather states. Both own and operate a small business. Both are assisted by sweet, younger, engaged-to-be-married women who are probable business partners. Both have more than one love interest. Both are owned by cats. Both are over-shadowed by siblings who also are business women. Both are confronted with Alzheimer's through interraction with their characters.

In the end, Barrett seemed a poor imitation of Fluke. But in the end I realized that I had turned a minor flaw into the major focus and a review into a list of small-minded comments. I apologize!

Booksellers are invited to the small town of Stoneham, New Hampshire, to open shops and come to the rescue of a dying town. Tricia Miles is newly divorced. She needs the town and town welcomes her and her mystery bookshop, HAVEN'T GOT A CLUE. Welcomes her that is, until she discovers the body of DORIS GLEASON, owner of THE COOKERY. She must find clues. She must find a murderer or be blamed and be considered a jinx.

I like some of the other shop names as well, HAVE A HEART, HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF, HAPPY DOMESTICS, BOOKSHELF DINER. I love Miss Marple, Tricia's cat. Every cozy should have a cat in it. But, most importantly, I love Barrett's characterizations of the elderly. She cares deeply. Her depictions are compassionate and realistic. Examples follow:

(1)Characters - Tricia and her sister, Angelica
" ' Surely the address is wrong, ' Angelica said. 'Shouldn't it be 221B?'
'I didn't know you'd read Dr. Watson's stories.'
'Please! Grandmother bored me to tears with them before you were born.'
Tricia had never been bored when Grandmother had read her Sir Arthur's stories. As a child, she hadn't always understood them - but she'd loved the sound of all those wonderful words and her grandmother's voice." (page 36)

(2)Characters - Tricia and her friend, Winnie
"Winnie Wentworth had her own car, so she didn't actually qualify as a 'bag lady.' Then again, from the looks of the contents of the backseat of her bashed and battered 1993 Cadillac Seville, maybe she did live in her car.
Winnie raked a grubby hand through the wiry mass of gray hair on top of her head. Her threadbare clothes were gray, too, either from repeated washings or from not being washed at all. She watched, eagle-eyed, as Tricia sorted through the offerings in her trunk . . . . all good - mostly contemporary - authors, but not the kind Tricia wanted to carry at HAVEN'T GOT A CLUE.
Desperate to find something of worth, Tricia pawed through the books second time." (pages 76-77)

(3)Characters - Tricia and her future employee, Mr. Everett. "As usual, Mr. Everett was waiting outside the door of HAVEN'T GOT A CLUE at 9:55 a.m. on that gray Friday morning. He liked to be the first customer inside the door, although 'customer,' was a misnomer, since so far in the five months the shop had been open he hadn't bought a thing. But he usually only drank one cup of Tricia's free coffee, and, despite haanging around for most of the day, he ate only one or two of the complimentary cookies that she laid out for the paying clientele. And if she and Ginny were busy with customers, Mr. Everett had been known to make a recommendation or two and could knowledgeably talk about any book they had in stock." (pages 144-145).

Now that I've talked knowledgeably about this book, since I actually read the entire book this time around, I thank Lorna Barrett and look forward to the other three titles in the series: (1)BOOKMARKED FOR DEATH (2)BOOKPLATE SPECIAL (3)and due out later this year, CHAPTER & HEARSE.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 216 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Murder Is Binding
Murder Is Binding by Lorna Barrett (Mass Market Paperback - April 1, 2008)
$7.99
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.