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The Body on the Barstool (Top Shelf Mysteries Book 1) Kindle Edition
Title: The Body on the Barstool (A Top Shelf Mystery)
Author: Lolli Powell
Star Rating: 5 Stars
Number of Readers: 21Editing: 9/10
Writing Style: 9/10
A wonderfully inventive mystery. A Bronze Medal Winner andhighly recommended.' The Wishing Shelf Book Awards
Of the 21 readers:
21 would read another book by this author.
21 thought the cover was good or excellent.
21 felt it was easy to follow.
21 would recommend this story to another reader to try.
15 felt the author's strongest skill was 'plotting a story'.
6 felt the author's strongest skill was 'developing thecharacters'.
20 felt the pacing was good or excellent.
21 thought the author understood the readership and what theywanted.
Such a fun writer. I loved it.' Female reader, aged 32
I liked the mystery element, but it was the bar setting Ienjoyed the most. Excellent cover.' Male reader, aged 28
Ricki is a wonderful character. What a lovely, cosy mysterythis is. Unpredictable and thoroughly entertaining.' Malereader, aged 64
Pacing is excellent with tons of twists. I loved every wordof it. The sort of book you can curl up with.' Female reader,aged 45
A gentle mystery is the best way to describe this. Very wellstructured too. This author is a very good planner.' Malereader, aged 74
From the Author
- ASIN : B01N3KIINE
- Publisher : Laurel Heidtman; 1st edition (November 30, 2016)
- Publication date : November 30, 2016
- Language : English
- File size : 614 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 314 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #196,584 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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She feels like she doesn't quite fit in when she changes some things on the menu--craft beer instead of the old cheap stuff, for example--but she retains much of the old staff, including Victor, the cook, and Ginny the waitress.
Written in first person, this novel gets right down to the nitty-gritty of Ricki's thoughts. She's snarky and witty, revealing her true New York City self. She lives in an apartment over the bar with her cat, Jasper. One day, she goes downstairs to open the place (Ricki's Top Shelf), only to discover that her ex-husband, who's now married to a man, is dead, stabbed to death with one of the knives that belongs to the bar. Readers hear her many internal questions as she calls 9-1-1, and as she has her first encounter with two Waterton detectives, one of whom she finds very attractive, the other she finds useless. She gives them each a nickname; conversely, one of them leaves looking at her as a suspect, the other knowing she's not a suspect at all.
The owner of the local newspaper jumps into the scene. He wants a scoop. He starts snooping around, asking strange questions about her late uncle. Her late ex-husband's husband from New York City comes to Waterton to be questioned about the murder. He's an attractive gay man who fits right into the bar scene and helps Ricki and her employees as they do their day-to-day business. Business booms as the locals want to visit the bar where the murder took place.
The plot takes many more turns, and I don't want to reveal where the novel goes. Suffice it to say that many surprises jump out as I read it, and the sarcastic remarks from Ricki's internal monologues enhance every incident. She continues flirting not only with one detective, Gabriel Russell (whom she's nicknamed "Eyebrows," based on his sexy eyebrows), but also with the owner of the newspaper, Logan Russell. Tension arises between the two of them throughout the novel, not only over Ricki, but over several other things that occur.
I'm not usually a big mystery fan; however, I immediately loved Ricki the character and her sarcastic wit, her inner monologues about what was happening around her, her ability to handle people and guess (not always successfully) what would happen next. She's a fighter, a survivor, a bold, intense woman, but someone with a sense of humor when things don't go her way. Whether confronting New York City mobsters, running out of liquor in the bar, dealing with conspiracy theories, or sorting out matters of the heart, Ricki's got it under control. She may not believe it all the time, but she's got it.
This is a fun, unpredictable book, and I simply love this writer's style. Go, Ricki, go!
Writers of cozy mysteries forego two of the primary marketing draws of many books – sex and violence – putting more pressure on…well, everything else. The Body on the Barstool delivers on all these fronts.
The pacing and suspense are good, as Ricki moves from suspect to suspect, never really letting the reader settle on anyone. As I tried to out-guess the author, I found myself suspecting just about everyone before the truth came out. Development of the setting is excellent. I felt like I could draw a map of small-town Ohio where the story was set. Character development was also strong. As the story is first person, all the quirks and idiosyncrasies of Ricki, in particular, come to life. And she has a few.
But the aspect of this story that really sold me was the humor. Sense of humor is idiosyncratic, but the author hit mine perfectly – Ricki’s sardonic view of herself, her friends, and her world kept me laughing until the very end. If you can read how Ricki felt about crying in public or her description of the police detective investigating the case and not at least smile, you’re a tougher audience than I am.
So, if you are a fan of cozy mysteries, and especially if you like characters with a somewhat sarcastic view of life, you’ll enjoy The Body on the Barstool. I know I did.
That said, there have been a number of authors since Dame Agatha's heyday that have managed to capture the essence of murder writ small; writers who have been able to give their readers a real sense of the rhythm of life in villages and towns where crime is not an everyday occurrence and police departments are not equipped with all the latest forensic tools that New York or London detectives can draw upon.
It's my opinion that Lolli Powell is a member in good standing of that sorority of writers who have picked up the Christie mantle. As proof of that claim, I offer her mystery "The Body on the Barstool" as Exhibit "A." In it, Powell introduces us to Ricki Fontaine, a transplanted New Yorker who is running a bar in Waterton,Ohio; a town whose entire population would fit in the bleachers at Yankee Stadium. Ricki is one of my favorite kinds of protagonists - a regular person. She's not a super-sleuth, not a Playboy model, nor is she a kung-fu master, or a crack shot with a handgun. Instead, she's a hard-working normal human being. She's smart, she's loyal, and she gets tired after a long day on the job. She's divorced and wonders if she's going to meet someone she can fall in love with, but she's not some starry-eyed teenager who spends her days and nights wishing she had a boyfriend.
More importantly, she's a woman who does what most regular people do when they are confronted by awful circumstances - she soldiers on. That makes her very easy to relate to as a character.
"The Body on the Bar Stool" also features some very interesting secondary characters and I give Powell credit for taking the time and effort to make them three dimensional rather than simply creating cardboard cutouts whose only purpose is to hang around so the protagonist can bounce quotes off them. There's a hunky police detective, the editor of the small town's paper, a waitress with a secret, a cook who makes damn good vegetable soup, and a few others who help to bring the community of Waterton, Ohio alive.
Powell's narrative style is very smooth; pages flow easily from chapter to chapter in a natural rhythm making this a quick read despite the fact it's a little longer than many other novels in this genre. That's a tribute to Powell's writing and her ability to craft the story. The plot is well thought out and believable. I won't say much about the plot because it's not my intention to spoil the experience for those that haven't yet read this very entertaining mystery. I will say, however, that at its root is a complex mystery with some nice twists and turns and more than a few red herrings.
The verdict: A really excellent read by a writer who really knows how to tell a story.
Top reviews from other countries
Starting a new life and a new image for her bar is her new goal till she opens her bar and sees somebody already sitting on a barstool. When she finds out that that "somebody" is her former husband (with whom she is still on friendly terms) it becomes a whole new ballgame.
Very entertaining and funny and full of surprises.