Booked A Sugar Mill Marketplace Mystery By Becky Clark: Review/Giveaway

May 6, 2023 | 2023 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze, Sandra Murphy

by Sandra Murphy

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a Kindle copy of the book and a link to purchase it. We also have a bonus review of Becky’s new novella Rat Race. You can get a free copy of Rat Race on her website.

Booked: A Sugar Mill Marketplace Mystery by Becky Clark
Review by Sandra Murphy

After her friends proved to be unfriendly, Dena Russo relocated to Sugar Mill, Colorado, with plans to open a used bookstore. What could be more fun? The old sugar mill has been partially torn down and the remainder made into a mall. The first floor is rented for now, phase two will take care of the second floor. There will be a bakery, candy maker, a specialty cheese shop, and a photography studio where clients can dress up in the costumes provided. Cowboys are sure to be a hit. There’s also a resident Cat in Charge, Balaam.

Of course, nothing is perfect. The oven in the bakery doesn’t work, the photographer’s photos are all out of focus, the cat is unfriendly, the candy maker is a sourpuss, and the cheese shop owner second guesses every decision she makes. Dena is excited until the day after day work of unboxing used books and pricing them wears her down. There’s a weird man who offers to sell her books for the store, the landlord who is a chauvinist pig and doesn’t fix anything from leases to wiring, and a rumor the Mill is haunted.

So, what could go wrong?

A dead body with about a week until the mall opens is a real downer, especially since all the tenants are suspects. Since Dena’s daughter, Charlee, is a mystery writer, Dena decides to try to piece together the clues as to whether it was an accident or murder. A second death doesn’t help matters. If rumors spread that there’s a killer shop owner, will it doom the mall? None of them can afford that.

This is the first in a new series, a spinoff of Charlee’s Mystery Writer’s Mysteries. The characters are an eclectic bunch—the baker brings her four kids to the mall with her, the cheese lady is younger and uncertain, the photo booth couple much older, the candy maker has a crush on the cheese lady, and they’re all going a bit crazy getting their stores ready for the opening.

The mystery is a good one with clues and red herrings scattered throughout with plenty of laughter as well. I got all the way to the reveal before realizing several items I’d barely registered were not background information but very big mystery-solving clues. Very sneaky! And all along, the cat knew who dun it but never told. After all, it was time for his lunch.

Look for Plotted and Bound to launch in December 2023.

Rat Race: A Sugar Mill Marketplace Mystery Novella by Becky Clark
Review by Sandra Murphy

Dena Russo is lucky. She has a daughter and son, good friends, and a best friend, Georgia. When it’s Georgia’s birthday, she’s not shy about saying she’d like to have a scavenger hunt surprise, and it should be the next day.

That leaves Dena and her daughter Charlee scrambling to plan where to hide the clues, and at the last location, where to hide Georgia’s gift. Dena bought her a beautiful necklace and hid it at their final destination, their favorite coffee shop.

When Georgia opens the gift, it’s not a necklace inside. It’s her worst fear.

Dena and Charlee can’t understand who could have, would have, made the switch. Unfortunately, Georgia doesn’t believe her and the rest of their friends take Georgia’s side.

With Charlee as the only one who believes Dena, and the only one who is still speaking to her, Dena’s determined to find the guilty party and the motive.

For readers of the Charlee Russo series, this novella is a bridge between those stories and the new series featuring Dena.

Dena is someone you’d want as a friend. Charlee writes mysteries so she’d be fun to meet too. Even better is what’s in store for Dena next. Look for Booked to find out just what that is. (see review above)

To enter to win a Kindle copy of Booked, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “booked” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 13, 2023. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase the book. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the Amazon link. You can also click here to purchase the book.

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch in St. Louis Missouri. She’s editor for Peace, Love, and Crime: Crime Stories Inspired by the Songs of the ’60s, with twenty-two cozy stories. She also edited A Murder of Crows, twenty-one stories featuring animals and crime (no animals were harmed). She also writes for magazines, newsletters, and the occasional guest blog. Both anthologies are available at the usual outlets, print or ebook.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Sounds interesting! Count me in!

  2. I love Becky Clark!! Thanks for the opportunity!

  3. This sounds so good!

  4. I would love to read it! Thank you for the chance!!

  5. We have a winner!


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