by Sandra Murphy
Details at the end of this post on how to win a copy of Fatal Chapter and a link to purchase the book.
Tricia owns the bookstore in town. Unfortunately, it was set on fire and the first floor—where all the books are—was a total loss due to the flames, smoke, and water damage. Six months later, the insurance company is still “dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s” on its investigation. Since she lived above the store, Tricia is homeless, paying rent on the whole building, and on the hook for all repairs. Her landlord is Bob, her sister Angelica’s former boyfriend. It wasn’t an amicable breakup and he’s thrilled to take out his revenge via Tricia’s misfortune.
While she waits for the insurance company to get around to making out a check, Tricia’s in limbo—in the form of volunteering at the local chamber of commerce. There’s plenty of work to do, but she wants to go home to the store, her apartment, her life.
When the head of the historical society is found (by Tricia, of course) half-dead in the park, it’s assumed to be a heart attack… until the police chief hears Pete’s last words. Pete dies at the hospital, mourned by many, though not by one: it was murder. An attack on his replacement and then on a bartender lead Tricia to conclude that it had to have something to do with the historical society. But what?
There are minor mysteries, too. Who cut all the flowers off the hanging baskets around the town square? Who’s the mysterious benefactor helping the town become more prosperous, even making dreams come true? Not everyone’s happy with that—higher taxes, more tourists, more traffic.
Tricia’s personal life is an equal mess. There’s Grant, the police chief—too boring. Christopher, the ex-husband—been there, done that and (mostly) over it. Tricia is reduced to re-reading mysteries with her cat Miss Marple sitting on her lap. If it weren’t for hearing about Pixie’s new boyfriend, Tricia would have no social life at all. (Pixie is a bookstore employee, now working in Angelica’s restaurant and at the chamber of commerce too. The benefactor at work, again.)
Tricia is not one to take senseless risks. She asks a few questions here and there and dutifully reports her findings back to Grant. If she could just get her landlord off her back, things would be a lot calmer. He’s in legal trouble and needs money, so he’s decided Tricia should buy the burned-out bookstore—at a premium price. After all, it will be a really nice building… after she also pays for the renovation! He’s desperate enough to start calling her insurance agent every day, urging a payoff so he can talk her into the sale. Not going to happen.
Barrett brings the small town to life, making it a place you’d want to go for the day. You might even, like so many others, consider moving there to enjoy the slower pace where friends count as family. Angelica used to be in Tricia’s business way too much but has calmed down. Pixie is a fun character, ex-convict, ex-roller derby queen, and bargain-price fashionista. Christopher is annoying, but so cute that he gets away with it. Grant? Tricia pegged him right as being too serious. Limbo, as in waiting for life to restart, is a hard place to be. It’s good to be surrounded by friends and family along the way.
This is the ninth book in the series. The characters have developed nicely and have gained depth as they go along. There’s hope that Tricia may even learn to cook. Look for recipes for Snickerdoodles, carrot cake with maple frosting, shrimp pasta salad, black bean soup, and curried deviled eggs, courtesy of Angelica—who is a great cook.
To enter to win a copy of Fatal Chapter, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Chapter,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen July 18, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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