It had been voted the safest town in New Hampshire, but then Doris Gleason was found dead in her cookbook store, killed with a kitchen knife. Townsfolk figured it was Doris' rare cookbook that the killer wanted and they soon began to suspect another of the many bookdealers in town, Tricia Miles.
The mystery, written by Lorna Barrett [Penquin Group, $6.99 in paperback], is set in Stoneham, which is "five or 10 minutes down the road from lovely Milford, N.H."
A resident of Upstate New York, Barrett quizzed Milford's library director Michelle Sampson about local color (there are references to "the Oval," Nashua, Concord and more). The artist who created the book's cover, however, seemed not to be familiar with the Milford area.
"Murder Is Binding" is the second in Barrett's Booktown Mystery Series. Her inspiration for novels about towns with serious bookshops came from a little town in Wales, Hay-On-Wye. With 30 bookshops, it's a destination for bibliophiles.
Barrett's book about a small New Hampshire town is charming and page-turningly suspenseful. And how can you not love a mystery with a cat name Miss Marple?
This article appears in the October 2008 issue of New Hampshire Magazine