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A Crafty Killing [Mass Market Paperback]

Lorraine Bartlett
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Feb. 1 2011 Victoria Square Mystery (Book 1)
The last thing Katie Bonner wanted was to become the manager of Artisans Alley. But when her business partner, Ezra Hilton, is found bludgeoned to death, she has no other choice. Business under Ezra has been faltering-but was it enough to provoke someone to murder? Only Kate can find the answer.


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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As always, Lorraine has dished up a great read May 6 2011
By Betty Gelean TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Lorraine Bartlett also writes as Lorna Barrett, accomplished creator of the very popular Booktown series. As Lorraine Bartlett she now has another great cozy series on its way with the new Victorian Square series. "A Crafty Killing" is the 1st in series. There are lots of quirky characters, many equally dedicated characters, and dead bodies are dropping fast. How could so much death suddenly become the main feature of the lowly Artisans Alley?

Katie Bonner is the heroine in this new series, thrust suddenly into the fray when she finds herself both the executor and the largest shareholder in the Alley. Her husband who had taken all their savings and bought a partnership in the Alley had left Katie high and dry in their plans to buy a large home at the edge of Victoria Square and run it as a Bed and Breakfast. Every cent was gone, and Katie had not yet forgiven him as he moved out of the apartment and into Artisans Alley, and subsequently was killed in a car accident, leaving her his share in the partnership

She is not impressed with the police involved in solving the murder. Several possibilities for the murderer, but how to sort them out? There are well-fleshed characters and many of them in this first book. Also a few possibilities for romance, but who to trust, that is the biggest question. Too many people are asking questions, not least of which is Gerald, Ezra's nephew and co-heir with Katie. But even he is lied to.

As always, Lorraine has dished up a great read and very busy plot, busy in that there are many switches in trust, more murders, lots of action aimed toward Katie, and many different personalities, not all of whom are pleased with Katie's ideas.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  80 reviews
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a fabulously flamboyant start to a new series! Feb. 1 2011
By D. Fowler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Katie Bonner had to admit that a corpse was good for business. Everyone and his brother would come rushing into Artisans Alley to see the spot where Ezra Hilton had been bludgeoned to death. It was a good thing that Mary Elliot had found the old coot because frankly, she didn't have the stomach for that sort of thing even though "Artisans Alley--and Ezra--had ruined her marriage." Her dearly departed hubby, Chad, had invested in this "decaying money pit," and after his death she became Ezra's partner. Every last one of the vendors in Artisans considered themselves to be an undiscovered artist, including Peter Ashby in number sixty-four who dealt in "garden statuary," a quaint euphemism for cemetery statues. The ghouls would love his stuff and that X marks the spot hunk of carpet Detective Davenport, the `thank you, ma'am man,' had ripped up at the bottom of the stairs.

After the "Did Mr. Hilton have any enemies?" bit was over Katie had to calm down, pop a peppermint, and get down to business. Things quickly started to hop and bop, including Ida Mitchell's UGH-ly facial wart, one other thing Katie didn't have the stomach for. Ida, who hadn't paid her rent in months, was going to be the first one out the door of Artisans just as soon as she told her boss at Kimper Insurance where to get off. This was business and the very future of Artisans Alley and Victoria Square depended on her. Katie had her eye on a "sumptuous bed-and-breakfast," but a dump that sold objects d'art would have to do. Vance Ingram, Ezra's backup, began to squawk, "You've never shown any interest in this place. What makes you think you can just waltz in her and change everything now?" Try me.

Katie didn't know whodunit, but soon she'd have to contend with more nuts than were in the cookies at Mary's "Tea and Tasties." Gerald Hilton, Ezra's greedy nephew (and now partner), had his own ideas about running things. Pizza parlor Andy had a bunch of hoodlums for employees and the vendors were yelling about the "crappy crafters" she was letting in Artisans. Oh, and the `thank you ma'am man' was telling her to mind her own business. Nosy Rose Nash said, "I can tell you about everything, about everybody in this place." La di da, go right ahead because it was starting to look like an inside job until everyone got to Collier's funeral parlor to pay their respects to Ezra when Nona Fiske began to scream. "Trollop! It's your fault Ezra's dead. If you hadn't come to Victoria Square, Ezra would be alive today."

This is a fabulously flamboyant start to a new series. For the first book in a series, I was quite impressed at how well Katie's character was developed. She was gutsy, determined, spunky, and capable of getting the job done, including catching a killer. I loved the little touches of humor scattered throughout the book and fell in love with Katie's no nonsense approach to life and the occasional corpse she had to deal with. If you read and enjoyed the Booktown Mystery series, also by the author (Lorna Barrett) you're going to love graduating from one series to the other. It looks like Artisans Alley and Victoria Square are going to be a "high falutin'" hotbed ... for murder!

This book (ARC) courtesy of the author.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it! Feb. 10 2011
By SuzieQ - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Katie Bonner is a great new heroine in the cozy mystery genre. The supporting characters are also believable and interact with Katie and each other in a realistic manner. (In some cozies the interaction between characters is a bit off!) It is also refreshing that Katie's romantic interest isn't a policeman, PI, lawyer, etc. Another enjoyable element is the entire setting of the book, the craft cooperative. What a neat idea! I was also totally surprised at the outcome and can't wait until book two. Lorraine Barrett's books never disappoint!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down! Oct. 6 2011
By N. Roessner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I've read the Booktown mysteries and loved them and the Jeff Resnick mysteries and loved them and with A Crafty Killing, the first book in the Victoria Square Mystery series I am not let down. Lorraine Bartlett came through with a solid plot and interesting characters. One thing that appealed to me was how Ms. Bartlett slowly unveiled her characters' background and personalities so there were surprises all through the book, even with Katie Bonner, the lead in the story. Kate jumps to conclusions a time or two and isn't always right on in her assessment of people, but as time goes on she does get things right and shows that she has a generous heart.

I acquired this book yesterday and couldn't put it down until I turned the last page, where there are three delicious sounding recipes. There are two cats in the book, Mason and Della and I am hoping in future books to the series they will have a bigger part in the plot. Although, Della did play a pivotal role in the showdown. I really like Della!

I'm looking forward to witnessing Artisan Alley's being built up and hopefully, flourishing, and getting to know some of the people in the story better.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Start of a Great New Cozy Mystery Series! Feb. 11 2012
By S. Collier - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Kate Bonner is still grieving for her late husband Chad, when his business partner, Ezra Hilton, the owner of Artisan's Alley, an art boutique in upstate New York is suddenly killed. Up until that time, Kate had a 10% financial interest in the business, but virtually no personal interest in its success or failure. While her husband was still alive, Kate had hopes of purchasing an old Victorian Home, just steps from Artisan's Alley, and turning it into a Bed & Breakfast. Those hopes were dashed when her now deceased husband put all of their life savings into Artisan's Alley. After Ezra dies, his lawyer informs Kate that Ezra had recently changed his will, making her the largest stakeholder in the company, and he also made her executor of the will, effectively cutting out his nephew, Gerald Hilton from having a voice in the future of the business.

Kate ends up quitting her dead-end job with an overbearing insurance broker she had worked for over the past six years to run Artisan's Alley. Whether she is doing it for Chad's legacy, or because she sees a future in the business, Kate is committed to saving it from financial ruin. As she starts to get to know the other tenants and business owners, her commitment to Artisan's Alley grows, and she knows that even though her dreams of owning a B&B have been dashed, this is her opportunity to make a fresh start. However, there are plenty of people who want to stand in her way, and as Kate starts to dig in to try to uncover what may have happened to Ezra, she discovers that several of the people she has grown close to, may have had a motive to kill him. Soon Kate has another death on her hands, and she must find the killer before it is too late.

A Crafty Killing is an intricate mystery with a cast of quirky characters, including a Colombo-esque detective, a group of highly-competitive (and even catty) middle-aged women, and a few who have long-held secrets to be revealed throughout the course of the book. I really enjoyed getting to know Kate and the people of Victoria Square and look forward to the next mystery n the series!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Dark Side of Crafts Feb. 1 2011
By Cindy Chow - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
When Katie Bonner and her husband invested in Artisans Alley it was with the hope of eventually being able to realize her dream of owning a bed-and-breakfast. However, Chad's death by a car accident put an end to that, and now Katie is left juggling a partnership in the warehouse of craft booths with a depressing job and an even more horrific boss. The murder of her inherited partner, Ezra Hilton, places even more responsibility on her, as she now has to deal with territorial crafters, Ezra's jealous ladyfriends, suspicious police, and two handsome men.

Yes, there are A LOT of craft-based mysteries, and yes, there are A LOT of mysteries with recipes. And although crafts are vital to the plot, the quirky characters are what make this novel so unique and entertaining. A complex character, Katie must work through her guilt and mourning for a husband she had separated from while also developing the confidence to take over the Artisans Alley and pursue a new career. In her personal life she must also decide if she's ready to open herself to a new relationship with either the attractive attorney or the tempermental pizza shop owner. The tone of this new series is definitely not fluffy and light, but it is very entertaining and enjoyable. The author of the Booktown Mystery series and the Jeff Resnick series provides another successful series for readers to enjoy.
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