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Sentenced to Death Mass Market Paperback – Jun 7 2011
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About the Author
Lorna Barrett is the New York Times bestselling author of the popular Booktown Mystery series, including Murder Is Binding, Bookmarked for Death, and Bookplate Special, which was an Agatha nominee for Best Novel in 2009. Lorna lives in Rochester, New York, with her husband and three felines.
Top Customer Reviews
But does the truth turn out to be more than she bargained for...? The deeper she digs, the more secrets involving Deborah come to life...
So.. accident or not? and if not then... whodunit?
The sudden death of Tricia's friend Deborah, by what must surely be the strangest weapon used in a cozy mystery, leaves the town in shock. Her devastating death leaves behind a toddler, Davey, husband David, and mother Elizabeth who is her store assistant cum babysitter. Festivities are cancelled, and the National Transportation Safety Board arrives to take over the investigation. Everyone believes it is a tragic accident, but Tricia feels there is more to it than that. She is sure it is murder and she is also sure she knows who is involved. The speed with which David hires a lawyer in preparation for a lawsuit, disposes by cremation of his wife's body with no funeral, and the speed with which he sells the store Deborah owned with her mother, adds another nail to his coffin in Tricia's mind. But could that simply be the actions of a man suffering the trauma of losing his wife so suddenly? And what about the Nigela Racita Associates' rush to buy up properties in town, including Deborah's shop "Happy Domestic", partly owned by Elizabeth and sold out from under her?
Lorna Barrett has a special knack for letting us picture the town and the townspeople with her descriptive voice. Her characterizations are human and consistent, not over-the-top.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The series centers on Tricia, a divorced woman, who owns a mystery bookstore and lives alone over the shop with her cat Miss Marple. Her sister Angelica moved to town in the first book and this is a cause of some friction. The series is very well written and I feel like I know the characters. The author has a way of writing that is humorous and easy to read.
I didn't like this book as much as I did the others because of the much darker tone. In some ways, the light-hearted feel was gone and this book took on a tone that was not "cozy". It was depressing in parts. The interactions between Tricia and Angelica seemed cold most of the time. Tricia's relationships with men seemed ridiculous and dysfunctional. Ginny, the woman Tricia had done so much for in the series, just seemed to become whiny and selfish and got engaged to a man she just met despite just having gone through a terrible breakup. It also seemed unrealistic that the secretive outfit buying up stores would allow the store to be staffed by their agent's new girlfriend despite the fact that she had no management experience and would pay big bucks to buy into a sandwich cart. Tricia was quite calloused towards a poor woman with no friends who was so desperate to keep from being evicted, she called police to report a burglary, she was about to commit.
I hated seeing the character of Deborah dragged through the mud and her husband David made out to be some sort of bizarre monster who abandoned a small child after her death. It was also extremely unrealistic that Tricia would keep loaning out her employee Mr. Everett who somehow thought he could avoid being bothered by people wanting to beg for money (he won the lottery) by growing a mustache (hey, it's a tiny town- why wouldn't they know it is him with a mustache).
All in all, I got the feeling that the author was just busy writing for more than one series, needed something to write in this one, felt depressed, and just threw this together. I am not sorry to read it but I sincerely hope she will make the next one more like the first 4 and less like this one. This felt like she was getting tired of the characters. I also did not like the stereotype about "evil Soviets" she made with the cookie cutter bigoted image of Boris.
I know that some of the reviewers who gave glowing reviews are friends of the author and members of the same groups but I have a passion for good books and must be honest that while I love this author's previous books, I was less than enchanted by this one.
The screams began as the plane crashed into the gazebo and a sense of disbelief washed over the residents of Stoneham. Ginny Wilson, one of Tricia's employees looked at the carnage and exclaimed, "I just can't believe it." It wasn't all that long ago that Jim Roth, along with his store, "History Repeats Itself," was "blown to smithereens." Tricia was totally shocked at this turn of events because Deborah was one of her first friends when she came to Stoneham. Tricia's sister, Angelica, decided to be an insensitive clod and declared, "And what a way to go, squashed like a bug." After a sincere apology, Tricia began to think about Deborah's appalling death. Monty Capshaw, the pilot, might have encountered a problem, but seriously "what kind of idiot of a pilot lets his plan run out of gas?" Things were starting to brew again in Stoneham and this time it wasn't at the Coffee Bean.
Captain Grant Baker, Mr. "I wouldn't be at liberty to say," wasn't spilling the beans to Tricia about the "accident," but it was easy to see that things weren't on the up and up with David Black. Practically before his wife's corpse was cold he'd accepted an offer from Nigela Racita Associates for the "Happy Domestic." The dirt in the small village of Stoneham was surfacing faster that a spade could turn it and Tricia was becoming mighty suspicious about the plane crash. Was it really an accident? She decided to ask some of her own questions and the easiest way was to start a trust fund for Davey and do the collecting herself. Tricia was in for a surprise when Alexa Kozlov claimed that Deborah "was not our favorite person." Huh? Things began to be a bit more threatening, but she didn't think much about it until Angelica warned her, "With all the bodies you've found in this town, I'd think you'd be a little more concerned." When another corpse showed up Tricia had to rethink her strategy. "I'm sorry to ask, but we'd like you to come inside and make an identification . . ."
Stoneham, New Hampshire's "village jinx," Tricia Miles, is poised to solve yet another mystery. One thing about the Booktown Mysteries series is you never know what is going to happen next or who is going to meet their maker in an unusually bizarre fashion. I do have to admit I love a good whodunit that keeps me burning the midnight oil, but am equally fond of a good solid mystery that I can look forward to savoring, one chapter at a time. "Sentenced to Death" just happens to be one of those. Stoneham, a town fans of the Booktown series have fallen in love with, is a town that has residents pushing up daisies, dandelions, dahlias, and delphiniums in a devilishly delightful manner. Just when you think nothing more can go wrong in Stoneham, there always manages to be a few more characters that are "crazy-nutso-bananas" making their appearance on the scene. It looks like we'll be seeing more of Tricia Miles in yet another upcoming mystery!
This book (ARC) courtesy of the author.
A more interesting and fun version of the bookstore cozy is the Ghost and the Haunted Bookstore series by Alice Kimberly (aka Cleo Coyle, who also writes the Coffeehouse Mysteries). I also just picked up an old P.D. James mystery -- now there's good writing.
[And I know fans of these books will find this review "unhelpful," but this isn't about fandom-- it's about expressing one's opinion (key word: OPINION), backed by information, that may be useful for someone who is NOT a fan, and may steer them toward or away from a book (or CD or DVD or whatever). If someone disagrees with your opinion, that doesn't make the review invalid, unless it is not backed by data of some sort (even if it is subjective).] So there's my opinion: regretfully, these just aren't very good books. Time to turn my attention back to the classics.
SENTENCED TO DEATH takes place several months after the horrifying murder of Jim Roth, the owner of History Repeats Itself. Life in Stoneham is settling back to normal, or at least Tricia is led to belief. However, she is thrown in the middle of another murder mystery, when her close friend, Deborah, is killed.
I have raved and raved about how much I enjoy the Booktown Mysteries. Of all the contemporary cozy mysteries being published right now, it is my absolute favorite. The murder mystery aspect is always strong and well developed and the characters are always interesting and lively (well except for the murder victim!).
In my opinion, SENTENCED TO DEATH, is the best of the five novels published in this series. Lorna Barrett is keeping things interesting in the small town of Stoneham. When Deborah is killed, Tricia is left to re-assess everything she thought she knew about her close friend, and other friends in the small town.
The residents of Stoneham are constantly evolving. As with any small town (or any big town for that matter) nothing stays the same, and Lorna Barrett skillfully portrays this in the Booktown Mystery series. Relationships and friendships change and evolve, and all this happens skillfully in the background, while the murder mystery takes center stage.
With the combination of the murder mystery, and all the happenings in and around Stoneham, I was absolutely riveted through SENTENCED TO DEATH. By the last page, I gave a contented sigh at having finished another great Lorna Barrett mystery, and a little sad as well. Sad because now I have to patiently wait for the next book in the series to be released. MURDER ON THE HALF SHELF is due for a release on July 3, 2012.
I've said it before and I will say it again. If you haven't read this series, stop what you are doing right now, go to the bookstore, shop online, buy it for Kindle or Nook, do whatever it takes to read this series. It is the best of the contemporary cozy mysteries of 2011 and you won't be disappointed.
"Sentenced to Death" is the well done fifth book in Lorna Barrett's "Booktown Mystery" cozy mystery series - a series that gets better with every book. Barrett has created a wonderfully complex heroine in Tricia Miles - a character I at times sympathize with and at other times dislike. Tricia seems to be at a crossroads in her life and she is a very believable character - flawed yet a good friend to those she cares about. She is understandably upset by the death of her friend and it is nice that she does what she can to solve the case but at times she is blunt and not very tactful, even unlikable when questioning people she thinks may have had something to do with the death. Her relationship with her sister Angelica is also complex - it has grown throughout the series and I'm glad to see the two grow closer in each book. Tricia's love life is a tangled one and it doesn't look like it is going to be untangled soon. Barrett has created a wonderful setting in Stoneham, New Hampshire and the characters grow in each book. I've come to care for the characters and what happens to them, especially Ginny who seems to continue to have poor taste in boyfriends. The mystery aspects are well done and the murder weapon is certainly a unique one! The mystery has plenty of twists and turns and surprises and while there aren't a lot of suspects, I still didn't figure out who the killer was. Besides the murder mystery there is another mystery throughout the course of this series - who is the mysterious Nigela Ricita who is buying up so much of Stoneham? I have some ideas and can't wait to find out if my suspicions are correct!
"Sentenced to Death" is another well done cozy mystery by Lorna Barrett.