Berkley Prime Crime titles by Lorna Barrett
MURDER IS BINDING
BOOKMARKED FOR DEATH
CHAPTER & HEARSE
SENTENCED TO DEATH
MURDER ON THE HALF SHELF
NOT THE KILLING TYPE
MURDER IN THREE VOLUMES
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) LLC
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014
USA • Canada • UK • Ireland • Australia • New Zealand • India • South Africa • China
A Penguin Random House Company
This book is an original publication of The Berkley Publishing Group.
Copyright © 2014 by Penguin Group (USA) LLC.
The Edgar® name is a registered service mark of the Mystery Writers of America, Inc.
Penguin supports copyright. Copyright fuels creativity, encourages diverse voices, promotes free speech, and creates a vibrant culture. Thank you for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying with copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning, or distributing any part of it in any form without permission. You are supporting writers and allowing Penguin to continue to publish books for every reader.
Berkley Prime Crime Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group.
BERKLEY® PRIME CRIME and the PRIME CRIME logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) LLC.
eBook ISBN: 978-1-101-63728-9
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Book clubbed : a Booktown mystery / by Lorna Barrett. — First edition.
1. Miles, Tricia (Fictitious character)—Fiction. 2. Women booksellers—Fiction. 3. Receptionists—Crimes against—Fiction. 4. New Hampshire—Fiction. I. Title.
FIRST EDITION: July 2014
Cover illustration by Teresa Fasolino.
Cover design by Diana Kolsky.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: The recipes contained in this book are to be followed exactly as written. The publisher is not responsible for your specific health or allergy needs that may require medical supervision. The publisher is not responsible for any adverse reactions to the recipes contained in this book.
For Patricia Ryan,
thank you for your enduring friendship
BERKLEY PRIME CRIME TITLES BY LORNA BARRETT
I had so much fun writing Book Clubbed and I hope you will enjoy reading it just as much. Part of the fun was comparing notes with friends and keeping track of our daily word counts. My thanks to J. B. Stanley and Leann Sweeney, for keeping me on track. My pal Dru Ann Love not only solves all my Word and Excel problems, she’s also been helpful with research. I couldn’t do this without all you guys.
Of course writers find support in group situations, too. I’m so lucky to be a member of the Cozy Chicks blog. We are: Ellery Adams, Kate Collins, Mary Kennedy, Mary Jane Maffini, Hannah Reed, Maggie Sefton, and Leann Sweeney. Check us out at cozychicksblog.com.
As always, I’m grateful to have a wonderful editor in Tom Colgan, and my agent, Jessica Faust, is always there with help on the business side of things.
Did you know I have an author page on Facebook? You can find me there, as well as on Goodreads and Twitter. Don’t forget to sign up for my periodic e-mail newsletter on the contact page of my website: lornabarrett.com.
For once the winter weather seemed to be cooperating, meaning that unless any unforeseen complications arose, Tricia Miles, owner of the mystery bookstore Haven’t Got a Clue, would get a lot accomplished on that particular Saturday in February. No ice, no snow, and though the sun had not yet made an appearance in Booktown, otherwise known as Stoneham, New Hampshire, the skies were due to clear before lunchtime—hopefully bringing plenty of book-buying customers with it.
Meanwhile, Tricia and her sister, Angelica, who owned not only the Cookery bookstore, but a charming retro café, Booked for Lunch, and had a half share in a local bed-and-breakfast called the Sheer Comfort Inn, had a date to look over a private book collection. These kinds of sales were few and far between, and their window to make a bid on the collection was narrow—between ten and eleven o’clock.
Tricia glanced at her watch. It was 9:55 and Angelica wasn’t yet ready to leave.
“Ange, will you hurry,” she called, but Angelica was deep in conversation with her new receptionist. In actuality, Betsy Dittmeyer wasn’t Angelica’s personal secretary, but she was employed by the local Chamber of Commerce. Angelica had won the election for the presidency back in November and had officially taken office some five weeks before. Things hadn’t gone so well during that time. The former Chamber president, and Angelica’s former lover, had made the transition as difficult as possible. So had the Chamber’s receptionist.
“I don’t know how much longer I can tolerate this impossible situation,” Betsy cried, and sighed dramatically.
“I’m sorry,” Angelica apologized as she struggled into the sleeves of her leather jacket, “but you, more than anyone else, should understand the Chamber’s predicament. When Bob Kelly terminated our lease on the former Chamber building, we had to scramble. I’m giving up a large portion of my storeroom until other arrangements can be made.”