Book Reviews of Murder Is Binding (Booktown, Bk 1)

Murder Is Binding (Booktown, Bk 1)
Murder Is Binding - Booktown, Bk 1
Author: Lorna Barrett
PBS Market Price: $8.09 or $4.19+1 credit
ISBN-13: 9780425219584
ISBN-10: 0425219585
Publication Date: 4/1/2008
Pages: 281
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.

3.8 stars, based on 328 ratings
Publisher: Berkley
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

30 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Murder Is Binding (Booktown, Bk 1) on + 45 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 28
Well, I already knew that L.B. could write a mean paranormal thriller, but the question was whether or not she could pull off a cozy - something much more lighthearted and fun than her usual hard-boiled fare. No worries - it's as if she's been writing about Stoneham, the Safest Town in New Hampshire, and its interesting inhabitants all her life. Cozy lovers should definitely add the new Booktown Mysteries to their not-to-be-missed lists!

Tricia Miles is a successful businesswoman who moved to the safe little village of Stoneham, New Hampshire following a painful divorce. As part of a downtown renovation project to revitalize the village, Tricia and several other booksellers were wooed to open up shop along Main Street. The new businesses helped give the town a new lease on life - but too bad for Doris Gleason, owner of the The Cookery, it didn't work both ways! While Tricia is giving her sister, Angelica, the 50-cent tour of her new digs, they discover the body of the recently deceased Doris - with a knife sticking out her back.

As it turns out, Doris hasn't exactly endeared herself to the other booksellers, or anyone else for that matter, so there is an abundance of people who disliked her, although circumstantial evidence starts to point toward Tricia as a possible suspect. Tricia continues to be in the wrong place at the wrong time as Stoneham's nickname, the Safest Town in New Hampshire, becomes more and more of a misnomer.

The entire book is wonderfully descriptive, the characters fascinating and 3-dimensional, the plot exquisitely complex, and L.B.'s painstaking attention to detail doesn't go unnoticed (check out the facade of Haven't Got a Clue on the cover)! In addition, there is the added bonus of Tricia and Angelica's interesting and complicated sibling relationship. The way they were able to put aside past history to work together when push came to shove was touching. It made me ache for the company of my own sisters!

There are an awful lot of new series to choose from in the cozy mystery subgenre these days, but if you're debating about which one to add to your TBR pile, I'd recommend putting Murder is Binding at the top!

Carol Ann H. 4/7/2008
reviewed Murder Is Binding (Booktown, Bk 1) on + 1585 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 10
First Line: "I tell you, Trish, we're all victims."

Stoneham, New Hampshire, was a dying town until real estate entrepreneur Bob Kelly got the idea to turn it into a "Booktown" modeled after Hay-on-Wye in the UK. Divorcee Tricia Miles decided to folllow her dream and moved there six months ago, opening a mystery book shop called Haven't Got a Clue and living in a loft apartment on the third floor. She's made a friend or two, but her next-door neighbor, Doris Gleason, isn't one of them. Doris, owner of The Cookery, sells cookbooks but finds business is tough. (Probably because she never read How to Win Friends and Influence People.) When Tricia finds The Cookery on fire one night and stumbles over Doris's body, she immediately finds herself as the local sheriff's prime suspect, and it's up to her to clear her own name.

Murder Is Binding is a promising start to a new cozy mystery series. Having been able to wander around Hay-on-Wye on my own for almost an entire day, the idea of a "booktown" in a small New England village appealed to me. Tricia is a likable character, and it's interesting to see her slowly change from a big city dweller to someone who lives in a small town. Her employees, her cat (Miss Marple), and some of the townsfolk are well-drawn and interesting. And with the arrival of her hated older sister and their strained relationship, future books are set up to explore these sibling dynamics. However, the weakness in the book is the plot. At first Tricia seems to choose her suspects by whether or not she likes them, and she didn't really strike me as that naive. It was too easy to figure out whodunit, and the ham-handed small town sheriff is a convention so old that it creaks.

Although there are some problems with the plotting, the setting and the characters--the strongest draws for cozy mystery lovers--are there and are very good. I'm looking forward to seeing what Barrett does in the next book in the series.

[Note: I forgot to mention that recipes are included in the back of the book. If you love to cook, it certainly wouldn't hurt to take a look at them. On the other hand, I hate to cook, which is probably why I forgot to mention them in the first place!]
reviewed Murder Is Binding (Booktown, Bk 1) on + 329 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
This is a strong beginning to the Booktown series, and a cozy lover's dream! A small New England town dedicates a whole village to bookstores, each with a theme (mysteries, cooking, etc.). Rare and unique editions are the town's bread and butter, and when it appears that someone is murdered for a rare cookbook, the owner of the mystery book store becomes a suspect. There are lots of colorful and diverse characters, as well as several subplots in this book that make it very interesting and a fun read.
reviewed Murder Is Binding (Booktown, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 3
I am a big fan of books in general and love the "Cozy" mysteries, so I was looking forward to reading the first of the Booktown Mystery series. I'm sorry to say I was disappointed. One of the best things about cozy mysteries is a cast of characters you enjoy spending time with and I found almost every character in this book to be un-likeable. The sheriff was one-dimensional and there was very little substance to any of the other characters. I got the feeling the author really didn't know where she wanted to go with the story until about half-way through; several of the main characters had personality changes partway through the book that left me cold. I agree with a previous poster that the sibling rivalry was much worse in Tricia's mind than in reality and kind of thought she was being immature and whiny about it. I may read the second in the series just to see if it gets better, but this one so far is not a keeper.
reviewed Murder Is Binding (Booktown, Bk 1) on + 169 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
A really good cozy mystery. I really liked the interaction between the two sisters. I would enjoy reading more of this series and author.
reviewed Murder Is Binding (Booktown, Bk 1) on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is a cozy mystery, which are quite popular right now. The story takes place in a small town with querky characters. I loved it. There is a murder but no blood or gore. First in a series. I can't wait to read the next one.
reviewed Murder Is Binding (Booktown, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 1
Just finished it up last night. Have to admit, when the climax finally arrived, I was a little caught off guard - but not in a good way as the book bogs down a bit in the middle and towards the end. The Tricia-Angelica sibling-rivalry doesn't seem to be much of one even though Tricia grumbles about it frequently. When the truth is finally revealed and the last scenes are played out, it was more of a relief to finish the book then to watch the story wrap itself up.

Still, if you enjoy the murder-mystery cozy genre, you will probably also enjoy this book.
reviewed Murder Is Binding (Booktown, Bk 1) on + 31 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is a new series for me and I enjoyed the suspense and the bookshop staff in a small New Hampshire town. A cookbook shop owner is killed next door and the owner of the mystery bookshop "Haven't Got a Clue" has to solve it for everyone. I liked all the subplots, too. Tricia the m.c. has to find clues mostly by herself and with the help of her sister Angelica. In a subplot she rescues an old woman from an assisted living center was great. There are Angelica's recipes in the back.
reviewed Murder Is Binding (Booktown, Bk 1) on + 134 more book reviews
This book is the first in the series. It was a cute whodunit story. I look forward to reading the other books in this series.
reviewed Murder Is Binding (Booktown, Bk 1) on + 24 more book reviews
Fun and enjoyable read. First time I read this author. I am looking forward to reading more of her book in this series. The book is set in New Hampshire. amurder takes place in a cookbook shop. The owner of the Mystery book shop is the prime suspect. There are plenty of twists and turns plus a host of colorful charcters. There is even a cat named Miss Marple. I really recomend this book.
reviewed Murder Is Binding (Booktown, Bk 1) on + 58 more book reviews
These books are alittle bland for me. I dont dislike them but I didnt rush to read it thru either. Typically with a book this size I would have been thru in less than 2 days but I only went to it in spurts because it just didnt 'call' to me. I have the whole series so I will read them all to see how the characters change but I wont seek this author out again.
reviewed Murder Is Binding (Booktown, Bk 1) on + 1072 more book reviews
quick read - appears to be the first in a new series - my first experience with this author Lorna Barrett - thoroughly enjoyed.
reviewed Murder Is Binding (Booktown, Bk 1) on
A relaxing read with just enough foreshadowing to let me figure out part of the final answer to the mystery.
reviewed Murder Is Binding (Booktown, Bk 1) on + 120 more book reviews
As an ex-New Hampshireite I was interested in the location of this cozy mystery. But I was pleasantly surprised at the great story and writing. I enjoyed it immensely and highly recommend it to all. Can't wait to dig into the next in this series.
reviewed Murder Is Binding (Booktown, Bk 1) on
A quick, fun read. Mystery light - no gore, but a few twists and turns.
reviewed Murder Is Binding (Booktown, Bk 1) on + 2 more book reviews
Fun light read.
reviewed Murder Is Binding (Booktown, Bk 1) on + 1076 more book reviews
New mystery bookstore owner, Tricia Miles is having a bad month. First off, her estranged sister Angelica has decided to visit and tries to horn in on her new business. Then a fellow bookstore owner is found murdered in her shop...just one door down from Tricia's place. And for some unknown reason, the local sheriff is convinced that Tricia did it, even when her own store is vandalized. Poor Tricia is trying to dissuade her sister from moving to town, trying to fend off an amorous neighbor, trying to cater to her customers and now she is forced to prove her own innocence.

As a fellow bibliophile, I loved the book references and had even read some of them. Tricia and even Angelica were likeable and interesting characters with some problems which can be worked out in future books. I will definitely be returning to Stoneham, New Hampshire for more booky adventures.
reviewed Murder Is Binding (Booktown, Bk 1) on + 7 more book reviews
I had never read anything by Lorna Barrett before Murder is Binding. The book starts off a bit slow but picks up steam by the middle. It usually takes me a few days to read a book as I only read during my lunch hour but this book took me almost a week. Ugh.

Will give the 2nd in the series a chance but I have much better books waiting to be read.
Happy reading!
reviewed Murder Is Binding (Booktown, Bk 1) on + 530 more book reviews
Loved this first in the Series.........can't wait to read more of her work!
reviewed Murder Is Binding (Booktown, Bk 1) on + 426 more book reviews
Great new cozy series, especially for us book lovers! Liked the setting of having a book shop in a small town just for Mystery fans.

I liked the way the author brought multi-generations into the story widening her audience base.

The love/hate relationship between sisters will touch a few emotions among her readers.

Looking forward to the next book in this series.
reviewed Murder Is Binding (Booktown, Bk 1) on + 54 more book reviews
Maybe it's just me, but I gave up on this book after a chapter or two. I'm a big fan of the Haunted Bookshop mysteries, so maybe that's why this fell so flat. The main character was fine, but no one else really captured my attention or sympathy. The sister was particularly irritating -- maybe she was supposed to be funny, but I found the whole relationship rather sad. I rarely give up on a book, but this was the exception.
reviewed Murder Is Binding (Booktown, Bk 1) on + 259 more book reviews
A mystery set in and around a bookstore is intriguing, but when theres a whole town dedicated to a slew of bookstores, how can any true bibliophile pass that up? Where this story lacks in intensity and real mystery, it makes up for in the whimsy of the village of Stoneham. While reading, I found myself not really caring so much who the murderer was as much as I was intrigued by the town and the bookshops. I kept hoping that our heroine would frequent more of them in an attempt to give the reader a broader picture of what this booktown entailed.

The reader is given enough clues early on in the story to figure out the identity of the killer with minimal effort. In addition to the primary murder mystery, there are some additional storylines that I found to be interesting and will enjoy seeing how they play out further along in the series.

Though I enjoyed most of the characters, I did not care for Tricias sister, Angelica or the Sheriff. As we will be seeing more of these characters in future books, theres always a chance they will have some redeeming qualities and my opinion of them will change. One can only hope, right?
reviewed Murder Is Binding (Booktown, Bk 1) on + 90 more book reviews
1st in the Booktown Mystery series. I thought this was a really good cozy mystery! I look forward to getting the next one.
reviewed Murder Is Binding (Booktown, Bk 1) on + 143 more book reviews
I found this book through a swap on PBS and I am glad I did - what a great start to the series - looking forward to reading more...
reviewed Murder Is Binding (Booktown, Bk 1) on + 809 more book reviews
Tricia Miles opened her mystery boookstore in a small New Hampshire town to start a new life after her divorce. She never expected to find herself the main suspect when the owner of the cookbook store next to hers is murdered. Now she'll have to take a clue from her prized mystery books and solve the crime because the chief of police is either incompentant or intent on shielding the real killer.

Great characters, realistic dialogue and a clever mystery - definitely worth the read.
reviewed Murder Is Binding (Booktown, Bk 1) on + 1902 more book reviews
Great cozy, likable characters, nice background, will develop more with the next ones I'm sure. Fun, clean language and the characters have room to grow. Great store and neat small town atmosphere. Looking forward to the next one.
reviewed Murder Is Binding (Booktown, Bk 1) on + 330 more book reviews
So, what did happen to the alarm tech, did he ever show up? The reason I ask is because lead character Tricia Miles has ongoing alarm problems throughout the book and I was really waiting for the tech to make an appearance on the last page asking "did someone call for service". Guess it just wasn't meant to be.

Stoneham, New Hampshire is on it's way to becoming a ghost town when a local developer / real estate agent decides to rent his shops to book stores only. Sort of a one stop town shopping experience for booklovers. Quite a clever idea, that is until Doris, the owner of the Cookery, is found bludgeoned and Tricia the newest transplant to Stoneham, who is also known as the town jinx, is quickly zeroed in on as the main suspect.

In true cozy fashion and with the help of her very funny sister Angelica, who is very reminiscent of Joanne Fluke's character Andrea in the Hannah Swensen series, the two very different sisters set out to find the true killer. Though you can see the ending coming, it does seem to hit out of the blue, but that was ok, there was no real surprise and all the loose ends were neatly tied up. All except the alarm system, but that must be for another day.

I enjoyed the characters and the little town that Ms Barrett introduced me to. I look forward to the next book and seeing what Angelica, my favorite character, is going to get up to next. For some reason, the sidekicks are always more appealing to me.
reviewed Murder Is Binding (Booktown, Bk 1) on + 467 more book reviews
I never got into this book, so a review of only 20 or so pages is probably not a fair one. But I sort of saw the danger on page one when the author spends 3 lines describing the pink polyester outfit one of the characters was wearing. Thanks to I have a box overflowing with books to read, so I decided this was not my cup of tea. Besides, 75 people had it on their wish list, so I posted it instead of reading it.
reviewed Murder Is Binding (Booktown, Bk 1) on + 47 more book reviews
I SO wanted to like this book because of the idea of a town full of physical bookstores. What an opportunity for sequels! But I couldn't find myself bonding with the lead character. Don't get me wrong, I like my heroines slightly flawed and human. I just didn't like a mature adult that couldn't get over childhood issues so many years later. I haven't read Lorna Barrett before but found not only the murderer but the plot twist easy to determine very early in the book, making it less enjoyable to spend time reading.
reviewed Murder Is Binding (Booktown, Bk 1) on + 347 more book reviews
I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this new cozy series....I am looking forward to the next installment.....