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I haven’t been well over the last couple of months and what with being on steroids and the painkillers being increased,  book reviews have fallen by the wayside – but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t stopped reading them!  In fact, curling up with a book and the cat has meant I have a backlog of reviews to come…

Bookplate Special features Tricia Miles who owns Haven’t Got A Clue, a book shop that specialises in mysteries and this is the third in the ‘Booktown Mysteries’.  Tricia is playing host to her old college friend, Pammy, who has been an absolute pain in the neck.  Tricia finally asks her to leave after she discovers that Pammy has stolen money from her.  She goes without a peep, but soon emerges that Pammy has been going around the town looking for a job and giving Tricia as her reference and while chatting to Angelica (her sister), Tricia is guilt tripped into finding Pammy and apologising.  Pammy is discovered all too soon when Tricia takes out the rubbish for Angelica and finds her corpse in the dustbin.  Oops.

Thankfully the unbalanced Sherriff Wendy wasn’t investigating and instead Captain Barker, a welcome newcomer to the town is attending in her place.  Not only being the person to throw Pammy out, but also the one to find her, Tricia is being treated like the main suspect and she not only decides to solve the murder herself/

She discovers that Pammy has been very busy, embracing a freeganist lifestyle and boasting about a large sum of money that she was soon going to come into.  A nasty piece of work, she seems to have been as much of a criminal as the murderer was and on unravelling her steps, Tricia also finds out other secrets within the town, such as the Stoneham Food Shelf, dark family secrets and a mysterious diary.

What I like about these books is that as well as showing the light and shade in the characters, Lorna Barrett also does the same with the town of Stoneham too.  It would be all too easy to cast it in this idealised light, like Stars Hollow in the Gilmore Girls, but instead she tackles topics such as financial hardships and stigma surrounding it.

The most tragic figure in this book wasn’t Tricia, Pammy or even the murderer, but Ginny.  A loyal employee of the Haven’t  Got A Clue, she is financially struggling, trying to do up her cottage with her boyfriend Brian (scumbag) who is set on putting her through the ringer.  I hope that things get better for her in the next book.

I loved the romance between Mr Everett and Grace, so often in cozies romance is all ‘hot and bothered’ and sometimes it is refreshing to see some good old fashioned courting going on!

Thankfully Tricia broke up with Russ.  While I can understand why he was part of the story so far and that Tricia needed to have a post-divorce date  before she could start a ‘proper’ relationship with someone else, but Russ really did have the charm of a slug.

This is a book that didn’t disappoint.  It is a refreshing, more mature cozy mystery that deals with real issues without becoming political.  You end up feeling like you have learnt something from the book and itching to find out what happens next!

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