Chapter and Hearse by Lorna Barrett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Tricia's sister Angelica has finally published her cookbook, but when her boyfriend Bob Kelly doesn't show up for the book launch party, Tricia offers to go track him down for her. His car is parked nearby, so Tricia walks down the street looking for him in the shops, and just as she approaches the town's history bookstore, she's knocked off her feet by an explosion. Bob is injured, and the store's owner is killed, but strangely enough, Bob is unwilling to speak to anyone about what happened and so becomes the main suspect. Strange incidents keep occurring, and soon it becomes clear that Jim isn't the only target, and Bob isn't the only suspect.
What's most surprising to me about the 4th book in this series is the amount of character development. The third installment in the series has quite a bit, too, and this one builds on that foundation. Tricia's love life is kaput, with Captain Baker backing off to take care of his ailing ex-wife, and newspaperman Russ Smith turning into a stalker. You also get more glimpses into Tricia's family dynamics that have led to her people-pleasing tendencies. Her loneliness really comes through in the tone of this book. I am looking forward to seeing her continue to develop, and I'm hoping Captain Baker's wife goes into remission soon!
For readers' advisors: character and story doorways, no sex or bad language.
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