Sentenced to Death by Lorna Barrett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
It's time for the first-annual Founders' Day celebration in Stoneham, NH, and Tricia's friend Deborah Black has been put in charge of the festivities. However, when Deborah steps up to the podium to give her welcome speech, the small plane which has been buzzing the area with its Founders' Day banner suddenly goes into a soundless nose-dive right into the gazebo where she's standing, killing both Deborah and the pilot instantly. Both the sheriff's department and the NTSB rule the crash an accident, but oddities in the aftermath have Tricia questioning that pronouncement and doing a little sleuthing on her own.
Tricia's love life is still in shambles, her champion assistant, Ginny, is leaving to manage another store, and her sister Angelica is pushing her to make some changes in her own life to break out of her stagnation. I think one of the strongest features of this series is the ongoing character development. Another reviewer of this book mentioned that while she didn't always like Tricia, who can be pushy and tactless at times, she sympathized with her and appreciated the flaws and depth of all the characters, and I completely agree.
Ironically, the main storyline of Deborah's death isn't the biggest mystery in the series at the moment, although I admit the twists and turns were surprising. The true puzzle is the secret of the company Nigela Ricita Associates, which has been buying up or investing heavily in Stoneham properties in the past couple of books. What is the ulterior motive there, and why does Antonio give me the creeps? I look forward to the next book in the series to see if any of that gets resolved!
For readers' advisors: character doorway is primary, story secondary. No sex, bad language, or on-screen violence (even the plane crash is only briefly described).
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