Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Crafty Killing: a Victoria Square Mystery by Lorraine Bartlett

Published by Berkley Prime Crime
Review based on Advanced Reading Copy

Lorraine Bartlett also writes as Lorna Barrett, accomplished creator of the very popular Booktown series. As Lorraine Bartlett she now has another great cozy series on its way with the new Victorian Square series. “A Crafty Killing” is the 1st in series. There are lots of quirky characters, many equally dedicated characters, and dead bodies are dropping fast. How could so much death suddenly become the main feature of the lowly Artisans Alley?

Katie Bonner is the heroine in this new series, thrust suddenly into the fray when she finds herself both the executor and the largest shareholder in the Alley. Her husband who had taken all their savings and bought a partnership in the Alley had left Katie high and dry in their plans to buy a large home at the edge of Victoria Square and run it as a Bed and Breakfast. Every cent was gone, and Katie had not yet forgiven him as he moved out of the apartment and into Artisans Alley, and subsequently was killed in a car accident, leaving her his share in the partnership

She is not impressed with the police involved in solving the murder. Several possibilities for the murderer, but how to sort them out? There are well-fleshed characters and many of them in this first book. Also a few possibilities for romance, but who to trust, that is the biggest question. Too many people are asking questions, not least of which is Gerald, Ezra's nephew and co-heir with Katie. But even he is lied to.

As always, Lorraine has dished up a great read and very busy plot, busy in that there are many switches in trust, more murders, lots of action aimed toward Katie, and many different personalities, not all of whom are pleased with Katie's ideas. Wonderfully descriptive, I can picture Victoria Square easily and with the Square on the verge of new awakening, a lot is on the line. There is much more than meets the eye (or ear) as rumors are flying, not to mention all the lies and deflections. What is it with that police officer? Katie would really like to know, but soon she is in jeopardy as more complications arise, and Katie herself has become a suspect and possibly the next victim.

I loved this book, a great start for the new year. Lots of guessing as we read along as to who is going to still be around in the next book; just how many murders are there? Are they all murders? Who makes the best villain? When we find out, it is a shock and complete surprise, at least to this reader. Of all the suitors or men appearing to be suitors, will any of them be around in the next book? What games are they all playing? Are any of them really who they seem? Well, we'll have to wait for the next book for some of these answers, but altogether a very exciting and enthusiastic start to this new series. I look forward to seeing these characters grow and new characters arrive. Contains recipes. I forecast another winner for Lorraine and her alter ego Lorna.

My earlier reviews for the first three Booktown series as Lorna Barrett:
Book 1: Murder is Binding
Book 2: Bookmarked for Death
Book 4. Chapter and Hearse
(I really must get and read Book 3!)


Janet Bolin said...

I love the Booktown series and am really looking forward to this one!

nightreader said...

Thanks Janet, Lorraine/Lorna is certainly an engaging author! I believe this book is to be released in April. Happy Reading! ;-)