Tricia Miles has found life in Stoneham to be a nice change from life in the big city. The historic down town area consists of nothing but bookstores, and running her own mystery bookstore has been a real joy.
But one fall day things change from good to bad. First, her sister Angelica shows up for an unannounced, extended visit. The two sisters have a strained relationship, and Tricia can't wait until she leaves.
Much worse, however, is finding the body of Doris Gleason. Doris owned the cookbook shop next door to Tricia's. She could be quarrelsome, but she didn't deserve to die. Tricia immediately notices that the antique cookbook Doris had just acquired is missing. Was theft the motive? Or was it something more sinister?
I'm of two minds about this debut. On the one hand, I loved it and the setting. What reader wouldn't love the idea of a town devoted to bookstores? And the little details of the book made me smile every time they showed up on the page. The plot twisted in a couple surprising directions. Angelica and Tricia have a complicated relationship, and I could identify with both of them at the same time. And Tricia's employee Ginny and regular customer Mr. Everett are both a delight as well.
On the other hand, this debut had some flaws. The rest of the characters are a little flat. In fact, the characters I already mentioned could be flat at times as well. The ending is too abrupt. While logical, it needed more time to be fully developed. Finally, the writing is okay, but it was often awkward, forcing me to backtrack and reread stuff to make sure I understood.
In the end, I did enjoy the book enough to give the sequel a chance. Hopefully, the problems will be ironed out as the series progresses.