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Among the Departed by Vicki Delany
Body on the Bayou by Ellen Byron
The Box in the Woods by Maureen Johnson
Buttercream Bump Off
Camp by Lev A.C. Rosen
A Crafty Killing by Lorraine Bartlett
Darling by K. Ancrum
Deadly Ever After by Eva Gates
Death by the Dozen by Jenn McKinlay
Dough Boys by Paula Chase
Flipped for Murder by Maddie Day
The Ghost and Mrs. McClure by Alice Kimberly
Grilled for Murder by Maddie Day
A High-End Finish by Kate Carlisle
Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton
Jukebox by Nidhi Chanani
Killer Chardonnay by Kate Lansing
Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey by Erin Entrada Kelly
Miss Meteor by Tehlor Kay Mejia and Anna-Marie McLemore
Much Ado About Muffin by Victoria Hamilton
One Way or Another by Kara McDowell
Ozma by Candace Robinson and Amber R. Duell
A Problematic Paradox by Eliot Sappingfield
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Read and Gone by Allison Brook
Some Places More Than Others by Renée Watson
Stargazer by Anne Hillerman
Tune It Out by Jamie Sumner
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
Wicked Things by John Allison and Max Sarin (Illustrations)
Witches and Wedding Cake by Bailey Cates

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5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
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2 stars: OK
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A Crafty Killing: 07/06/21

A Crafty Killing by Lorraine Bartlett

Since I'm current with the Booktown Mystery series by Lorna Barrett, I've decided to go back and read through another of author's series. A Crafty Killing by Lorraine Bartlett (aka Lorna Barrett) is the start of the Victoria Square mystery series.

Katie Bonner ends up as the de facto manager of Artisans Alley after its owner, Ezra, is murdered inside the store. She already has a job and isn't sure she wants to devote the time and energy to saving the company. Unfortunately her late husband put their savings into Ezra's venture, so she's stuck if she wants to recover her investment.

Like Murder is Binding, this initial volume introduces a woman in the process of making a huge change to her life. While Tricia was escaping New York after a divorce to run her own book shop, Katie is a widow set now to inherit a business she was only tangentially part of because of her husband's investment. Like Tricia, though, once faced with the responsibility, she is fully committed to the business and the people.

The mystery itself is couched in the business of running Artisans Alley. It has a familiar twisting of plot threads to how the Constable Molly Smith mysteries have A and B plots that end up being intertwined. As I was hyper focused on the details of Artisans Alley I caught a major clue and its significance well before Katie did. It made for a suspenseful but satisfying read.

I actually found myself pulled in much faster to Katie's story because of the familiar setting. I grew up around antiques malls and other consignment shops. The sad state Artisans Alley is in at the start of the mystery along with the surrounding businesses' take on the shop bring to mind a couple different places my father did business with.

Five stars

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