Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Review: A Crafty Killing

A Crafty Killing (Victoria Square - Book 1) by Lorraine Bartlett

Publication Date: February 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Genre: Cozy Mystery
ISBN-13: 9780425239858

(Received for review from Berkley/Obsidian)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Lorraine Bartlett on the WEB: Website, Blog, Facebook, Twitter

Excerpt from
A Crafty Killing

Book Trailer:

Synopsis (Book Blurb):

Murder is right up her alley...

The last thing Katie Bonner wanted was to become the manager of Artisans Alley. But when her business partner, Ezra Hilton, is found lying at the bottom of a staircase, bludgeoned to death, she has no other choice. A collection of booths for artisans and craft sellers in a renovated apple warehouse, Artisans Alley is the main attraction in the quaint Victoria Square shopping area. But business under Ezra had been faltering - enough to provoke someone to murder?

Katie has had more than her share of death - her late husband (and Ezra's former partner), Chad, died in a car accident six months ago. But as she digs deeper into Ezra's murder, her husband's death starts to look suspicious. While the cops are proceeding by the book, Katie is investigating by the booths - for the answer to the killer's identity lies in the hidden secrets of Artisans Alley itself.


McKinlay Mill, a small town outside Rochester, New York is the setting for Lorraine Bartlett's new Victoria Square cozy mystery series. The first book in the series,
A Crafty Killing, introduces readers to Katie Bonner, Barlett's latest protagonist. Bartlett using a couple of different pen names is no stranger to the mystery genre. Her Booktown series is extremely successful and readers won't be disappointed with her latest release. Filled with great characters and interesting crafts this book will appeal to many kinds of mystery readers.

Katie Bonner's husband used their life savings to become a partner in Artisan Alley, a place where craftsman and artists could set up booths and sell their wares. Artisan Alley was Chad's dream not Katie's, and she was furious. When he is killed in a freak car accident, Katie inherits his ten percent of the business he operates along with Ezra Hilton. Katie is content to let Ezra run Artisan's Alley in hopes that she can get back some of her money and start the Bed and Breakfast she always wanted. When Ezra is found dead, Katie finds out that she is not only the executor of his will, but also the major stockholder in Artisan's Alley. Faltering and plagued with money problems Artisan's Alley, housed in an old applesauce warehouse, isn't what Katie had in mind for her life's work and now she a suspect in a murder investigation. The police are certainly no help, as Katie starts to put the clues together on her own... Artisan's Alley may hold the key to her future and the identity of the killer.

Lorraine Bartlett's first book in the Victoria Square mystery series is right up the reader's "alley". This is a great cozy mystery with engaging characters and an interesting plot. Bartlett uses her characteristic fast pace and descriptive style to bring Victoria Square to life. This little corner of McKinlay Mill is filled with quaint shops and forgotten treasures. Bartlett's descriptions of the town and it's people sets this series apart from the pack. McKinlay Mill will become a place readers want to return to again and again.

Katie Bonner is a great protagonist. She is resourceful, quick witted and determined. Katie comes across as a strong female character though she does show vulnerability through the death of her husband and her regrets about how they left things between them. I thought this made for a very engaging character that readers could identify with and learn to love. Her own dreams have to be put aside as she quits her job as an insurance agent and begins to manage Artisan's Alley. She is having problems with vendors, the bank and of course there is a killer on the loose. I liked the way Katie problem solved. When the cops didn't suit her in the investigation, she started working on the problem on her own. She took on proving her own innocence and did it with flair. I liked the way the author showed her investigating style and gave readers a prelude for what to expect from the series.

The supporting cast was well fleshed out and readers will like all of the quirky citizens of McKinlay Mill. The book is very fast paced and can easily be read in one or two sittings. It's a great weekend read and cozy mystery lovers will really enjoy the start of a great new series. I recommend this one to cozy readers who are looking for something new and readers of the Booktown series. You'll love this one! If you are new to cozies, this would be a great book to start you out on your journey through this ever growing sub-genre.

A Crafty Killing is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag! Definitely, looking forward to the next book in this series.

Lorraine Bartlett is a New York Times bestselling author of another mystery series. She lives and writes in Rochester, New York.


misskallie2000 said...

I love mystery and I am adding A Crafty killing to my wish list.
Thanks for the great reveiw.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Mystica said...

Mystery and murder are an interesting mix. This sounds good.