I loved this cozy mystery Hamlet reminds me of my big ol cat, Fidget, who died a few months ago I laughed until I cried at his shenanigans Whoever says cats are stupid have never meet Hamlet, Figgie, and my black cat Clyde Hamlet helps solves the mysterious death of a very popular author Valerie Baylor Baylor writes a very popular Young Adult series Haunted High Baylor is even hotter than the Boy Wizard author And Darla Pettistone is going to host the famous writer in her bookstore that she inherited from her late great aunt Before Baylor and her entourage arrive, the lone protestor is still across the street same garb, but a different sign The message is similar to the one she carried yesterday But why is she accusing the bestselling author of plagiarism Darla s staff aren t too keen on having Baylor at Pettistone Fine Books either Darla needs sales of the signing finances are tight at the store right now, and she has her friend and tenant Jake to look after, especially since the older woman is a disabled cop Jake and her friend Reese an off duty detective are providing security for the event, trying to keep everyone in long black capes and a streak of red lipstick in an orderly line When Baylor and her entourage finally get to the shop, Darla is dismayed witth the author s behavior She is rude to everyone Hamlet likes her and sits with her in the outdoor court yard After only an hour Baylor announces that needs another cigarette break and goes out to the court yard A few minutes later, tires screech Baylor has been hit by a church van driven by Darla s sister friend, Marnie Yes, Marnie threatened both Darla and the dead author Was Baylor pushed or accidentally fell into the van s path Of course it was murder Hamlet begins pulling books off the shelves whose titles give Darla and Jake clues in the case The big black cat does but I don t want to spoil the surprise of all what he does Suspects abound in the death of Valerie Baylor I just loved the characters They rer quirky and seem to be real The writing was pretty good it really didn t feel like a cozy mystery because Brandon knew how to build suspense and the book is a faster pace than most cozies I WILL definitely read this series In this first installment of the Black Cat Bookshop Mystery series, we are introduced to Darla, our main protagonist who inherited her great aunt s bookshop in Brooklyn As Darla and her bookshop staff are hosting a book signing by a popular young adult author, things take a dark turn The author dies I m sure you can guess what happens next Darla takes on the role of amateur sleuth with the help of her friend who is a retired cop to figure out if the author s death was an accident or murder Double Booked for Death was my first cat cozy mystery I loved the setting an independent book shop in Brooklyn Also there s a giant black cat named Hamlet my family has a black cat named Frodo While it kept me guessing until the end, I wished the characters were better written Everyone was quite one dimensional, and Hamlet needed some screen time This won t be my last time reading a cozy mystery, though It was the perfect type of book to read during cold, wintery days. Yes yes, another bookstore with cat mystery More interesting than most because our heroine is from Texas and the store is in Brooklyn Like another reviewer here, I think the fundie xians subplot could have been dropped with no loss to the story As a former bookstore owner myself, I was interested in how the store runs so it s a mix of new and old who buys the old rare books for stock requires specialized knowledge which heroine doesn t have not exactly ethical for James to buy store stock to then flog on ebay I d fire him And , though I did think the shelving on casters was a great idea.I like Darla and Reese just beginning to circle one another, maybe becoming friends first before heading into romance territory If you re anxious for them to get it on, and that s your primary reason for reading this kind of book, go buy some erotica I particularly liked Jake and would like a little info on her, age maybe, as Darla always calls her the older woman most of the time So, is she 40 in leopard print minis or 60 attracting Prof James Not bad, overall, and I ll certainly read Pow pow bada boom. I really enjoyed this book Darla Pettistone has inherited the book store Pettistone s Fine Books from her Great Aunt Dee.While doing a book signing for the Haunted High series The author, Valerie Baylor makes a visitoutside to speak to someone and ends up hit by a car Was it an accident or did someone push heron purpose Can Darla, along with her friends, find out what really happened The characters are well written, and I love Hamlet her black cat, she also received from Dee.I will be looking forward to seeing what Darla, Jake, Reese, and also Hamlet have in store in the next book. I was uncomfortable with the way a character who may have been trans was instead explained to dress in women s clothing because of social anxiety disorder They were called a cross dresser by other characters, pronouns were constantly changing, and the possibility of them being trans was never once mentioned. I was pretty disappointed that I wasn t able to read this series in order, because my mum accidentally ordered one as a gift for me and somehow bought the wrong one Eventually, I just ordered this for myself to read, and I definitely wasn t disappointed in THAT choice Basically I love the simplicity of murder mysteries, especially if they re cozy, set in a bookstore and feature a cat This has all of that, so of course I m going to love it Thankfully I ordered the rest of the series at the same time I did this one, although they haven t shown up yet They should arrive early next week, so keep a look out for those reviews A fun series that I highly recommend, five stars. I was struggling and slogging my way through this book wishing to avoid having it be either the last book read in 2015 or the first in 2016 when I finally decided that I did not care to read it at the end of a year, the beginning of a year, or anywhere in the middle of a year The book is just not worth my time and energy I got to the sentence The teen turned her Darla s way, displaying a moderate case of acne and a shock of bleached hair so overly processed that it would probably ignite if it came within ten feet of an open flame pg 56 and decided enough is enough The whole book or at least as far as I got in it is full of these snarky comments and observations Who needs it These snide remarks add nothing to the plot and really detracted from my ability to warm up to or have any appreciation at all for Darla as a protagonist in the book.In fact, I literally disliked this book from the first page because it is full of this type of hostility In the first five pages, beginning on page one, an old man has a run in with the cat, Darla has a run in with the old man, a girl with Darla, and Darla and the girl with the old man, then Darla has a run in with two young boys, and a snarky set of thoughts about her late great aunt who left Darla the bookstore By page 5 It pretty much goes downhill from there Seriously, this author seems to need a great deal of therapy as she seems to be carrying around a great deal of pent up hostility Except, I am no therapist and have no wish to invite that bad energy into my home and my life through a novel.On top of that, the book is too wordy and repetitive At one point, I had to check the back cover of the book to try and remind myself of what the book was supposed to be about as it was so bogged down in extraneous words that it seemed to have little or no plot There are way too many unnecessary details e.g do I really need to know each bite of food they consume between the sentences of their conversation NO I think too that Darla must not be very bright as she needs to discuss the barriers and other, fairly basic, crowd control over and over and over again I wondered if the author thought that the readers are also not too bright as we are reminded over and over and over again that there will be and later are hundreds of screaming teenaged girls at the bookstore for the big signing I stopped reading at page 56 and think already that this book is at least 100 pages too long the author would now owe me 44 pages but I want no from her so will call it even.Finally, part of the reason that I had put the book on my to read shelf was that it was supposed to include a black cat From what I could see the black cat was not really a character in the book but just another element included so that Darla had something else to complain about and make snarky comments about Besides which, from the way that the cat s behaviour and speculated behaviour is described, it seems like the author has never had any actual interactions with a real cat No There are too many wonderful books, good books, and even halfway decent books out there waiting to be read I am putting this one down and moving on to something else. As The New Owner Of Pettistone S Fine Books, Darla Pettistone Is Determined To Prove Herself A Worthy Successor To Her Late Great Aunt Deeand Equally Determined To Outwit Hamlet, The Smarter Than Thou Cat She Inherited Along With The Shop Darla S First Store Event Is A Real Coup The Hottest Bestselling Author Of The Moment Is Holding A Signing There But When The Author Meets An Untimely End During The Event, It S Ruled An Accident Until Hamlet Digs Up A Clue That Seems To Indicate Otherwise Actual Rating 3.5 StarsFor the most part, this was a fun, lighthearted cozy mystery with some great characters I liked the setting of the bookstore, but this seems to be a theme that is becoming all too familiar and formulaic in these types of books Books, bookstores and libraries are indeed the necessary fodder for bibliophiles, but it would be nice to have different settings every once in a while.After meeting Hamlet, the moody, tempermental, disdainful, naughty, grumpy black cat who came with the store when Darla took it over, my love and preference for dogs was totally validated Not saying I don t like cats, but their haughty, independent natures appeal less to me than the loveable, huggable, endearing charm of dogs Nevertheless, Hamlet seemed like an intelligent cat who helped Darla in her sleuthing by digging up clues for her.Most of the characters were quite well developed, especially Jake, the ex cop who rented out the basement apartment in the bookstore and was a good, loyal, steadfast friend to Darla Reese was a great guy, and I really liked how the potential romance between him and Darla if indeed there turns out to be one in the future wasn t rushed and didn t overwhelm the main focus of the story.I know the subplot of the mysterious footsteps was probably meant to lend a spooky, eerie feel to the story, but it wasn t really necessary to move the plot along.The climax was a littlewell, anticlimatic since Darla and Jake didn t really solve the mystery They just happened to be in the right place at the right time for the conclusion of the whodunnit The villain s motive also seemed a little stupid and flimsy.All in all, though, this was a fairly enjoyable read to make those chilly winter evenings pass quickly. I know, I know another mystery with a cat and a bookstore, right Well, when it s well done, it s not so bad, and this IS well done Texan Darla has moved to NY to run the bookstore left to her by her deceased aunt She s also inherited the bad mannered black cat, Hamlet We begin after she s been there for a few months and is about to host her first big book signing, for an author of the latest teen blockbuster series She s been warned that this author can be difficult to handle, and is calling this her Up Yours tour The reason She s a failed romance writer who was only able to get signings at a few indie bookstores around the country before hitting big with her paranormal teen book Now all the big chains want her to do signings for them, but she s only planning to go back to the stores who acknowledged her earlier books, and Darla s store is the first stop Darla enlists neighbor former NYPD officer Jake short for Jacqueline to help with crowd control Things seem to be going well at first, despite some infighting among the bookstore staff, the appearance of a protester and the threat of a church group picket, and then all hell breaks loose Val, the author, winds up dead in the street when she s supposed to be signing books The police at first think it s a simple, yet awful accident, but things keep nagging at Darla until she Jake start putting pieces together, with the unwitting or is it help of Hamlet and they realize there s a LOT going on than anyone realized There s also a subplot with mysterious break ins at the store and Darla s apartment nothing is stolen, but someone is CLEARLY looking for something , a potential future romance for Darla, and the developing relationship between Darla Hamlet the wonder cat All in all, a good read for a chilly day and a promising start for a new series.
DIANE A.S STUCKART who also writes as ALI BRANDON, ALEXA SMART and ANNA GERARD, is a member of that proud breed, the native Texan She was born in the West Texas town of Lubbock, home to Buddy Holly, prairie dogs, and Texas Tech University, where her mom once taught Most of her formative years, however, were spent in Dallas with her parents and siblings one younger sister and three younger brothers And then, when she was fifteen, her dad s work took them north of the Red River and into Oklahoma, settling just outside Oklahoma City.
- Mass Market Paperback
- 325 pages
- Double-Booked for Death (Black Cat Bookshop Mystery, #1)
- Ali Brandon
- 09 May 2019 Ali Brandon