Date published: December 6, 2011
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Book format: Paperback
Obtained via: Publisher
Reviewed by name and email address: Gina Ginalrmreviews@gmail.com
Settling in after inheriting her great-aunt’s book store in New York, Texas born and raised Darla Pettistone is on the verge of hosting her biggest book signing ever. She’s landed uber popular author of the Haunted High series, Valerie Baylor. With hundreds of young fans eager to buy Valerie’s latest book they’re even more eager to meet the woman behind the story. Along with her cadre of employees Darla is ready to go. Unfortunately, Valerie isn’t the easiest person to get along with.
Coming from money and making oodles more with her popular series, Valerie treats her entourage pretty darn badly. She snaps at them, denigrates them and still they cater to her every whim. When Valerie receives a suspicious note she ventures out into the street to confront the sender. Before she can deal with the letter writer Valerie is hit by a car and killed. While the police consider her death an accident Darla isn’t too sure that’s the case. Between a lone protestor proclaiming Valerie stole her book and a van full of Bible thumping zealots who drove all the way from Texas to confront Valerie along with a slew of fans who just may not stop at anything, Darla is left wondering if it’s a simple accident or a case of murder.
It is Darla’s cat, Hamlet, who leads her to the first clue. Is Hamlet on to something? Or is the finicky feline merely messing with his newly acquired human companion?
Anyone who knows me will figure out pretty quickly the main reason I picked up Ali Brandon’s DOUBLE BOOKED FOR DEATH is because one of the two main characters is a cat named Hamlet. And given my penchant for black cats…well it was sure to be a winner for me. (Not that I don’t adore my white Persian and orange tabby foster). Ms. Brandon completely captures a cat’s true personality—especially when Hamlet demonstrates his disdain for the human race. He’s smart but not a caricature—he’s spot on just what a cat is and does.
The secondary characters including Darla’s friends Jake and new buddy Reese along with her employees James and Lizzie flesh out the story to make it interesting and fun. Through them some pretty humorous lines pop up. One of my favourites was Darla’s referral of Hamlet is Beelzebub in Fur Pants.
The mystery of who killed Valerie kept me guessing until the very end. Ms. Brandon ably showed the struggle someone with social anxiety disorder can have just to function day-to-day with compassion and understanding.
I would have liked to see more of an interest between Reese and Darla, but that’s the romance reader in me—a burgeoning relationship isn’t needed for a good mystery.
If you are a cozy fan this one should definitely top your list. If you haven’t tried a cozy mystery as a read, DOUBLE BOOKED FOR DEATH is an ideal read to start with. I’m eagerly looking forward to the next book in the Black Cat Bookshop Mystery Series.
This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.