"Handbook for Homicide" A Booktown Mystery By Lorna Barrett: Review/Giveaway

by Sandra Murphy

Details on how to win a copy of the previous book in this series, A Killer Edition, at the end of the review and links to purchase the new one.

Tricia Miles went on vacation with her kind of boyfriend/friend with benefits but boring, Marshall. Ireland should have been fun. Instead, she spent most of her time watching Marshall take care of the tour’s passengers. It was his job, but still you’d think he’d make a little time for her. And that’s what she got—a very little time.

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Does Tricia need Marshall? She has her own business, selling mysteries, two great employees. Her sister, Angelica, is a wildly successful entrepreneur in her own right as well as using an alias in order to help others open businesses too. She lives next door to Tricia so nightly happy hours and dinner delivered from Angelica’s restaurant is another plus. Right now, Angelica is recovering from surgery on her foot and staying home is driving her stir crazy.

When Pixie takes the trash out to the dumpster, she calls Tricia for help. There’s a body, strangled, in the trash bin and well, Tricia’s had experience with dead bodies. The victim is a stranger to Tricia, but Pixie knew her a bit. Susan Morris was homeless and living in her car. Tricia wasn’t aware there was a homeless problem but soon finds there’s an encampment outside of town.

Pixie is under suspicion since she has a criminal record and knew Susan. She’s terrified she’ll be arrested, evidence or not. Sure of her innocence, Tricia agrees to find out all she can. Tricia and Marshall take food and bottled water to the homeless camp but don’t find anything new.

In the meantime, Russ, Tricia’s old boyfriend, has married and has a son. His wife is in California, a contestant on a cooking show, hoping for a show of her own. Their toddler is with Russ who makes no secret of the fact he never wanted a child. Tricia gets a phone call from the child’s grandmother, asking for any information or contact numbers Tricia can give her. Between the murder, helping her sister, her own business, and two attempted break-ins there, Russ’ problems, and Marshall’s neediness, Tricia hardly has a moment to herself.

This is book fourteen in the series. Tricia is in her forties, a nice change of pace from younger main characters in other series. She doesn’t take unnecessary risks but is feeling bored with her life as it is. In previous books, Angelica could be overbearing as she knows what she wants and how to get it. This time, she’s more dependent on others until she’s mobile again. Angelica’s dog, Sarge, and Tricia’s cat, Miss Marple, only add to the fun.

Tricia shares recipes at the back of the book—lemon crackle cookies, old-fashioned applesauce cake, easy guacamole, and cheesy corn dip, made with cream cheese, Mexican cheese, frozen corn, and spicy chipotle ranch dip.

To enter to win a copy of the previous book in this series, A Killer Edition, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "edition,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen August 15, 2020. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. BE AWARE THAT DUE TO THE CURRENT CRISIS THERE MAY BE A DELAY IN SHIPPING THE WINNING BOOK. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode went up this week.

You can use these links to purchase the book. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch in St. Louis Missouri. She writes about eco-friendly topics, pets and wildlife for magazines and reviews mysteries and thrillers for KRL. A collection of her short stories, published by Untreed Reads, From Hay to Eternity: Ten Tales of Crime and Deception can be found at all the usual outlets. Each one is a little weird and all have a twist you won't see coming.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Sounds interesting! Count me in!

  2. I love this series. Thanks so much for the contest.

  3. I love this series! legallyblonde1961@yahoo.com

  4. I have not read any of the books in this series. Thanks for the opportunity to win. stclairck@gmail.com

  5. New series for me, count me in! tWarner419(at)aol(dot)com

  6. New series is me. Would really like to read.


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