Sentenced to Death by Lorna Barrett.*
Many of the residents of Stoneham, NH (affectionately known as Booktown) are gathered in the town square to celebrate Founders' Day. Tricia Miles is watching Deborah Black's son Davey while her friend is making a speech. A small airplane is circling overhead towing a banner promoting the festival. Deborah is about to begin her speech when the plane hurtles downward and crashes in the middle of the square.
Both the pilot and Deborah are killed, leaving behind his cash-strapped widow and Deborah's son and unpleasant husband. The deaths are presumed to be accidental, though Tricia suspects otherwise. Deborah and her husband had been having problems because he thought she was spending too much time and money on her shop The Happy Domestic, while pilot Monty Capshaw was also having financial troubles and had irreversible cancer.
Tricia's assitant Ginny is trying to convince her boss to give her more responsibility, her ex-boyfriend the editor of the local newspaper wants her to give him another chance, her ex-husband is sending her jewelry, and she has her own budding relationship with Captain Grant Baker from the County Sheriff's Department.
Meanwhile, Tricia is certain that the plane crash was no accident, and sets out to prove it in-between her other obligations.
Tricia is an appealing heroine, and although her sister can be a bit grating neither Angelica nor any of the other supporting characters are one-dimensional.
Booktown is based on the Welsh town of Hay-on-Wye and would be a fantastic idea here in the U.S., though perhaps not in this financial climate.
*FTC Full Disclosure: Many thanks to the publisher, who sent me a copy of the book for review purposes.