Alicia Bessette book signing set in Manteo

Published 7:10 pm Wednesday, July 13, 2022

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At the top of the 2022 best-seller list at Downtown Books in Manteo – which features several local authors and Outer Banks-oriented books – is Alicia Bessette’s Smile Beach Murder.

“The first in a planned Outer Banks Bookshop Mystery series, Smile Beach Murder has been garnering attention since its pub week in early May with a mention in the New York Times Book review,” stated a Downtown Books press release. “Not only is it the book of the summer at Downtown Books and at sister store Duck’s Cottage Coffee & Books, it has also been on the Southern Independent Bookseller’s Alliance best-seller list for the past several weeks.”

The book is set on fictional Cattail Island – which Bessette has said is a mixture of Ocracoke and Manteo – readers are introduced to Callie Padgett, a former reporter-turned-bookshop-clerk who has returned home to regroup after being laid off. “When a body turns up at the foot of the lighthouse, in circumstances eerily similar to her mother’s death years before, Callie finds herself becoming an amateur sleuth as she tries to figure out the connection between the two deaths and her connection to her island home,” stated the release.

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Downtown Books host Bessette for a book signing on Friday, July 15 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Downtown Books is located at 103 Sir Walter Raleigh Street in downtown Manteo. Books can be reserved online at and can be shipped after the event.