Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Murder in the Locked Library: A Book Retreat Mystery

Happy Book Release Day!  The Marmalade Murders by Elizabeth J. Duncan, Bleeding Tarts by Kirsten Weiss, Read Herring Hunt by V.M. Burns, Murder in the Locked Library by Ellery Adams, Death of a Cookbook Author by Lee Hollis, Dead Girl Running by Christina DoddExpiration Date by Devon Delaney, Antique Blues by Jane K. Cleland, Murder Most Fermented by Christine Blum, Antiques Wanted by Barbara Allen, Murder Will Speak by Penny Richards, Hide and Sneak by G.A. McMcKevett, The Mother's Day Mishap by Kathi Daley and The Amish Teacher's Gift by Rachel Good are a few of the new novels out today.

Murder in the Locked Library by Ellery Adams is the fourth tale in A Book Retreat Mystery series.  Jane Steward is excited that the construction is beginning on the Walt Whitman Spa.  The groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for the next evening.  After the digging begins, it looks like the festivities will have to be postponed.  Bones were uncovered by the excavator along with a padlocked box and a farthing.  Inside the box is the remains of a badly deteriorated book.  It so happens that the Robert Harley Rare Book Society is attending a conference at the Storyton Hall and they are happy to help discern the books title.  Bart Baylor identifies the book and then expires in the Henry James library.  Jane, with the aid of her trusted, employees delves into the lives of the members of the Rare Book Society to pinpoint the culprit before the conference ends.  How does the skeleton relate to Bart’s death?  Jane is also worried about Edwin Alcott.  There has been limited communication and the recent postcards people have been receiving seem unusually chatty (for Edwin).  As the investigation into Bart’s murder heats up, her concerns about Edwin will have to take a backseat.    Time is of the essence.  They need to work quickly or something very precious could be lost.

I love the concept for A Book Retreat Mystery series.  As a booklover, I would love to visit (let’s face it—live at) Storyton Hall.  If you are new to the series, I suggest starting with Murder in the Mystery Suite.  There is more to Storyton Hall than a beautiful book themed inn.  Jane is the latest Guardian who safeguards a hidden library filled with priceless (and rare) books and manuscripts.  Jane’s role and that of her staff (the Fins) is explained in the first book.  Murder in the Locked Library is well-written, but it does have a slower pace.  I did not mind the pace because the story drew me in from the very beginning. Storyton Hall with its beautiful book themed rooms were brought to life for me courtesy of the author’s descriptions. The characters are established and engaging.  There is a cast of regular characters that include Mr. Sinclair, Mr. Butterworth, Hem and Fitz (Jane’s twin boys), and the Cover Girls (Jane’s friends which make up the female book club).  I like the boys are portrayed as mischievous and curious.  Jane loves them dearly, but she does get frustrated with them at times (which is realistic).  I like how the three storylines come together in the end.  The mystery was compelling and complex.  I do wish, though, that it had been harder to identify the guilty party.  Two little pieces of information gave it away to me (this is the only weak part of the book).  The why did not become apparent until much later in the book.  I am glad that the sheriff works with Jane and her group on the investigation.  They have resources that are not available to the local police.  At the end of Murder in the Locked Library, we get a glimpse of what will be happening in the next A Book Retreat Mystery (which I am eager to read).  My rating for Murder in the Locked Library is 4.5 out of 5 stars.

The other books in A Book Retreat Mystery series are Murder in the Mystery Suite, Murder in the Paperback Parlor, and Murder in the Secret Garden.  Thank you for reading my latest review.  If you find it helpful, please consider hitting the Follow button (top right).  On Wednesday I will be featuring Soul of the Witch by Deanna Chase.   I hope your day is filled with delightful new books.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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