Monday, March 20, 2017

What I Read in June 2016 Part VII. . .

What I Read in June 2016 Part VII. . . 

Library Lovers Mysteries by Jenn McKinlay

Due or Die (Library Lover's Mystery, #2)Due or Die (#2)

When Lindsey Norris is asked to sit in on the elections for the president of the Friends of the Library Committee, she has no idea what she's in for. Bill Stint, a wealthy elderly gentleman, has been president for a very long time and does not take it kindly when sweet nurse Carrie Rushton is unanimously elected. He blames Lindsey, as does Marjorie Bilson, a local woman who has been in love with Bill forever. Marjorie's antics leave Lindsey wondering whether Marjorie is a few pages short of a book. Then Carrie returns home to discover her husband has been shot dead. Who could have done it? The police obviously suspect Carrie but Lindsey wonders if it was a set up to reinstate Bill. She already has her hands full working full time and caring for a puppy someone left in the book drop and wondering when or if Sully was going to ask her out before Bill's nephew Edmund does, she has little time to investigate a mystery. Lindsey is certain Carrie didn't kill Marcus but when strange things begin happening around Lindsey, she feels certain she knows who did it, if only they could get a confession.

Hooray! Jenn McKinlay also felt this cozy mystery needed a pet. It's not enough to have books, crafts and recipes all in one series. The story is enriched by the addition of Heathcliff, a pit bull/Schnauzer mutt someone left in the library book drop. He's very sweet and friendly. I was disappointed he wasn't a Scottie as depicted on the cover but I loved him anyway. He's the best character in the story and advances some of the action.

As for the mystery, it kept me guessing though I did wonder.... I was thrown off by something but I wasn't surprised at the reveal. This isn't the most complicated of Jenn McKinlay's mysteries. The focus is more on the library and library life, which I like. I love Crafternoons and how Beth is always wearing a crazy costume for story hour. This book contains spoiler alerts for A Room With a View and Wuthering Heights. Good thing I've seen two adaptations of A Room With a View or I would have been mad. I love the introduction of rare books at the end.

It's amazing how Lindsey remembers what everyone in town likes to read. I like that a lot about her. What I don't like about her is how she has to wait for a man to ask her out. It's one thing to swear off men and another to be attracted to someone and wait for them to ask you out. Ugh. Just ask him already. Nancy and Lindsey's other friends are funny and charming. They care for her a lot and know her better than she knows herself.

New characters in this story include Carrie and Marcus Rushton. Carrie is a sweetheart of a woman married to a man-child who thinks the world has it out for him and expects to be taken care of. Marcus was a loser but he didn't deserve to die like that. I was surprised he was the one who was murdered. I kept thinking someone else had been murdered until they popped back into the story again. Another new character is Bill Stint. He's a crotchety, prejudiced old man who likes his power trip and doesn't understand no one else does. He's nasty to Lindsey for no good reason. Marjorie Bilson has been in love with him forever and to her unbalanced mind, Bill is a god and she would literally do anything for him. This is a little creepy. I found Edmund off-putting for some reason. Probably because Lindsey 
thought he reminded her of her cheating ex. 

Book, Line and Sinker (Library Lover's Mystery, #3)
Book Line and Sinker  (#3)

It's almost summer in Briar Creek and everything is going great for Lindsey Norris - that is, until her ex John arrives in town wanting her back. Lindsey knows she's committed to Sully but John won't go away. He's decided to stay in Briar Creek for the summer. Then Lindsey's friend Milton gets into a heated argument over the preservation of the islands vs. treasure hunting. A treasure hunting company has come to town in search of Captain Kidd's treasure and everyone seems to want a piece of the treasure. When Milton becomes a murder suspect, Lindsey steps in to help him. Sully wants closure for his childhood friends who were murdered and he is determined to find out what really happened and why. Briar Creek is about to have a very interesting spring!

This mystery is better than the previous two. The murderer seemed obvious but it was more complicated than it seemed and ended up not too obvious. I didn't like the relationship drama but it advances Lindsey's story and shows how she has become a part of the community and it is now a part of her. She and Sully make a cute couple. I especially liked when Lindsey was wearing her archivist hat trying to authenticate the treasure map and figure out it's provenance. My heart skipped a beat when she visited her old mentor at Yale (dream job location and hello if they have a vacancy, I'm available).

The crafternoon club members are back for cameos, along with Heathcliff. Lindsey's ex John makes his first appearance on page. He's kind of nerdy and awkward but I think he has a kind heart. Lindsey has moved on and become a different person than she was when she was with him so John is not the right person for her. I think the situation with the grad student was probably not entirely his fault though I don't blame Lindsey for being angry. Another new character is Trudi, who is annoying at best, being self-centered but she does have a point about bringing in business for the area. Then there's the treasure hunter who doesn't seem like a nice guy and the Swedish twins who work for him. At first I didn't like the twins because they seemed like dumb bully types to me but they ended up having a little more dimension. The mayor of Briar Creek also makes a brief appearance here and he seems like he could be a smarmy sort of character but it's hard to tell. I don't think Lindsey likes him much.

I love Lindsey and the library and will be recommending this series to my librarian and archivist friends.

Read It and Weep (Library Lover's Mystery, #4)Read it and Weep  (#4)

When Lindsey's friend Violet enlists the aid of her friends to join in the community theater production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Lindsey knows the stage is not the place for her. All her friends and staff members are involved - even Ms. Cole aka "the lemon." Lindsey reluctantly agrees to help with costumes. She's surprised to discover Sully, still not really talking to her, helping with the sets and realizes her friends are playing matchmaker. Sully is jealous of Lindsey's growing friendship with the famous British actor Robbie Vine. Robbie has a certain charm that could sweep Lindsey off her feet, if her heart didn't belong to a sailor. Robbie's charm makes him the perfect Puck for the play. When mysterious things start happening on set and Robbie's understudy, a teen named Dylan, is forced to take over, Lindsey sticks her nose in where it doesn't belong to solve the mystery before anyone else gets hurt- or worse. She's convinced the mystery has something to do with a nasty New York theater critic and/or Charlene's biological father, a billionaire who doesn't take no for an answer.

If this series wasn't about a librarian or my first exposure to Jennifer McKinlay, I'd probably quit reading. Once again the mystery was fairly obvious. It took a little while before the clue was dropped but once it was, I knew right away. The very best part of the book is where Lindsey uses her librarian skills to look in a library database. She shows why librarians do it better than Google.

I also found the similarities between Robbie and Puck a little too coincidental to be true. Is he a good actor or playing a fairy version of himself? Like Lindsey, I found him charming but not entirely sincere. There are many other new characters to complicate the plot. There's teen Dylan, who seems like he has a good head on his shoulders, despite being a sickly youth with an overprotective mother. The physical description of the nasty reporter, Harvey, reminded me of a donkey so naturally I thought he would play Bottom, but he isn't a funny character- just mean and rude. He doesn't have much motivation for being that way except he's being paid to be nasty. Which leads us to Sterling Buchanan, a character people talk a lot about but is barely in the story. What is his problem? Why does he hate Violet so much? Why does he hate to lose and can he really shut down Violet's theater? There's just no real character development there. Other new characters include Brian, a husband who suspects his wife of cheating on him with Robbie. There's also Kitty and Lola, Robbie's estranged wife and dumped girlfriend who both want to stake their claim on him. They make women look bad. They're stereotypical and don't belong here.

The returning characters that play a bigger role here are Emma Plewicki, now Chief of Police. I was happy to see she had been promoted and is the first female police chief in Briar Creek. She's intelligent and knows how to deal with the locals without offending anyone. She allows Lindsey to be a "buttinski" as long as Lindsey isn't breaking any laws. Charlie also has a bigger part to play here. He's funny and goofy - providing comic relief. Mary's husband, Ian, also has a part in the play so we get to know him better. It's easy to see why she's attracted to him. Sadly, Lindsey and Sully don't get much character development. She's the same and he's silent and withdrawn. Mary hints at something from his past but Lindsey wants him to be the one to tell her.

The Cupcake Bakery and Hat Shop mysteries are better mysteries but this series has a special place in my heart since Lindsey is my alter ego in a nice fictional world where library jobs are actually available to recent graduates.

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