Sunday, July 22, 2018

Bookish Thoughts: A Murder for the Books by Victoria Gilbert

Anyone who claims there are no stupid questions has never worked in a public library. ~ Opening of A Murder for the Books 


A Murder for the Books (Blue Ridge Library Mysteries #1) by Victoria Gilbert
Crooked Lane Books, 2017
Crime Fiction/Cozy; 336 pgs

I went from liking cozies somewhat to loving them in the last couple years. So many good ones have come out. Or maybe it is just me and my reading mood, and cozies are appealing to me more and more. Thank you to everyone who voted for A Murder for the Books in my May TBR List poll. I enjoyed my time in Taylorsford, Virginia with Amy Webber and her aunt. This particular mystery held a double appeal for me. Not only did it have a modern murder that needed solving, but also an old one. I do love a good (or sordid) family secret!

Our heroine Amy Webber is manager of the local public library, having moved to Taylorsford with her aunt who has been having health issues. One day her handsome new next-door neighbor, Richard Muir, stops by the library to do some research on his family history, hoping to clear the name of the woman whom his great uncle loved, accused of murdering her husband in 1825. She may have been acquitted, but the town folk never believed it. While showing Richard the way to the archives, she never expects to find a body just inside. While the police begin to investigate the more recent murder, Amy and Richard begin digging into the past, finding more than they bargained for. Could a conspiracy be involved? Could the present day murder be tied to events the pair have uncovered about the past; secrets someone(s) wanted to keep buried?

Amy is a very relatable character, a plus-sized librarian, who is witty and smart. She’s come out of a bad relationship and is a little wary of starting a new one, and so when Richard makes his interest known, Amy finds herself backpedaling fast. I liked seeing their relationship evolve over the course of the novel. Richard is a choreographer and dancer who teaches dance at a university. I do think he moved a bit fast for comfort (and so did Amy), but I did like Richard. He comes with his own broken heart story, which plays nicely into the novel. I liked how supportive he is of Amy and tackles her concerns head on while at the same time being willing to give her the space she needs.

Some of the more minor characters are worth noting as well. Oh, I do hope Sunshine, Amy's library assistant, runs for mayor! And I just love Amy’s Aunt Lydia. There is also the mysterious and intimidating Paul Dassin who definitely does not seem to be on the up and up. 

This was such an entertaining novel. Amy comes into the present day murder investigation naturally and it never felt as if I had to suspend my disbelief to buy why she was involved. Victoria Gilbert has created a rich history for her characters, especially their ancestors. I liked that Amy’s own family was tied into it all, and not always in a favorable light. Some may be put off by the romance thread that runs throughout the story, but I did not mind it. Sometimes a side dish of romance does a mystery good. While the mystery itself was not that hard to figure out—the whodunit and why—I really enjoyed my time spent getting from the beginning to the end. I would love to spend more time with Amy.

For more information about the author and her books, visit her website. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.


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24 comments:

  1. I feel quite sure that I voted for this book in your poll. That first line alone is perfect. And so very true. Ha! I've got to read this book soon. It's been on my list. And now #2 has come out earlier this month - Shelved Under Murder and there will be a #3 next February - Past Due For Murder. So there you go - the story continues.

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    1. Kay - You chose well. :-) I really enjoy this series!

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  2. This sounds like an entertaining mystery!

    I'm the opposite from you, though - I was really into cozies a few years back (especially The Cat Who series!) but now I don't read them as much :p Still enjoy them, though!

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    1. Eustacia - It was very entertaining! My husband read the Cat Who books for awhile there, but I never got into them myself, I'm afraid.

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  3. I love cozies too but haven't read one in a while. This one sounds like fun!

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  4. I haven't read a cozy in a long while but they do seem like good summer choices. I hope you've been well Wendy and that your mom is doing better too.

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    1. Diane - Perfect for those moments when you want something light and suspenseful. :-)

      My mom is doing wonderfully, thanks for asking.

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  5. I like copies and this opening line is brilliant.

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    1. Mystica - This is a good one! I hope you will give it a try.

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  6. I don't read a lot of cozies, but this series does sound like fun. Probably because the MC is a librarian. :)

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    1. Lark - There's something to be said for a librarian main character. :-)

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  7. I'm like Lark; I rarely read cozies but this one sounds interesting given the library theme. :)

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  8. I've been wanting to read this series, mainly because of the library aspect and because it's set in my state, lol, but I'm thrilled to hear that it's a great read. I'm definitely going to have to check it out now :)

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    1. Suzanne - I do recommend it if you get the chance!

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  9. I am actually kind of discovering this genre right now, and am always looking for new reads -- and this sounds like such a treat! And a killer first line!

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    1. Verushka - I hope you enjoy this one when you read it. Cozies are great when you are in the mood for a lighter mystery.

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  10. I absolutely loved this one! I agree that Amy is so relatable and I loved the bookish setting. I just read the 2nd one and while I didn't love it quite as much I'm really excited to see where this series goes.

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    1. Katherine - I am so glad you loved this one too!

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  11. I like a cosy once in a while and this one looks a treat. At first glance I imagined the title meant someone had killed in order to gain possession of that library!!

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    1. Stephanie Jane - Haha! I can see how the title could be misleading that way. :-) At least it partly takes place in the library.

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  12. Sounds like a fun cozie and I like the literary theme and I can enjoy a little romance thrown in there too. Glad you enjoyed it!

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