Crime Fiction/Cozy; 320 pgs
When I first heard about The Broken Spine by Dorothy St. James I knew I had to read it. I cannot resist and cozy mystery series set in a library. This one in particular caught my attention because of the premise. Trudell Becket is a pretty much by the book person who is not known for doing anything out of the ordinary. But when her beloved books are threatened at the library she works, drastic measures have to be taken. The mayor and town council of Cypress, South Carolina have decided their historic library would better serve the public by going bookless, and that means getting rid of all the books. This doesn't go over well with some of the town folk, much less Trudell. As a result, with the help of friends, she secrets the books away into the basement where she plans to open her own underground library. No one is going to take those precious books away from the town!
When the body of the man in charge of the library's transformation is murdered, all suspicion falls on Trudell. I mean, she did make it obvious she was opposed to the idea. In order to clear her name, Trudell and her friends are set on finding the killer themselves---and the while protecting the secret of their underground library.
I had a lot of fun reading The Broken Spine. Tru makes the perfect person behind the secret library just because she's so unassuming. She has a couple of very loyal friends, Tori and Flossie, who have her back at every turn. I especially liked Flossie, who is evidently a best selling author who refuses to tell even those closest to her what name she uses to write under or what books she's written. There's an adorable stray cat with a skull like marking on his head that finds his way into the library and Tru's heart.
There is a hint of romance, but the situation is complicated, and I was glad to see the author did not rush her characters into anything too soon. And who knows? Maybe it won't go in that direction at all. I am just not sure about her possible love interest, to be honest.
I thought the author did a good job with setting up the mystery and motives of possible suspects. I did figure out who was behind it all early on, but that in no way ruined the novel for me. This was a good first start to a series, one I look forward to continuing in the future.
What do you think of the idea bookless libraries?
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