The Avid Reader
, December 14, 2017
(view all comments by The Avid Reader)
A Murder for the Books by Victoria Gilbert is the first installment in A Blue Ridge Library Mystery series. Amy Webber is the library director for Taylorsford Public Library in Taylorsford, Virginia. Amy took this position after an incident at Clarion University with her ex-boyfriend, Charles Bartos. Amy is showing Richard Muir, Taylorsford’s newest resident, the archival building and she discovers the building is unlocked. They find the missing Doris Virts (escaped her caregiver again) inside and she has been murdered. Who would have wanted to kill Doris? Richard needs Amy’s help in proving that Eleanora Cooper did not kill her husband (the case is from the 1920s). Eleanora was acquitted of the crime, but the townspeople still did not believe her innocence. Eleanora disappeared after the trial and was never seen again. Richard’s great uncle Paul Dassin had been written a novel based on the trial and he had been in love with Eleanora. Richard inherited his new home from Paul and wants to finally prove Eleanora’s innocence. Is it possible the two crimes are related? Amy and Richard set out to get answers, but someone is not happy with their sleuthing.
A Murder for the Books has one of my favorite premises—a library and a librarian as a sleuth. I appreciated the fact the Amy likes to solve mysteries (so do I). The book takes place over a matter of weeks as Richard and Amy look into the two murder cases. I did feel the book was a little too long and could have used some editing (and rewriting). There was too much speculation, reiteration, gardening, dancing and admiration of Richard’s physique. The writing is nice, but the pace was sluggish. The action picks up towards the end of the story, and then it slows back down again (the author dragged out the capture of the killer). I did like the library, town, and especially Aunt Lydia (great character). The mysteries had some intriguing aspects. However, readers will have no problem solving them long before the reveal (which I find disappointing). I wish the author had thrown a twist in towards the end to surprise readers. I felt the romance was too pronounced and it progressed at a rapid pace. I prefer a romance that plays out slowly over the course of a series (let the characters get to know each other first before they progress to the next level). It seems that Amy is rushing into a new relationship after getting out of a bad one (that caused her to move to another town and get a new job). Richard comes across as a creepy at times and slightly cheesy (especially his lines). The ghost element never came alive for me. It was there (more pronounced at the end), but it felt forced (the author did not pull it off). I believe the author tried to put too many plots into one book (I only summarized the main points). I am giving A Murder for the Books 3 out of 5 stars. I am interested enough, though, to read the next book in A Blue Ridge Library Mystery series which is Shelved Under Murder.