Murder in the Reading Room
by Ellery Adams
Mass Market Paperback
Published April 30th 2019
Storyton Hall, Virginia, is a paradise for book lovers who come from all over for literary getaways. But manager Jane Steward is temporarily leaving for another renowned resort—in hopes of solving a twist-filled mystery . . .
Jane’s boyfriend is missing, and she thinks she may find him at North Carolina’s historic Biltmore Estate. Officially, she’s there to learn about luxury hotel management, but she’s also prowling around the breathtaking buildings and grounds looking for secret passageways and clues. One of the staff gardeners promises to be helpful . . . that is, until his body turns up in the reading room of his cottage, a book on his lap.
When she finally locates the kidnapped Edwin, his captor insists that she lead him back to Storyton Hall, convinced that it houses Ernest Hemingway’s lost suitcase, stolen from a Paris train station in 1922. But before they can turn up the treasure, the bell may toll for another victim...
When I began reading this book I had that feeling you get when you walk into a movie theater and the movie started early. I sat there with the “wait, what?” look on my face knowing I must have missed something key to the plot. I think the previous book must have had some sort of cliffhanger which led straight into this book. After reading a little bit farther I finally figured out what was going on. Thank goodness.
The whole concept of the book was pretty interesting: librarians being guardians protecting ancient artifacts of writers from the past, Shakespeare, Hemingway, Charlotte Brontë, etc. It reminded me a lot of The Librarians TV Show on TNT but without all the fantastical elements. The secondary characters the Fins and the Cover Girls were interesting aspects of the whole “secret library” thing.
I felt bad for Jane when her thought to be dead husband showed up not dead at all, only dead in his memory of her and everything he used to know. I wondered how she would get the best of the bad guy who had kidnapped Edwin and threatened everything she held dear. In some ways, I felt like some of the plot devices were the easy way out. Not that it wasn’t interesting and good. It was, very good.
There is a lot going on in this book, civil war reenactments, prisoners held agains their will, murder. Lots to wade through. The literal climax of the book happened at about 85% in and I kind of wondered if an excerpt of another book awaited me at the end. There was no excerpt. The wrap up was a pretty weighty chunk of the book and I thought a bit too long-winded. But it was interesting to know these after-the-fact facts.
Over all, pretty good. Not enough in the beginning to please my curiosity. Too much at the end. But the middle surely made up for all of that. Quite a clever story that I think most cozy readers would gobble up like chocolate pie. Check this one out but have THE MYSTERY IN THE LOCKED LIBRARY (#4 in the Book Retreat Mysteries) on hand in case you need a refresher of what is about to happen.
I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in return for an honest review. I thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this title.