Tag Archives: Public libraries—Fiction

Jenn McKinlay, On Borrowed Time

(2015-01-17 005)Title: On Borrowed Time

Author: Jenn McKinlay

Series: A Library Lover’s Mystery, book 5

Publication Information: New York: Berkeley Prime Crime, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-425-26073-9

Library of Congress Classification: PS3556.R45

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Norris, Lindsay (Fictitious character)—Fiction
Briar Creek (Conn. :  Fictitious place)—Fiction
Christmas—Fiction
Library directors—Fiction
Public libraries—Fiction
Murder—Investigation—Fiction
Kidnapping–Fiction
Man-woman relationships–Fiction

This is the fifth book in A Library Lover’s Mystery series.

Lindsay Norris is the public library director of Briar Creek, Connecticut, a small New England town. She lives in an apartment with her dog, Heathcliff, and is part of a love triangle with local taxi boat captain, Mike Sullivan, and recently arrived (and married) British actor, Robbie Vine.

The town is preparing for Christmas. The library is decorated, and we get to meet the locals as the book progresses. Beth, the children’s librarian, is one of Lindsay’s best friends. Unfortunately, Beth also has a thing for Lindsay’s brother, Jack. Jack is an economist; he travels the world having one adventure (or misadventure, depending on your point of view) after another as he helps companies across the globe.

Jack sneaks into the library through and open window and Lindsay discovers him. Of course Jack doesn’t come right out and tell her that he’s in trouble. That would be too easy. He promises to tell her everything after he takes a nap. Lindsay was going to use the room for her library book club, but Jack’s presence causes her to move the meeting to another room.

Lindsay later finds the body of someone she doesn’t know in the room, and Jack is now missing. She does not tell the police the entire story of what happened, and she ends up getting Mike and–to a lesser extent–Robbie involved in the case. Mike and Lindsay witness Jack’s abduction by speedboat. Then Lindsay is threatened not to tell the police or her brother would be killed.

Beth is an interesting character. As a librarian responsible for teenage programming, she gets dressed up in a steampunk outfit to lead a teenage group in a get-together at the local restaurant. She’ a bit eclectic, and these are the types of characters that I like. To an extent she marches to her own drum and doesn’t care what others think. The book includes book club members’ recipes, one of which is Beth’s.

The love triangle isn’t something that I can relate to, since I’ve never been in one. Mike and Robbie do compete for Lindsay’s attention, and try to one-up each other. Robbie is only married for convenience and promises to divorce his wife.

It’s Christmas time and the library is decorated, but there really isn’t a feel for the holiday. The only time that Christmas comes into the picture is when Lindsay debates on whether or not to tell her parents what happened to Jack; the family is supposed to get together for the holiday.

As for Jack, eh. He’s just another pretty boy. It’s stretching reality to believe that archaeologists could live the life of Indiana Jones let alone economists. I sympathize with poor Beth, who’s bound to get burned in one of the upcoming novels.

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JoAnna Carl, The Chocolate Book Bandit

(2015-01-30 001)Title: The Chocolate Book Bandit

Series: A Chocoholic mystery

Author: JoAnna Carl

Publication Information: New York, N.Y.: Published by the Penguin Group, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-451-46754-6

Library of Congress Classification: PS3569.A51977

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Woodyard, Lee McKinney (Fictitious character)–Fiction
Warner Pier (Mich. : Fictitious place)–Fiction
Murder–Investigation–Fiction
Public libraries–Fiction

Lee McKinney Woodyard has been invited to become a trustee of the Warner Pier Public Library, which has a new director, Henry “Butch” Cassidy. She attends one of the meetings where, unfortunately,  one of the trustees is murdered right before a meeting, Lee becomes a suspect as do the trustees.

Told in the first person, the book slowly reveals who Lee is: married (her second), the manager of TenHuis Chocolate, a specialty shop in Warner Pier, Michigan. (Chocolate trivia is given between every couple of chapters.) Her and her husband grew up in this small town, where everyone knows everyone’s business. She also twists her words when she’s nervous. As the niece-in-law of the local police chief, Lee seems to have an inside track on certain information.  When someone tries to kill Lee, she is forced to deal with having police protection.

Lee ends up investigating the death and well as what’s going on in the library. One of Warner Pier’s local elite has an interest in the basement in the library. Why? Lee finds herself attracted to Butch as her husband seems more and more distant, spending time with his former high school flame.

The book is good, but the reveal of the murderer left me a bit flat. I think part of the problem is that I really do like Shelly Freydont’s murder mystery books.