Friday, November 10, 2017

By Book or By Crook (A Lighthouse Library Mystery #1)

Author:  Eva Gates
Genre:  Mystery

Mass Market Paperback; MP3 CD; Digital Book; Audio CD
ISBN #:  9780451470935; 9781494564667
Berkley Publishing (Tantor Audio)
352 Pages
February 3, 2015


For ten years Lucy has enjoyed her job poring over rare tomes of literature for the Harvard Library, but she has not enjoyed the demands of her family's social whorl or her sort-of-engagement to the staid son of her father's law partner.  But when her ten-year relationship implodes, Lucy realizes that the plot of her life is in need of a serious rewrite.

Calling on her Aunt Ellen, Lucy hopes that a little fun in the Outer Banks sun - and some confections from her cousin Josie's bakery - will help clear her head.  But her retreat quickly turns into an unexpected opportunity when Aunt Ellen gets her involved in the lighthouse library tucked away on Bodie Island.

Lucy is thrilled to land a librarian job in her favorite place in the world.  But when a priceless first edition Jane Austen novel is stolen and the chair of the library board is murdered, Lucy suddenly finds herself ensnared in a real-life mystery - and she's not so sure there's going to  be a happy ending.

Lucy Richardson has moved to the Outer Banks from her comfortable home in Boston, ostensibly to escape an unwanted marriage proposal.  She's been lucky enough to find a job working for a library in a renovated lighthouse, her last library job was at Harvard.

This library has been able to secure a set of first edition Jane Austen books, and a notebook written by the lady herself.  On opening night, the library chair makes a few choice remarks about Lucy receiving her job over a local resident - even though Lucy has a degree and the local, Louise Jane, does not.  Mr. Uppiton, the chair, also gets into an argument with the head of the library, Bertie, very loudly, with Bertie making a threat toward him.

Later on that evening, Mr. Uppiton is found dead, Bertie is in the room with a broken bottle in her hand (most likely the murder weapon, but we are never told so), and Lucy, along with the rest of their friends, is convinced she's innocent of the crime.

But finding the killer isn't going to be easy when you're the 'new kid in town'.  Especially since Lucy is still on the suspect list herself.  All she knows is that in order to keep the library alive she needs to keep Bertie out of jail, and she'll do whatever it takes, even if it nearly kills her...

I really wanted to like this book.  It's got books, a cat named Charles, and Jane Austen.  What could be better?  Unfortunately, there's so much wrong with it.  With Lucy living in the lighthouse on the fourth floor, she has to climb 100 steps (she said herself) several times a day and isn't even winded?  Can you imaging climbing that several times a day?  How did they get plumbing all the way up there?  I wouldn't think it would be feasible.

Louise Jane was just a nasty piece of work.  There wasn't a single redeemable quality about her that I can think of.  As for Lucy, she's dumber than a box of rocks.  She lives alone in a lighthouse but is afraid of ghost stories?  She knows Louise Jane baits her and takes it every time instead of walking away?

She says she's never had a date, but recounts a story about an evening out with an ex-boyfriend - an ex-boyfriend she's slept with, no less.  What does she consider dating?  Also, there are two men chasing her practically right from the first pages of the book.  I can see this turning into a love triangle - and that's never good in the long run.  Really, how happy would you be if the situation were reversed and it was a guy and he was dating two women at the same time?

Unfortunately, the library in a lighthouse just didn't make sense, and all the to-do about people visiting merely because of the Jane Austen collection - and Jane Austen did not live by sea.  She lived in Chawton, Hampshire, which is inland; and this is a big deal if you're speaking of Jane Austen.

I felt the mystery wasn't given as much attention as it should have, with more being paid to what people were wearing and what they ate, so when we finally figure out who the murderer is I really didn't care; and the reason why didn't seem believable.  Sorry, but this book just wasn't my cup of tea; hopefully the series will improve with the next book.


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