Saturday, February 9, 2019

The Spook in the Stacks (A Lighthouse Library Mystery #4)

Author:  Eva Gates
Genre:  Mystery

Hardcover: Digital Book
ISBN #:  9781683315803
Crooked Lane Books
320 Pages
$$18.34; $7.80 Amazon
June 12, 2018

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Wealthy businessman Jay Ruddle is considering donating his extensive collection of North Carolina historical documents to the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library, but the competition for the collection is fierce.  Unfortunately, while the library is hosting a lecture on ghostly legends, Jay becomes one of the dearly departed in the rare books sections.  Now, it's up to Lucy Richardson and her fellow librarians to bone up on their detective skills and discover who is responsible for this wicked Halloween homicide.

Meanwhile, very strange things are happening at the library - haunted horses are materializing on the marsh, the lights seem to have an eerie life of their own, and the tiny crew of a model ship appears to move around when no one is watching.  Is Lucy at her wit's end?  Or can it be that the Bodie Island Lighthouse really is haunted?

With The Legend of Sleepy Hollow on everyone's minds and ghoulish gossip on everyone's lips, Lucy will need to separate the clues from the boos is she wants to crack this case without losing her head...

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Lucy Richardson is assistant librarian at the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library, where she also lives on the top floor.  It's close to Halloween, and even though she doesn't care for the holiday, the employees are decorating the library with themed decorations, due to library volunteer Louise Jane McKaughnan.  Louise Jane is also a thorn in Lucy's side, because she wanted Lucy's job - not caring that she didn't qualify for it.

Jay Ruddle, a wealthy man who has an extensive and valuable North Carolina historical collection is considering the library to house the documents.  On one of his visits he wants to look in their documents room, which is kept locked.  But when he doesn't return Lucy goes looking for him and finds him strangled.  No one seems to know how or when anyone entered the room, and no one seems to know who killed him.

There is also the matter of Ruddle's granddaughter Julia, whom regular resident Theodore "Teddy" Kowalski, seems to have taken a liking to; but Ruddle's employee Greg has taken a definite dislike to him.

Now Lucy and her friends need to find out who killed the man and why if they want to even be considered for the collection; but was the death about the collection or was it something else entirely personal?...

This is the fourth book in the series, and unfortunately, I found it rather boring.  I really tire of the 'evil nemesis' in cozy mysteries (and other books) and Louise Jane is one of the worst.  Does this woman suck lemons every morning?  Because it seems her goal in life is to harass and pick at Lucy at every opportunity and no one - not even Lucy - tells her to knock it off and act her age.  It's very tiresome and I wish she'd just disappear forever.  After all, she's a volunteer and doesn't need to be at the library on a daily basis, causing trouble.

Lucy also states how she doesn't have a sense of humor, and I believe it.  She's one of the most boring women imaginable.  She's just plain dull, and without the interaction of the usual cast of characters to help her along, one sees just how lifeless she truly is.

The book itself was just so-so, with local legends seemingly coming to life on Halloween, but it wasn't enough to keep me interested.  What really irritated me the most was that Teddy actually did something heroic, and in return a nasty trick was played on him.  Lucy, who knows his past, didn't bother to say anything to him about it, which is unforgivable, in my opinion.  It makes her a bad friend indeed.

I also felt it was wrong to try and force Julia into a relationship that wasn't good for her and seemed rather manipulative.  In the end, when the murderer is discovered, it only reinforced the fact that some things and people are better left alone.  Not the best entry in the series, and I really wish I could recommend this book, but it's not to be.

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