Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Buried in a Book by Lucy Arlington

People who denigrate cozy mysteries don't know what they're missing. Take Lucy Arlington's Buried in a Book. Although it's the first in a new series, A Novel Idea Mystery, it's written under a pseudonym by two experienced authors, Ellery Adams and Sylvia May. It features a mature woman, forty-five, in a topical situation. Her job was downsized, and she was let go when the newspaper where she worked cut back. She's forced to start over at the bottom in a new profession. Suddenly she has to deal with a new job, a teenage son about to strike out on his own, and she's forced to move in with her mother. Buried in a Book also deals with perceptions of the homeless, false accusations, and murder. All of those issues are wrapped up in just 285 pages. Yes, there's humor, interesting characters, and an amateur sleuth as expected in a cozy mystery.  However, Buried in a Book certainly isn't a trite story.

When Lila Wilkins loses her job as a newspaper journalist, she finds a job as an intern, reading query letters, at the Novel Idea Literary Agency in Inspiration Valley, North Carolina. She's hoping she has her dream job, hoping to discover an author. She wasn't expecting her first day of work to turn into a nightmare when a decrepit, dirty man appeared in the office. She learned Marlette had appeared there every day for almost a year. No one would read his query letters. And, once Lila found him dead on the couch, she regretted that no one ever gave him any consideration.

Although Officer Sean Griffiths took Marlette's death seriously, the police had higher priorities than the murder of a shabby recluse. However, Lila didn't. She saw him as a person, a person who had been shunned and cast aside. Together with a new friend from the coffee shop, Espresso Yourself, Lila went looking for the clues to Marlette's life that he left in birdhouses and other hiding places. Although her mother, Amazing Althea, a psychic, warned her, Lila was determined to find justice for Marlette.

Arlington has created wonderful characters, beginning with Lila, her mother, the eccentric psychic, and Makalya from the coffee shop. There's a whole cast of eccentric characters at the literary agency, with great potential for future books. There's a spark of romance in the book. And, there are issues with Lila's son, Trey, who is drawn to the co-op in Inspiration Valley. The setting, both the town and the co-op, are fascinating. Arlington's Buried in a Book has likable characters, an original, attractive setting, and an intriguing mystery. Cozy mysteries offer so much more than many readers expect. I can't wait for the next book in the Novel Idea Mystery series.

Lucy Arlington's website is www.lucyarlington.com

Buried in a Book By Lucy Arlington. Berkley Prime Crime. 2012. ISBN 978042546191 (paperback), 285p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.



13 comments:

Rosemary said...

Lesa, I will look out for this one, it sounds very good. A good friend of mine is wondering whether she will ever get another job - and her son has just come back home after two tours in Afghanistan - so this really is topical.

Beth Hoffman said...

What a terrific review, Lesa! This book sounds like it's loads of fun. I'm hooked and will add it to my list right away.

Kay said...

I've already got this one on my Kindle. Sounds like a winner and I'm going to try to read it soon.

As to your other statement that cozies offer so much more than a lot of people realize - Amen to that! I was talking with a friend yesterday about how so many people almost apologize for reading certain books or are hesitant to recommend books in case the other reader doesn't like them or take them seriously. I told her, look, if I like it, I like it. If not, not. I don't care what genre it belongs to. Books are books. You like them or you don't. One of my pet peeves is reading a review that says something like, "Even though this is a cozy or a romance or chick-lit or is light, I still liked it. As if you have to justify liking something "light" and not reading "serious" books all the time. Who defines these things? OK, off my soapbox now. :-)

Looking forward to this series, Lesa!

Lesa said...

It is a topical book, Rosemary. And, I wish your friend good luck. That doesn't sound as if she's having an easy time of it right now.

Lesa said...

I think you're going to enjoy it, Beth! Hugs, my friend.

Lesa said...

Kay,

I still like that quote from Genreflecting - "Never apologize for your reading taste." Heck. You're reading, aren't you? That's so much more than a lot of the population does. I'm with you 100% on that soapbox!

Susan said...

I admit to being one of those people that denigrate cozy mysteries, but maybe it's because I just haven't found any that I actually like! This one sounds fun. I'll have to give it a try. Thanks for the rec!

Karen C said...

Certainly sounds like fun. Love the name of the coffee shop - made me giggle! Will share this with my daughter who just loves cozy mysteries.

Lesa said...

You might want to try this one, Susan, or one of Ellery Adams' other ones. Very intelligent cozy mysteries. But, this one, in particular, seems so topical. You're welcome!

Lesa said...

I hope your daughter has the chance to pick this one up, Karen. I really enjoyed it.

Page said...

This sounds like a great book.

Lesa said...

I thought it was terrific, Page, good enough that I'm waiting to hear from my sister. I've offered her my copy if she can't get it from the library.

cremation phoenix said...

I find it somehow amusing. I love reading it.