In Jenn McKinlay's latest Library Lover's Mystery, Read It and Weep, she incorporates some of my passions; libraries, theater, and an intriguing mystery. And, since it's a Jenn McKinlay book, there are traces of romance. With a strong cast of characters added, it's no wonder this series has landed on the New York Times Bestseller list. The latest mystery deserves to be right there as well.
The town of Briar Creek, Connecticut is all abuzz. Violet LaRue, one of the residents, is also a former Broadway star who is directing her first play for the community theater. Library Director Lindsey Norris isn't getting much work from her staff as everyone from the pages to Ms. Cole, the dour woman who heads the circulation department, is trying out for parts in A Midsummer Night's Dream. And, when handsome British actor Robbie Vine shows up to play Puck, most of the women in town are even more eager for roles in the play.
But, with the kind of luck associated with the play, maybe the town should be doing Macbeth. Robbie brings baggage, an angry wife he has never bothered to divorce, and a girlfriend he dumped. And, it seems Violet has attracted some unwanted attention. A sleazy theater critic is in town, hired by Violet's powerful ex, a multimedia mogul. He's there to review the play. When Robbie shows an interest in Lindsey, it leads to trouble. She's no longer dating Captain Mike Sullivan, but he's building sets for the show. Lindsey only wants to forget about "the angry wife, the smashed work, the skulking critic and the frown on Sully's face." But, it's not easy to forget all the trouble when a cast member is attacked, and later an actor is poisoned. Lindsey has to use her reference skills as a librarian to dig up the truth. Who wants to shut down the theater, and is desperate enough to resort to violence?
Jenn McKinlay uses her knowledge as a librarian, and her skills as a writer to bring life to the Briar Creek community. The Library Lover's mystery series has a solid cast of supporting characters, both library staff and townspeople who back up Library Director Lindsey Norris. Lindsey has fun, supportive friends, matchmakers who continue to bring up Lindsey's personal life in every book discussion at the library. And, in each book, McKinlay offers just another glimpse at Sully. Lindsey admits "Maybe she was a little mad. It was more self-preservation after the realization that the man was the original big, strong, silent type which was lovely in the sense that he didn't talk her ears off, but it was annoying that she had no idea what was going on inside of him because he didn't tell her." McKinlay's characters are multi-dimensional and continue to surprise readers, and Lindsey.
And, I promise there are surprises in Jenn McKinlay's Read It and Weep. She brings together the best elements of a small town mystery in this latest enjoyable entry in the series. Best of all, there are hints and promises of more surprises when Lindsey Norris, Sully, and the residents of Briar Creek return in the next Library Lover's Mystery. So, read it and rejoice that there are more stories to come.
Jenn McKinlay's website is www.jennmckinlay.com
Read It and Weep by Jenn McKinlay. Berkley Prime Crime. 2013. ISBN 9780425260722 (paperback), 292p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.