There's libraries. And, then there are charming libraries. And, they don't get much more quaint and charming than the Lighthouse Library on Bodie Island, North Carolina in Eva Gates' By Book or by Crook. This first in a new series will either make you want to move there to get a job in the library, or run, knowing the library is the scene of murder, theft, and possibly, ghosts.
Lucy Richardson fled to the island after she didn't want to marry the lawyer and family friend she'd been dating for years. Luckily, she is able to leave her job at Harvard Library, and become Assistant Librarian at the Lighthouse Library. She's so excited to be part of the reception where the library board and staff introduces the special exhibit of rare Jane Austen first editions. She isn't so excited when the library board president is murdered during the reception, and Lucy's new boss, Bertie, becomes the primary suspect because she had a loud argument with the victim, and was found with the body. And, it gets even worse when one of the Jane Austen books disappears. It seems not everyone likes Bertie, or the library itself.
Eva Gates excels at setting this new series in a delightful small town setting and enchanting library. She introduces a wonderful cast including quirky characters and two possible love interests for Lucy. And, of course, there's a perceptive library cat, Charles (named after Dickens). Lucy herself seems a little naive and young for her thirty years, but considering her background as the only daughter in a wealthy Boston family, it may not be surprising. I'm sure she'll come into her own in the course of the series, and won't let the rival for her job continue to scare her with ghost stories.
If you're looking for an enchanting getaway, a mystery to help you escape the winter doldrums, you can't go wrong with this first in a new series, By Book or by Crook. Cats, Jane Austen, books, and a lighthouse library. It doesn't get much more appealing.
Eva Gates is actually author Vicki Delany. Her website is www.vickidelany.com.
By Book or by Crook by Vicki Delany. Obsidian. 2015. ISBN 9780451470935 (paperback), 339p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.