Everything about Victoria Gilbert's Blue Ridge Library mysteries says cozy mystery on the surface. But, the second one in the series, Shelved Under Murder, is darker than many cozies. And, the personal histories that affect the amateur sleuth's family is also darker. Think of Shelved Under Murder as a traditional mystery.
Taylorsford, Virginia Library Director Amy Webber is not a fan of the annual Heritage Festival. She ends up spending more time preparing the Friends of the Library table than the Friends do. This year, when she and her boyfriend agree to transport paintings from Rachel LeBlanc’s studio, they find Rachel's body.
It’s the forged paintings behind a wall that lead to all the trouble, though. With a background in art history, Amy is recruited to assist the police. It’s the state’s art expert who finds a link between forged paintings and Amy’s deceased uncle, Andrew Talbot. Uncle Andrew struggled with drug addiction, and Amy fears he might have taken to crime to fund his habit. Her main concern is protecting her Aunt Lydia. Drug addicts, forged paintings, murder. Can it get any worse? When another person is murdered, Amy knows it can
Narrator Amy Webber is an intriguing character herself. She can't understand why her boyfriend, a handsome choreographer and teacher, is interested in her. But, Amy is an intelligent, caring person who doesn't want to hurt her aunt, or anyone who loved her Uncle Andrew.
As I said originally, I don't see this as a cozy mystery. Although the publisher recommended it to readers of Jenn McKinlay and Dean James, because the amateur sleuth is a librarian, I'd say otherwise. Pick this up if you're a fan of another series about a knowledgeable book lover, Kate Carlisle's Bibliophile series.
Victoria Gilbert's website is www.victoriagilbert.com
Shelved Under Murder by Victoria Gilbert. Crooked Lane Books, 2018. ISBN 9781683315957 (hardcover), 336p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.