Monday, January 27, 2014

Review: Killer Librarian

Killer Librarian is the first in a series featuring Karen Nash, a small-town librarian who devours mystery novels and fantasizes about one day walking in the footsteps of her favorite literary characters. Nash plans a trip to England with Dave, her boyfriend and the "love of her mid-life". Only hours before they are set to leave, Karen receives a devastating phone call from Dave. Suddenly, he feels that their four-year relationship isn't going to work out. Karen gathers herself and decides that nothing will stop her from an enjoying her long-awaited trip. She heads to England, only to discover that Dave is also still going--with another, younger woman. She fantasizes about Dave's demise during the first few days of her stay at a charming Bed and Breakfast run by the quintessential English gentleman. As she finds herself caught up in the charm of rainy London, Karen soon realizes that perhaps Dave wasn't the best boyfriend she's ever had, and maybe he doesn't deserve to die. It's too late though--she has accidentally set a shady, (possibly) criminal character on him and his new girlfriend, and she has to find this mysterious man before something bad happens. In the midst of getting lost in British museums, browsing bookshops, drinking English tea, and fretting over Dave's potential danger, another guest in the B&B passes away and Karen suspects that it wasn't an accident. She decides to emanate her favorite sleuths and solve the mystery at hand. 

Like many other readers, I had mixed feelings about this book. I borrowed the book from the library (the librarian chuckled when checking it out for me) with the expectation that it would be a dark and winding, good old-fashioned mystery. It actually turned out to be quite a light read, even the deaths seemed as though they had little effect on the characters. Not too serious, not too challenging, and with little focus on the mystery at hand. Rather, romance (and revenge) took the front seat, but not in a suspenseful way. In spite of its deviation from my expectations, I did enjoy reading the book. I finished it in just a few hours, realizing that perhaps I haven't given this type of lighthearted read as much attention as it deserves. What I loved most about the book was the setting: London, and the idea of spending a holiday (as the British would put it) perusing antiquarian bookshops, cafés, museums, and pubs. It was the understanding between reader and writer, that books hold such a special place in our hearts, that drew me in. I wouldn't say that I loved the book, but it's hard to resist a novel whose title practically calls out to a bibliophile like myself. And it's that feeling, that this is a book meant to be read by the fire on a dreary day, that makes me eager to read the next in the series.

Bottom line rating: 3/5

Title: Killer Librarian
Author: Mary Lou Kirwin
Publisher: Pocket Books, 2012
Price: $7.99
ISBN: 978-1-4516-8464-3
Format: Paperback
Source: Public Library
Book #58 of 2013

*Note: I have since read the second book in this series, Death Overdue, in which Karen must clear her new boyfriend's name after there is a terrible death at the bed & breakfast. I enjoyed this one even more than the first book, and had a harder time guessing who the culprit was. I'd recommend the second for any fans of the first, and would even go so far as to say that the second could stand alone. 

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