Champion of the mystery section at a small-town Minnesota library, Karen Nash is about to embark on a dream trip to London, a literary tour inspired by every murderous intrigue, wily suspect, and ingenious crime found in the pages of the British mysteries that she devours. But she's clueless why the love of her mid-life, Dave, would dump her hours before takeoff, until she spies him at the airport with a young honey on his arm! She decides the best revenge (for now) is to get on that plane anyway . . . and entertain schemes for Dave's untimely demise while crossing the pond.
After touching ground in the hallowed homeland of Christie, Sayers, and Peters, she checks into a cozy B & B run by charming bibliophile Caldwell Perkins. Soon she's spilling tears in her pint at the corner pub, sharing her heartbreak saga with a stranger. That night, a B & B guest drops out of circulation permanently. And when Dave and his cutie turn up in London, Karen realizes they are an assassin's target. With the meticulous attention to detail that makes her a killer librarian, Karen sleuths her way through her own real-life mystery in which library science meets the art of murder.
I read this book for the Cozy Mystery square of my 2018 Halloween Bingo card.
I’m not usually a tremendous fan of the cozy mystery genre—I tend to like things a bit darker and more threatening--but I was charmed by this librarian-reluctantly-turned-sleuth tale that also incorporated a gentle romance.
Karen Nash is a successful librarian who has always dreamed of visiting England, the land of all of her favourite authors. She has carefully planned her upcoming vacation, trying to indulge her passion for literature while not boring her plumber boyfriend Dave. But the course of true love never did run smooth and Dave dumps Karen just days before they are to embark on this adventure. What’s a girl to do? Karen buys her own plane ticket and goes anyway, finding at the airport that Dave has replaced her with a younger woman. Understandably angry, Karen conceals herself as best she can on the flight, then follows the couple upon landing in London.
Who hasn’t been dumped and fantasized about taking revenge on the former object of our affection? Karen books into her B&B and is pleased to find that the owner loves books as much as she does. When she goes looking for some juice in the middle of her first night, she stumbles over the body of a fellow customer, complicating her situation.
The remainder of the book deals with meeting the other denizens of the B&B, being touristy in London, causing trouble for the disloyal Dave, pursuing the new man in her life, plus solving the murder mystery. A very full schedule. Karen is a woman after my own heart, a planner, a reader, and a very competent woman.
Perfect if you want a warm, fuzzy reading experience with a very gentle mystery attached to it. Truly, the story is much more about Karen and how she sorts out her life after it’s been shaken up. Very enjoyable.
This one was hard to rate. It's basically a history of books and libraries of the ancient Greco-Roman world. It started off fairly interesting but my interest didn't seem well matched to the length of the book, and it wasn't a long book. So I'm not sure whether the later chapters on Roman libraries and early Christian libraries were drier or more repetitive or what, but my interest flagged a little. I considered dropping down to 2.5 stars but thought that might be a bit harsh.
Lucy Hull, a young children's librarian in Hannibal, Missouri, finds herself both a kidnapper and kidnapped when her favorite patron, ten- year-old Ian Drake, runs away from home. The precocious Ian is addicted to reading, but needs Lucy's help to smuggle books past his overbearing mother, who has enrolled Ian in weekly antigay classes with celebrity Pastor Bob. Lucy stumbles into a moral dilemma when she finds Ian camped out in the library after hours with a knapsack of provisions and an escape plan. Desperate to save him from Pastor Bob and the Drakes, Lucy allows herself to be hijacked by Ian. The odd pair embarks on a crazy road trip from Missouri to Vermont, with ferrets, an inconvenient boyfriend, and upsetting family history thrown in their path. But is it just Ian who is running away? Who is the man who seems to be on their tail? And should Lucy be trying to save a boy from his own parents?
I’m not sure yet why I didn’t love this book as much as I expected to. Perhaps it’s because I never have read Mary Norton’s The Borrowers , and therefore couldn’t appreciate the parallels that Makkai was making.
The main character, Lucy Hull, is a children’s librarian, who becomes overly concerned with the welfare of her favourite library patron, Ian Drake. Being in library work myself, I usually adore books involving libraries and librarians. This one also references many books of childhood, another characteristic that I generally appreciate.
Although I tend to prefer ambiguous or realistic endings, I had problems with the wrap-up of this novel. The whole plot line of a run-away boy with the librarian who aids and abets him just didn’t work for me as it has for other readers. Your mileage may vary, perhaps I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind to enjoy it right now. At any rate, I had to really push myself to finish the book and was left less than satisfied when I turned the final page.
But I truly did love some passages in the book, such as Lucy’s description of The Wizard of Oz:
And second, everyone is so weird, but they’re all completely accepted. It’s like, okay, you have a pumpkin head, and that guy’s made of tin, and you’re a talking chicken, but what the hell, let’s do a road trip.
That is one of the great pleasures of literature, its ability to make the unusual seem absolutely normal.
1. How often do you visit your local library?
Once in a while. But less now than earlier, since my sister didn't get a job there. ;) Also, they have doors that open automatically and my two-year-old daughter almost ran out into traffic before my sister could catch her (I was elsewhere with my son).
2. If you could visit any library in the world, which would it be?
Strangely enough I think I'd pick the one in the town next to here. It's very nice, but so are most libraries, even the tiny one in a village close to here, where most of the local residents are awful, but the librarians are great.
3. What books do you have on hold at the library, if any?
I don't usually borrow printed books anymore, just e-books. The only thing I have to wait for is for the week to pass. We only get to borrow two books a week, but since I have children, I'm usually busy, so I don't have that many nights when I'm alert enough to read but don't get to borrow one.
4. At what age did you get your first library card?
I was four or five, but then we moved to a town with a bigger library, and they said children had to use their parents' library cards.