Monday, June 11, 2018

Review: Murder in the Locked Library by Ellery Adams

Murder in the Locked Library (Book Retreat Mysteries, Book #4)
by Ellery Adams
Release Date: April 24th 2018
2018 Kensington Publishing Corporation
Kindle Edition; 289 Pages
ISBN: 978-1496715830
ASIN: B074DH6HD3
Genre: Fiction / Cozy Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

4 / 5 Stars

Summary
Welcome to Storyton Hall, Virginia, where book lovers travel from near and far to enjoy the singular comforts of the Agatha Christie Tea Room, where they can discuss the merits of their favorite authors no matter how deadly the topic . . .

With her twins, Fitzgerald and Hemingway, back in school, Jane Steward can finally focus on her work again—managing Storyton Hall, and breaking ground on the resort’s latest attraction: a luxurious, relaxing spa named in honor of Walt Whitman. But when the earth is dug up to start laying the spa’s foundation, something else comes to the surface—a collection of unusual bones and the ragged remnants of a very old book. The attendees of the Rare Book Conference are eager to assist Jane with this unexpected historical mystery—until a visitor meets an untimely end in the Henry James Library. As the questions—and suspects—start stacking up, Jane will have to uncover a killer before more unhappy endings ensue . . .


My Thoughts
Murder in the Locked Library is the fourth book in the Book Retreat Mysteries series, and while this was the first book I had read in this series, I am definitely familiar with her work through such series as Books By The Bay Mysteries and Novel Idea Mysteries, all of which I've liked.  I don't know why it took me so long to read one of the mysteries in this series but I am so glad that I did, and I will definitely go back and read the three earlier novels.

Jane Steward is the owner of Storyton Hall and is the main character in this series.  She's also the Guardian of a secret library hidden away in the depths of the hall, a library that must be protected at all costs, and to which other groups are constantly searching and trying to steal.  It actually sounds a bit like the Librarians or the Magicians without all the time traveling and magic, although you never know if something like that could show up, just not in this one.  I also couldn't get the image of fairy tales out of my head and once I went down that route all I could picture was the show Once Upon a Time; after that I started expecting characters to change into something else, and not be who they were.  

The story revolves around an old book discovered in Storyton's gardens and since I'm a book lover, the whole back story to its provenance was quite intriguing, so much so that I almost forgot this was a cozy mystery.  When the death occurred, it kind of threw me for a loop as I was so caught up in the book's story as well as what was happening at the inn with the book conference; the descriptions of the food and the decorations just made me want to head there and partake.  The overall pace of the novel was quite good, with a lot of twists and turns interspersed with action that made you want to keep reading and keep turning the pages.  There were a lot of suspects, but it wasn't so overwhelming that you felt lost; there were just enough so that some red herrings were thrown in for good measure to try and trip you up.  There is also an interesting side story that is going to lead into the next book and I am intrigued about that as well.  

Verdict
Murder in the Locked Library was a fun read with a lot of intriguing and quirky characters.  I really liked the setting to the story and was thinking it would be a great place to visit if it were real.  And while I hadn't read a previous novel in this series, it didn't affect my understanding of the Hall or any of the characters in this book, although I will go back just to get a bit more background information that would be in those books.  Plus I always like a book where I didn't correctly guess the murderer or the motive.  I am definitely looking forward to the next book in this series when it is released. 

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