Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Review: Killer Librarian by Mary Lou Kirwin

Killer Librarian
by Mary Lou Kirwin
Release Date: November 27th, 2012
2012 Pocket Books
Paperback Edition; 320 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-451-68464-3
Genre: Fiction / Cozy Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

3 / 5 Stars

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.

My Thoughts
Killer Librarian is a novel that I thought was quite enjoyable, but on a superficial level, as I followed Karen Nash's adventures and revelations about herself as she indulged in a trip to England after being dumped by her boyfriend just hours before her trip. Her coming-to-terms with herself and realizing that she was better off without Dave was interesting and fun.  However, as far as the actual 'cozy mystery' went, well, there really was very little to this cozy mystery as the novel tended to spend time on Karen's blossoming identity rather than the mystery.

As always, I was attracted to the title and tend to read anything to do with books.  There was a bit of discussion about books, and I really enjoyed the scene when Karen went to the local town that specialized in bookstores (and how I didn't spend a day there when I was in England, I am not quite sure) but again, it was the books and the idea of them that I found interesting, not so much the story.  To be honest though, it was the rather slow development between the characters as well as the books that interested me far more than the mystery which I found to be somewhat humdrum and mundane, easily solvable and rather boring.  The story revolved more around Karen and the realization as to what she was missing in her life which kind of grew on me as a I read or I never would have read past chapter three.  I did have some concerns with Karen and the descriptions of her as a librarian, especially the lines that continuously referred to her stacking shelves and arranging books alphabetically in her library.  My friend is a librarian and she never touches a bookshelf as she is far too busy doing other paperwork and organizing events to stack shelves.  In her library, that task tends to fall to other workers or volunteers, under her strict guidance, of course.  But I've seen her paperwork and it is rather frightening, especially with all of the community events that go on in our library.

Killer Librarian is one of those novels one picks up at the airport or brings along for beach reading as it is light and fun entertainment that you can polish off in a couple of hours.  While I found myself drawn to the characters in the end and found them endearing, at least Karen and Caldwell, I wasn't crazy about the mystery and the many 'coincidences' that occurred throughout the novel.  I will probably take a look at the next book in this series, Death Overdue, to give it a chance and see if it builds on the potential I see in this novel.  A bit more emphasis on the murder would make this cozy mystery much more interesting.