Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Review and Giveaway: Shelved Under Murder by Victoria Gilbert

Shelved Under Murder (Blue Ridge Library Mystery, Book #2)
by Victoria Gilbert
Release Date: July 10th 2018
2018 Crooked Lane Books
Kindle Edition; 352 Pages
ISBN: 978-1683319207
Genre: Fiction / Cozy Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher / Great Escapes Book Tours

3.5 / 5 Stars

October in Taylorsford, Virginia means it’s leaf peeping season, with bright colorful foliage and a delightful fresh crew of tourists attending the annual Heritage Festival which celebrates local history and arts and crafts. Library director Amy Webber, though, is slightly dreading having to spend two days running a yard sale fundraiser for her library. But during these preparations, when she and her assistant Sunny stumble across a dead body, Amy finds a real reason to be worried.

The body belonged to a renowned artist who was murdered with her own pallet knife. A search of the artist’s studio uncovers a cache of forged paintings, and when the sheriff’s chief deputy Brad Tucker realizes Amy is skilled in art history research, she’s recruited to aid the investigation. It doesn’t seem to be an easy task, but when the state’s art expert uncovers a possible connection between Amy’s deceased uncle and the murder case, Amy must champion her Aunt Lydia to clear her late husband’s name.

That’s when another killing shakes the quiet town, and danger sweeps in like an autumn wind. Now, with her swoon-inducing neighbor Richard Muir, Amy must scour their resources to once again close the books on murder.

My Thoughts
Shelved Under Murder is the second book in the Blue Ridge Library Mystery series, and is a fun and enjoyable read.  The town is one of those places I would love to spend the day just walking around its streets, and having visited the Blue Ridge Mountain area several times, I know how beautiful it is in the fall.   I definitely appreciated the author's descriptions of the area and could easily picture myself there, driving around, just enjoying what must be spectacular views.

In this book, the story picks up several months after the events in the first one and we see Amy still dating Richard and living with her quirky Aunt Lydia.  Amy, as the director of the local library, is right in the middle of preparations for the annual Heritage Festival, sorting through donations and looking for bigger ticket items to sell, which is how she ends up in the midst of another murder investigation.  Most of the characters were introduced in the first book, and honestly, there really wasn't much development with regards to the characters or their relationships.  In fact, I was a bit disappointed with some of the interactions between some of the characters; I don't really care who gets together and who splits up, but at least be authentic in the personality departments when creating characters.  And I found that characters either had to be good to be interesting or they came across as bad, there didn't seem to be that gray area in between that made characters more interesting.  When Uncle Andrew at one point was coming across as somewhat naughty, he was so much more interesting to me as a person as he seemed so much more real; otherwise, he was put up on this pedestal and just seemed too perfect and perfect often equals boring.  Besides, no one is perfect.  Take Richard for example, so perfect in everything he does, he just seems boring.  Maybe I'm just drawn to the badass kind of characters as I preferred Kurt over them all, so what does that say about me?  I find him much more interesting, and he's got secrets I want to find out.  

While the plot was interesting, it did center around the art world rather than the book world.  I don't feel there was anything too thought-provoking in the art discussions but then, I've read many, many thriller books dealing with lost art and forgery over the years so I'd already picked up most of what was discussed in this book regarding that world, and I have a fascination with the lost artwork from World War II.  I thought the discussions around what would drive an artist to do forgery much more interesting from a psychological perspective.  And while there were some interesting plot twists, they were easy to spot but Amy was just so gullible sometimes; you'd think she would have learned her lesson in the first book.  The author does have a way of making you feel like you are right there in the midst of things, and making you feel empathy for the characters so I did enjoy it when Amy got into her dilemnas and wondered how she would get out of them.  And the author doesn't have any qualms to having her characters get hurt so you never know what is going to happen, which keeps you on edge throughout the events.  I like that sense of not really knowing what is going to happen, even if you've already figured out the murderer and some of the other mysteries.

Shelved Under Murder was a fun addition to the series, but I don't necessarily feel it was as good as the first one.  I do think there was some lack of important character development and some of the characters are a bit too perfect, they need some flaws or something to make them seem more real.  Beware though, if you haven't read the first book, all of the answers are to be found in this book, something I am not very fond of, the murderer and some of the other details, and repeated several times.  The reality of small-town life however, are very real in this book and I did find certain things very amusing; the rivalry in county fair baking contests, people always knowing your business, an overworked police force, the gossipy neighbours, and the other small things that make small-town living so much fun and interesting, something that definitely comes to life between these pages.  While I thought the first book was slightly more enjoyable, I did enjoy it, and look forward to reading the next book in the series when it is published in 2019, Past Due for Murder.  I do however, recommend you start with the first book in this series.  


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  1. I do read some cozies, but not a lot of them. There needs to be something specific that speaks to me, like location. Most of them are 3 star reads for me. I like the darker, more intense mystery/thrillers.

    sherry @ fundinmental

    1. I tend to like the darker, grittier ones as well which is probably why I don't read a lot of cozy mysteries. I probably do them a disservice in the end because I tend to compare them to the darker police novels I like to read.

  2. Thanks so much for participating in the blog tour and reviewing my book!