Saturday, April 28, 2018

ARC Review: Better Off Read by Nora Page

Better Off Read
Author: Nora Page
Series: Bookmobile (Book 1)
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (May 8, 2018)

Description: When her best hope of saving her storm-damaged library is found murdered, senior librarian Cleo Watkins hits the road in her bookmobile in search of justice.

Septuagenarian librarian Cleo Watkins won’t be shushed when an upstart young mayor threatens to permanently shelve her tiny town’s storm-damaged library. She takes to her bookmobile, Words on Wheels, to collect allies and rally library support throughout Catalpa Springs, Georgia.

However, Cleo soon rolls into trouble. A major benefactor known for his eccentric DIY projects requests all available books on getting away with murder. He’s no Georgia peach, and Cleo wonders if she should worry about his plans. She knows she should when she discovers him bludgeoned and evidence points to her best friend, Mary-Rose Garland.

Sure of Mary-Rose’s innocence, Cleo applies her librarian’s sleuthing skills to the case, assisted by friends, family, and the dapper antiquarian bookseller everyone keeps calling her boyfriend. Evidence stacks up, but a killer is overdue to strike again. With lives and her library on the line, Cleo must shift into high gear to close the book on murder in Better Off Read, the charming Bookmobile series debut by Nora Page.

My Thoughts: When the progressive new mayor of Caltalpa Springs, Georgia, refuses to supply the funds to replace the roof on the historic public library, seventy-five-year-old librarian Cleo Watkins hops into her bookmobile to rally community support for the library. Her first stop is with Burford Krandall who is a local eccentric more known for making enemies than friends but a big supporter of the library.

Buford has a long-running feud with his next door neighbor and Cleo's best friend Mary Rose who runs a pancakes and pie shop. Buford has come up with an invention that he says is for bottling pure water but which has the effect of muddying the waters in Mary Rose's spring. When Buford is found bludgeoned to death and his machine sabotaged, Mary Rose is the prime suspect. But Cleo's grandson Ollie and his new girlfriend Whitney could also be involved since they have been hanging around the spring and acting suspiciously too.

Cleo is determined to clear her friend and her grandson's names and find the real murderer. Buford had been reading all sorts of books about how to commit murder and unsolved murders in the Southeast written by eccentric local author Priscilla Pawpaw who disappears shortly after Buford's murder making her a person of interest for Cleo too.

Between rallying support for her damaged library, investigating Buford's death, and building a new relationship with antiquarian bookseller Henry Lafayette, Cleo is busy and the murderer would like her out of his way.

This was a fun cozy mystery filled with eccentric characters from the mayor who wants to make the town the bass fishing capitol of the universe to the beauty queen new deputy to the bank president's second wife and battleax mother to the murder victim's soon to be ex wife and many more. Even the pets are engaging. Rhett Butler is Cleo's Persian cat who has recently had an encounter with burdocks which has resulted in him being partially shaved and left rather mangy looking. Mr. Chaucer is Henry's elderly pug and Kat Krandall-Stykes mastiff the size of a pony named Beast are also frequently mentioned characters.

I recommend this one for fans of cozy mysteries.

Favorite Quote:
Worrying is like a rocking chair. It kept your head moving but didn't get you anywhere.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. Whoa... a 75 years old character! How interesting. Really made me want to find out more about the story.


I love getting comments. Let me know what you think.

This blog is now officially declared an Award Free zone! I do appreciate your kindness in thinking of me and I am humbled by your generosity.

Your comments are award enough for me. Comment away!