Tuesday, April 30, 2019

ARC Review: Read on Arrival by Nora Page

Read on Arrival
Author: Nora Page
Series: A Bookmobile Mystery
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (May 7, 2019)

Description: Death, deadly omens, and a decades-overdue book put senior librarian Cleo Watkins on a collision course with a killer in the second Bookmobile mystery.

Septuagenarian librarian Cleo Watkins believes in gracious manners, sweet tea, and justice— library justice. For over forty years, Cleo has tried every trick in the book to get delinquent patron Dixie Huddleston to return the most overdue volume in Catalpa Springs, Georgia. When Dixie says she’ll finally relinquish the book, Cleo is shocked. She’s even more startled by the reason: superstitious Dixie says she’s seen the signs: she’s about to die and is setting her affairs in order.

Cleo dismisses Dixie’s ominous omens…until she and her gentleman friend, Henry Lafayette, arrive at Dixie’s home to find her dead. Cleo suspects murder. The police agree but promptly list Cleo among the likely culprits. To clear her good name and deliver justice, Cleo uses her librarian skills to investigate, with Henry and her trusty bookmobile cat, Rhett Butler, at her side.

However, the killer has opened a new chapter of terror. Death threats appear around town, and residents start seeing bad luck everywhere, including in Cleo and her beloved bookmobile Words on Wheels. With her bookmobile and legacy on the line, Cleo accelerates her sleuthing. Suspects and clues stack up, but so does the danger. Another death is coming due, and Cleo fears the killer may be about to turn the final page on someone she loves most.

My Thoughts: Librarian Cleo Watkins, who is approaching her fiftieth anniversary at the Catalpa Springs, Georgia, Public Library, has a couple of issues to deal with. First of all, Dixie Huddleston has finally agreed to return the book she borrowed 40-some years earlier. Second, a new resident named Belle Beauchamp has come to town and seduced the head of the library board with her new, innovative ideas. She seems to want a bookless library and he's fallen for her charms and her ideas.

When Cleo and her gentleman friend Henry go to collect the book, they find that Dixie has been murdered by being locked in her pantry with a swarm of bees and her Epi pens which have had the medicine switched out for sugar water. Since Cleo had recently featured in a newspaper article about her hunt for long overdue books, the local sheriff is sure that she is the one who murdered Dixie.

However, her neighbor who is the department's newest deputy is convinced that Cleo had nothing to do with the crime. But Cleo along with Dixie's hypochondriac best friend Pat begin an investigation to find Dixie's killer.

Meanwhile, someone is spreading terror around town by leaving coffin shaped notes with death threats which is leading to a lot of fear and suspicion.

I like the setting of this mystery and the many over-the-top characters. There are a lot of suspects for Cleo to sort through including Dixie's son and daughter-in-law who are mimes and Dixie's estranged daughter who left town after high school and hasn't returned since. Then there's the artist who has a grudge against realtor Dixie for selling her a house infected with mold.

And while Cleo is investigating, she also has to find a way to derail Belle's plans for her beloved library. Belle is also a suspect since Cleo's best friend overheard a heated argument between Belle and Dixie.

This was a fun cozy. I liked that the heroine was an older woman with old-fashioned Southern manners and a love for pie.

Favorite Quote:
People lit up when they saw Words on Wheels approaching. It was like driving an ice-cream truck in a heat wave, only better because books were a thrill in any weather. 
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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