Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Book Review: The Bodies in the Library by Marty Wingate

The Bodies in the Library 

Marty Wingate
Series: A First Edition Library Mystery Book 1
Publication: Berkley (October 8, 2019)

Description: Hayley Burke's fresh start as the curator of The First Edition Society's library in Bath, England, is about to take a rotten turn in this charming new mystery series from USA Today bestselling author Marty Wingate.

Hayley Burke has landed a dream job. She is the new curator of Lady Georgiana Fowling's First Edition library. The library is kept at Middlebank House, a lovely Georgian home in Bath, England. Hayley lives on the premises and works with the finicky Glynis Woolgar, Lady Fowling's former secretary.

Mrs. Woolgar does not like Hayley's ideas to modernize The First Edition Society and bring in fresh blood. And she is not even aware of the fact that Hayley does not know the first thing about the Golden Age of Mysteries. Hayley is faking it till she makes it, and one of her plans to breathe new life into the Society is actually taking flight--an Agatha Christie fan fiction writers group is paying dues to meet up at Middlebank House.

But when one of the group is found dead in the venerable stacks of the library, Hayley has to catch the killer to save the Society and her new job.

My Thoughts: Hayley Burke has gotten a great new job. She's been hired as the curator of the First Edition Library in the former home of Lady Fowling who was a collector of mysteries written in the 1930s by the likes of Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers. Lady Fowling herself was the author of some mysteries. The job comes with lodgings which is quite a perk for a divorced woman with a daughter at university. 

There are a couple of problems with Hayley's dream job. Mrs. Glynis Woolgar was Lady Fowling's secretary until her death and feels that she has to keep things as they are which thwarts Hayley's plans to make the library more relevant. Second, Hayley doesn't know anything about mysteries written in the 1930s since her degree was in 19th Century literature. 

Hayley has convinced the Board to allow a group of writers who specialize in fan fiction using some of Agatha Christie's characters to use the library. She might be regretting that decision though because they are constantly arguing and seldom leave the library as neat as Mrs. Woolgar would prefer. She regrets it even more when she enters the library one morning and discovers the body of Trist - the leader of the group. 

At first, Hayley is quite content to leave the investigation to the local police. Detective Sergeant Ronald Hopgood and Detective Constable Kenny Pye seem to be quite competent. That isn't the same for the author group. As writers of mysteries they feel that they have a lot to contribute to the investigation. Hopgood wants Hayley to get them to back off. 

Hayley is also dealing with a threat from Lady Fowling's sleazy nephew who is determined to overset the trust and take over the house and all its contents himself and isn't above using some blackmail to get his way. She also has to deal with her boyfriend Wyn who is so busy working on his robot in London that he doesn't have time to offer her support during the troubles in Bath. And she meets a new man who has so much in common with her as she works to set up some literary salons in concert with the university. 

I enjoyed this cozy mystery. The characters were interesting people. Hayley is the sort of person who is easy to identify with. The plot was complex enough to keep my interest and leave me guessing about the mystery. I liked the setting in Bath and in a home that is now a library for mysteries. 

Favorite Quote:
"Well, Ms. Burke, as it isn't April Fools', I will believe you," DS Hopgood said. "So what we've got is a body in the library at a society that specializes in murder mysteries. Doesn't that just take the biscuit?"
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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