Thursday, November 26, 2020

ARC Review: Murder Is a Must by Marty Wingate

Murder Is a Must

Marty Wingate
Series: A First Edition Library Mystery Book 2
Publication: Berkley (December 1, 2020)

Description: Determined to make the First Edition Library a success, Hayley Burke wasn’t expecting to have to solve an old friend’s murder in this all-new mystery from USA Today bestselling author Marty Wingate.

Hayley Burke, curator of Lady Fowling's collection of first edition mysteries, is settling into her position at the First Edition Library in Middlebank House. She's even made progress with Lady Fowling's former secretary, the ornery Miss Woolgar. The women are busily preparing for an exhibition that will showcase Lady Fowling's life and letters. Hayley knows the exhibition is a huge undertaking and decides, against her better judgement, to hire Oona Atherton, her former boss from the Jane Austen Centre to help with the planning.

Oona is known for being difficult, but all seems to be going swimmingly until she and Hayley uncover a one-page letter that alludes to a priceless edition of MURDER MUST ADVERTISE signed by several Golden Age of Mystery authors. Oona feels this book could be the focal point of the exhibition and becomes obsessed with finding it.

When they find clues that appear to point to the book being somewhere in the First Edition Library, Oona is certain she's unraveled the mystery and texts Hayley the good news, but upon arriving back at Middlebank, Hayley finds her old boss dead at the bottom of the stairs. Did her discovery of the rare book get her killed or was it some angry shadow from her past? Hayley must read between the lines to catch a malicious murderer.

My Thoughts: Hayley Burke is determined to make the First Editions Library a success and relevant to today's fans of mystery novels. She is beginning a series of literary salons. But the big event to increase the Library's membership and reputation is an exhibition.

Hayley needs to find a perfect location and an exhibitions manager. Her first choice of venue has a surprise cancellation that Hayley is quick to jump on and an exhibitions manager that Hayley worked with previously is able to take the job. Oona Atherton is a wonderful, creative exhibitions manager but she is also a severe taskmaster who makes many enemies as she finishes her creative exhibitions. Hayley herself once with with Oona and knows her faults but thinks she's the best choice considering the need for a quick turnaround.

Hayley has also found a clue in one of the Library's books that indicates that there is a rare first edition of  MURDER MUST ADVERTISE by Dorothy L. Sayers hidden somewhere which contains the autographs of all of the members of the Detection Club from 1933 including Sayers and Agatha Christie among others. The book would make a fine centerpiece for the exhibit - if only Hayley can find it. 

But then Oona is found murdered and Hayley has a murder to solve, a new exhibition manager to hire, her boyfriend's two daughters to meet, and various other problems to solve including a fire caused by her ex-husband at her daughter's rental flat. 

I enjoyed the many interesting characters in this one from an exhibition manager who is rather famous for his disasters to a computer geek with an obsessive personality but a great eye for detail. I enjoyed Hayley's new romance with Val which has many other obstacles than his two daughters disapproval of a a new woman in their father's life.

This was an engaging and entertaining new episode in this series. I look forward to more of Hayley's adventures. 

Favorite Quote:
I walked out and took a gulp of cold air as an icy mizzle began to fall. I should ring Arthur Fish. I should try again to contact Zeno's other two references. I should figure out what to do about Bess and Becky. I should have a talk with Clara. I should find that first edition. I should suss out who murdered Oona. But couldn't I do all of that in the morning?

I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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