Saturday, April 10, 2021

ARC Review: The Unkindness of Ravens by M. E. Hilliard

The Unkindness of Ravens

M. E. Hilliard 
Series: Greer Hogan Mysteries (Book 1)
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (April 13, 2021)

Description: Librarian Greer Hogan matches wits with a deviously clever killer in M.E. Hilliard's chilling series debut, ideal for fans of Louise Penny and Dorothy L. Sayers.

Greer Hogan is a librarian and an avid reader of murder mysteries. She also has a habit of stumbling upon murdered bodies. The first was her husband's, and the tragic loss led Greer to leave New York behind for a new start in the Village of Raven Hill. But her new home becomes less idyllic when she discovers her best friend sprawled dead on the floor of the library.

Was her friend's demise related to two other deaths that the police deemed accidental? Do the residents of this insular village hold dark secrets about another murder, decades ago? Does a serial killer haunt Raven Hill?

As the body count rises, Greer's anxious musings take a darker turn when she uncovers unexpected and distressing information about her own husband's death...and the man who went to prison for his murder . She is racked with guilt at the possibility that her testimony may have helped to convict an innocent man.

Though Greer admires the masters of deduction she reads about in books, she never expected to have to solve a mystery herself. Fortunately, she possesses a quick wit and a librarian's natural resourcefulness. But will that be enough to protect her from a brilliant, diabolical murderer?

And even if Greer manages to catch the Raven Hill killer, will living with her conscience prove a fate worse than death?

My Thoughts: This debut mystery stars Greer Hogan who came to librarianship after a previous career in the cosmetics industry in New York City. Her guilt about the death of her husband in an apparent home invasion caused her to look for a new career and new city. Now, she is happily settled in her new job as a librarian at Raven Hill Manor in a small New York town. 

She has connected with an old friend from her college days who is also a recent resident of the town and who is active in the Friends of the Library. When she discovers her friend's body after an apparent fall, she decides to find out what happened to Joanna for two reasons. She wants justice for her friend and she doesn't want to be considered a suspect. Finding two dead bodies can be really career-limiting!

Greer is a devoted fan of mysteries and their detectives and needs to channel the things she has learned from all those fictional detectives from Miss Marple's nose for gossip to her own personal favorite Trixie Belden's use of teamwork. I really enjoyed the number of books and detectives that Greer mentioned throughout the book.

The story required Greer to look into the past of the town and the people and to try to retrace the path Joanna forged to figure out who the killer was and why Joanna was killed. There was a nice array of suspects from Joanna's husband to her colleague at the television station where she worked to a woman who was opposed to Joanna's support for a new library building.

I really enjoyed this debut and look forward to more from the author.

Favorite Quote:
"Hmmm," I said, "that's interesting. I don't get a lot of requests like this, but I'm sure I can find some things for you." This was librarian speak for "I've got nothing."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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