Tuesday, January 11, 2022

ARC Review: The Librarian Always Rings Twice by Marty Wingate

The Librarian Always Rings Twice

Marty Wingate
Series: A First Edition Library Mystery (Book 3)
Publication: Berkley (January 4, 2022)

Description: When a mysterious stranger turns up making claims that threaten Lady Fowling’s legacy, Hayley Burke must dig deep into her late-benefactor’s history to uncover the truth and catch a conniving killer in this new mystery from USA Today bestselling author Marty Wingate.

It has been nearly a year since I took up my position as curator of Lady Georgiana Fowling’s collection of Golden Age of Mystery writers’ first editions at her library in Middlebank House. I have learned that I need to take the good with the bad. The good: I have finally convinced Mrs. Woolgar to open up the collection to the public one day a week so that they too can share in Lady Fowling’s passion. The bad: although he would not be my first, or even tenth, choice, at the insistence of the board Charles Henry Dill, Lady Fowling’s unscrupulous nephew, is now my personal assistant.)

On one of our first days open to the public, Mr. John Aubrey shows up at Middlebank House and insists that Lady Georgiana Fowling is his grandmother. Mrs. Woolgar is scandalized by his claims, and Charles Henry, who feels he has been cheated out of his rightful inheritance as Lady Fowling’s heir, is furious. I do not know that I believe Mr. Aubrey, yet he has knowledge of Lady Fowling’s life and writings that few possess. To further complicate matters, an associate of Mr. Aubrey’s intends to help us uncover the truth of John’s story. But before he can do that, he is murdered and the police have reason to suspect Charles Henry.

As much as I would like to lock up Charles Henry and throw away the key, I cannot believe he is a killer. And I also know there is something dead wrong about Mr. Aubrey’s tales regarding his “grandmother” Lady Fowling. I will need to make sense of her past in order to suss out the true villain of this story.

My Thoughts: Hayley Burke is nearing the one-year anniversary of being hired as curator of the collection of Golden Age mysteries collected by Georgiana, Lady Fowler before her death. Things are going well. She has finally convinced Mrs. Woolgar to allow the collection to be opened to the public one day a week. But she has also had to agree to take Charles Henry Dill, Lady Fowler's unscrupulous and greedy nephew, as her personal assistant. 

Their first open afternoon is going well until a man named John Aubrey arrives claiming to be Lady Fowler's grandson. He seems to know quite a bit about her and about her fictional detective Flambeaux. However, Mrs. Woolgar, who thought she knew everything about Lady Fowler, doesn't believe him. Nor does Hayley who dislikes the very vague answers he gives when questioned about details of his past and relationship with Lady Fowler.

John Aubrey is assisted by Milo Overton who is working as his assistant. The two men look quite a bit alike at first glance. When Milo is murdered, Charles Henry comes under suspicion because of his angry attack on John when he feared that he would take his place as Lady Fowler's heir.

Much as she would like Charles Henry to be guilty, she can't make herself believe that he is. She becomes determined to find out who murdered Milo and what secrets John Aubrey is concealing. 

This was a fun cozy mystery. I like Hayley who has big plans for the collection and a strong admiration for Georgiana, Lady Fowler, despite never having met her. I liked the literary references to the great female mystery writers of the 1930s. I liked the excerpts from Lady Fowler's own detective stories.

Fans of cozy mysteries with literary ties will enjoy this story.

Favorite Quote:
If I had been any more chirpy at Monday morning's briefing with Mrs. Woolgar, I could've flown up to the curtain rod and perched there.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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