11 February 2013

If Books Could Kill

Killer Librarian by Mary Lou Kirwan.

Karen Nash is the librarian at a small-town library in Minnesota.  Her life has generally been pretty quiet, even her short marriage to a man she met in library school.

She was into her forties by the time she met Dave, a plumber who came over to fix her toilet.  An ordinary guy, Karen managed to overlook the fact that he wasn't a reader and had been dating for a couple of years.

Dave sells the patent on a high-tech toilet based on an idea of Karen's, and with the windfall from that, buys tickets for both of them to go to England.

An Anglophile, Karen is thrilled, and is at home doing the last-minute packing when Dave calls and dumps her.  Since she had the trip all planned out, Karen buys herself a ticket on the original flight, and goes by herself.

She checks into a charming bed and breakfast inn run by a charming bibliophile named Caldwell Perkins, who invites her to the local pub for dinner.  Having resolved to experience as much as she can on this trip, Karen agrees.

Karen has a couple of pints before dinner, and being unused to English beer, as well as being jet-lagged, she feels its effects rather quickly.  Before she knows it, she's in tears and telling a stranger named Guy all about Dave, who, on top of everything else had used Karen's original ticket for another woman.  Guy tells her that "Dave will be taken care of" and walks away.

Karen doesn't think much of it, until she's out sightseeing and sees Guy talking to Dave's new girlfriend outside a museum. She's horrified.  Had she really arranged for the murder of her ex-boyfriend?

Hilarious encounters and misunderstandings ensue, as Karen tries to discover who Guy really is.  Complicating this is the death an elderly man, also staying at Caldwell's house.  Did he die of natural causes, or could one of her fellow guests (or, gasp!, Caldwell) have killed him?

As a librarian myself, I felt compelled to read this book, and enjoyed it very much.  There is more cozy than mystery here, but it's a charming, entertaining story nonetheless.

FTC Full Disclosure:  Thanks to Simon & Schuster and Edelweiss for the e-galley. 

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