Welcome to another entry in my irregular feature: US cozy review. Again, this is the start of a new series, and it features a lead who runs the local library.
Books Can Be Deceiving by Jenn McKinlay, July 2011, Berkley Books ISBN: 0425242188
BOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING is the first book in the Library Lover's series. As a Library Assistant myself, you would expect me to love this book and you would be correct.
Set in a coastal small town - Briar Creek, Connecticut - the lead character is Lindsey Norris who has recently taken the job of Briar Creek's Library Director after a troublesome personal and professional life elsewhere.
Lindsey's best friend Beth has been working as the children's librarian in Briar Creek for years so it is a happy reunion.
Lindsey has implemented a few changes at the library, much to the disapproval of long-time employee Ms Cole. One of these is a crafternoon session where a group of patrons knit and discuss their book group read.
Beth is an aspiring children's picture-book writer and illustrator and her boyfriend of five years, Rick, is a successful children's author however no-one can see what Beth sees in him. A row over Beth's labour of love leads to the couple splitting and a subsequent revelation has Beth fuming and dashing out to his home on a private island. Accompanied by Lindsey and local sailor Sully they do not expect to find Rick's dead body. The dim-witted local police chief has Beth in the frame however he doesn't count on Lindsey doing her own sleuthing to uncover the real killer.
BOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING imparts a feeling of comfort. The setting is gorgeous and the locals have embraced Lindsey into the community (with the exception of Ms Cole!) and there's just the hint of a salve for Lindsey's broken heart in the shape of hot-chocolate making Sully (recipe included). The mystery side is fine – I didn't guess what was going on - but it takes a while to get a head of steam but the finale is quite action packed and full of peril. There is also a very funny scene towards the end in a college.
I really enjoyed the feel of the book – the ambience, the wonderful library and the book-ish references - so much so that I've just ordered books two and three. The seventh book in the series is due out in November 2016. I may have caught up by then!
Karen Meek, May 2016