Death in the Stacks
Library Lover’s Mystery, Book #8
By Jenn McKinlay
Author’s website: www.Jennmckinlay.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
Lindsey Norris and her staff are gearing up for the Briar Creek Library’s annual Dinner in the Stacks fund-raiser. The night of dinner and dancing is not only a booklover’s dream–it’s the library’s biggest moneymaker of the year. But instead of raising funds, the new library board president is busy raising a stink and making the staff miserable.
Although Olive Boyle acts like a storybook villain, Lindsey is determined to work with her and make the event a success. But when Olive publicly threatens the library’s newest hire, Paula, Lindsey cracks like an old book spine and throws Olive out of the library.
The night of the fund-raiser, Lindsey dreads another altercation with Olive–but instead finds Paula crouched over Olive’s dead body. Paula may have secrets, but Lindsey and the rest of the crafternooners know she’s not the one who took Olive out of circulation. As the plot thickens, Lindsey must catch the real killer before the book closes on Paula’s future.
A small seaside town library setting, characters to root for, and a truly vile murder victim come together to make an engaging, entertaining read in Death in the Stacks, the eighth entry in the Library Lover’s Mystery series.
Jenn McKinlay writes some of my favorite characters in the cozy mystery universe, books full of witty narratives and dangerous situations, all while maintaining the coziness one associates with the genre. Death in the Stacks finds our protagonist Lindsay, director of her small community library, busy with preparations for the library’s annual fund raiser and dealing with the board’s new president Olive Boyle. When Olive is found murdered among the stacks after publicly attacking Lindsay and library employee Paula, police chief Emma cannot help but make the two ladies her prime suspects. Initially, Lindsay, who has sworn off being an amateur sleuth, does not want to get involved with the investigation but quickly realizes that she must do something to remove suspicion. Olive was a power hungry, narcissist out to ruin just about everyone around her so it is no wonder that she made plenty of enemies along the way. Even her pack of “mean girl” friends are more frenemies than not. The more Lindsay looks into Olive’s life, the more motives she finds making uncovering the killer no easy task.
Fans of McKinlay’s Hat Shop Mysteries and Cupcake Bakery Mysteries will be delighted to see characters from these series pop up in Death in the Stacks. Their cameos work well in the context of the fund raising dinner, and I am especially pleased to get another glimpse into the lives of the Hat Shop crew beyond the end of their series. I hope they visit Briar Creek again someday. The story moves along at a brisk pace, and I had a hard time pinpointing the killer until the exciting climactic scene. The final reveal left me thinking that Olive got what she deserved, and, wow, what a conniving, manipulative witch she was. At this point in the series, recurring characters are well defined friends to readers yet they continue to be interesting and grow. The relationships are what keep me coming back for more. I truly wish that as a kid I had a children’s librarian as fabulous as Beth.
Death in the Stacks is a wonderful addition to the Library Lover’s Series, and I hope to have many more adventures with Lindsay and crew. Recommended.