Read and Gone
The Haunted Library Mysteries Series, Book #2
By Allison Brook (Pseudonym), Marilyn Levinson (Goodreads Author)
Author’s Website: www(.)marilynlevinson(.)com
Seven-million dollars’ worth of missing gems bring Carrie Singleton’s long-lost and larcenous dad back into her life and it’s up to Carrie to clear his name.
A devoted dad is as precious as diamonds, but Carrie Singleton wouldn’t know since her dad Jim’s been on the lam most of her life. In an unusual family reunion, she finds Jim breaking into her cottage in the middle of the night. The fun really starts when he begs her to help him recover his half of a seven-million-dollar gem heist he pulled off with the local jeweler, Benton Parr. When she refuses, Jim takes off again.
Carrie finds her father again behind bars for the recent murder of Benton Parr. Who made the connection? Unbeknownst to her, Carrie’s boyfriend Dylan, an insurance investigator, has been searching for the gems. Determined to find the jewels herself, she starts examining every facet of Parr’s life. She turns up a treasure trove of suspects, one of whom bashes her on the head as she’s searching the victim’s country cabin.
Retreating to the quiet confines of the library where she works, Carrie watches as Smokey Joe, the resident cat, paws at a hole in the wall. Is he after the library’s ghost Evelyn, or something shinier? (Goodreads)
Read and Gone is the second book of The Haunted Library Mysteries series written by Allison Brook (pseudonym for Marilyn Levinson). This is my first foray into her writing. While I began the series at this second book, I did not find that a hindrance. The book reads as a stand-alone. There are vague references to which if I had read the first book, I might have known, but there was enough coverage of past “important” facts to make this a wonderful read all on its own. The introduction of the other cast of characters was well done and right at the beginning of the story.
At times, I quite enjoy reading cozy mysteries with a bit of romance involved and Read and Gone did have a love connection between Carrie and Dylan. However, in my opinion it appeared to be a bit lackluster – if I am to be totally honest. Hopefully in future books the romance part can have more of a spark between the two characters, or maybe Carrie should move on to someone else?
The protagonist, Carrie Singleton, is a fairly new resident of Clover Ridge, having come to stay in Clover Ridge last spring and staying with her great-aunt (Harriet) and -uncle (Bosco) until she found a lovely cottage to rent. Carrie obtained the position of the head of Programs and Events at the local public library. Carrie had even started dating the handsome Dylan Avery. Life was good. The story begins at Carrie’s birthday party where everything in Carrie’s life is great…at least for now. And then her absentee father shows up…Jim Singleton is a career criminal, usually on the lam. So why has he shown up at Carrie’s doorstep? We find out that Jim is looking for some jewels that he and Benton Parr stole previously and Benton was keeping them safe.
I liked that there was honour with Jim…you know…honour among thieves and all. He has standards, his own code of conduct, if you will. He would never kill anyone. Jim is very charismatic. The growth of Jim and Carrie’s relationship was heartwarming and probably just what Carrie needed to be at peace with who her father was (and is).
“My father was a thief, but he believed in good clothes and good manners.”
Smoky Joe – a great cat. He got to hang at the library when Carrie went to work. He occasionally went after the mice that lived in the library but mostly he just hung out with the kids.
There are a few storylines within the story and I found all of them engaging. Of course – murder is the primary storyline. Benton Parr is murdered and as time progresses, there seems to be no shortage of suspects – including Jim. As Carrie (and the police of course) wade through the myriad of suspects and clues…. the waters seem to get muddier and muddier. But eventually the mystery is solved. Definitely kept me guessing to the bitter end – just the way I like it.
Our protagonist is occasionally visited by a helpful (with respect to solving mysteries that is) ghost – though it would have been more engaging if she had more than a couple of appearance’s throughout the story:
“Evelyn Havers, a former library aide, had died six years ago. Dorothy discovered, to her dismay, that her aunt’s ghost often visited me in the library.”
Read and Gone is filled with just more than a mystery… a look at dysfunctional family life… the beginnings of a new love relationship… starting over in a new town … all in all a well rounded cozy mystery. And did I mention – LOVE the cover -> books and a Christmas tree.
I can say with utmost certainty that I shall go back and read book one of this series as I have already placed a hold on the book at my local library! Pick it up and read…you won’t be disappointed if cozy mysteries are your thing ☺.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*