Checked Out

A Dead-End Job Mystery #14

Author: Elaine Viets

ISBN13: 9780451466327

Author website:

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kayt


Synopsis:  Checked Out

Shhh…in the newest hardcover in the national bestselling Dead-End Job Mystery series, Helen Hawthorne quietly goes undercover at a local library to search for a missing masterpiece.

Wealthy socialite Elizabeth Cateman Kingsley has hired Helen to find a missing John Singer Sargent painting, owned by her late father. After his death, many of Davis Cateman’s books were donated to the Flora Park library, and his daughter suspects the small watercolor—worth millions—was tucked away inside one of those dusty tomes.

To search the stacks, Helen applies for a position as a library volunteer and discovers the library director has a catalog of complaints—from a mischievous calico cat named Paris to the mysterious disappearance of various items that some of the more imaginative staff are attributing to a ghost haunting the building.

While her husband Phil sticks his neck out to find a missing necklace, Helen is on her own with no one to lend her a hand. When a dead body turns up in a parking lot, it appears someone is willing to go to any lengths to keep the treasure in the library quiet. Now Helen is bound and determined to find the killer as well as the painting—before she’s taken out of circulation herself.


Checked Out is a fun, fast paced whodunit that kept me guessing right till the end. I loved PI husband and wife team Helen and Phil. They worked well together and apart. The library setting was entertaining and informative. Helen is hired to find a million dollar watercolor that is believed to be squirrelled away in one of the thousands of books donated to the Flora Park Library. When Helen is at the library she picks up another job to find the “ghost” that is causing problems there. At the same time the pair have been hired to find a stolen necklace. All of the suspects are from the same pool of characters. Rich, spoiled members of first families of Flora Par or library workers or volunteers.

I loved the relationship Helen and Phil had as a couple and as PI’s. They are wonderful, well developed characters. The staff and volunteers at the library were entertaining. Alexis was a great character and librarian and Gayle was the perfect anti librarian. The snarky Friends of the Library ladies were great to hate. Jared, the ‘should be’ retired janitor, was a perfect side character. The setting was enjoyable and who would not love Paris, the calico library cat. The story was wonderful. Investigating three different cases held the book together and kept the pacing fast and action packed.

I really enjoyed author Elaine Viets’ writing style. Humor, mystery, fun, action and a well written story jam packed this cozy read. I giggled at times and was enthralled at others. A truly fun book. The suspects for each case were different. While the murder mystery was hard to figure out, the other cases were a bit easier. Yet there was still the fun and action of getting the proof and answers.

I had not read “A Dead-End Job Mystery” series in its entirety nor in any order, however I truly enjoyed Checked Out and had no trouble following it and getting involved with the characters. I think this can be read as a standalone, but I adore the characters and have found a new series to add to my TBR list. I thoroughly enjoyed the author’s writing style and character conversation. I would love to hang out with Helen, Phil and the gang. Checked Out ticks all the boxes for a great read. I am on to the next one in the series and cannot wait to see what trouble this intelligent and fun pair and their friends find themselves in next.

*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*