Title: Murder at the Lakeside Library (A Lakeside Library Mystery #1)
Author: Holly Danvers
Published on: 13 July 2021
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Murder at the Lakeside Library is the first book in a brand new cozy mystery series by Holly Danvers. Rain Wilmot has returned to her family’s waterfront cabin in Lofty Pines, Wisconsin. Widowed for almost a year now and still dealing with grief, Rain is not sure if moving to Lofty Pines is the right thing to do. She meets her childhood friend and neighbor Julie. Julie insists on opening the lakeside library – an impromptu library run by Rain’s mum. Julie feels meeting new people would take the burden of grief off Rain’s shoulders.
Marge, a woman in her eighties, has agreed to help Julie and Rain with the library duties. The trio meet up for tea and snacks – also, an informal opening of the library. Rain and Julie are moving the books from Marge’s car to the library when they hear Marge scream. There’s a dead body on the premises.
First thing that caught my attention is the setting. A Lakeside Library, how cool is that!! I really loved the setting. A log cabin and a library that houses first edition of Rain’s grandfather’s books. We also have a little background on Rain’s ‘nerdy’ childhood – she spent most of her vacation time reading a book. (So did I!)
As a first in the series, the spotlight is on character introduction. The characters have a lot of depth in them. Rain and Julie rekindle their friendship and secrets are shared. Rain and Julie are more like sisters than best friends. (Rain calls Julie a sister from another mister.) Rain reminiscing the times spent with her grandparents and parents at the cabin, her parents’ estranged relationship with each other and Rain dealing with the death of her husband – these details certainly makes the reader feel connected to the story and the main character.
When Jace, Julie’s elder brother and the local policeman, arrives at the scene, it is pretty obvious he and Rain will see sparks fly in the near future. Although the romance angle is not explored in this book, I believe we will get to see them work together as a couple and sleuths in the next book(s). Julie and Rain grew up reading Nancy Drew stories so when a dead body is found on the premises, the duo don their detective hats.
Coming to the mystery behind the murder, I won’t say I liked the ‘denouement’ – some things did not make a lot of sense. Having said that, I loved the bits of ‘family secrets’ thrown in – associated with the dead man. The identity of the perp was a no-shocker and like I said before, it didn’t really feel like ‘Oh wow, I did not see that coming!’.
The only niggle (which resulted in me rating this book a 3) I had throughout were the dialogs. Too simple or too much information – I wish the lengthy conversations were cut down a tad. Also, Julie and Rain act very childish – cracking unrelated jokes in a serious situation (the kind that makes you give them a poker-face expression) and whatnot.
Overall, Murder at the Lakeside Library was an okay read. I am looking forward to seeing what’s next for Rain, Julie and Jace.
I received an ARC from Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.