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By Jenn McKinney

Berkley Prime Crime, 2011 ($7.99)

ISBN-13: 978-0-425-24218-6
Kindle eBook: $7.99

Reviewed by Shirley Wetzel

Lindsey Norris was living her dream six months ago, employed as an archivist at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University and engaged to the perfect man. Then somebody pulled the rug out from under her. She was laid off and her personal life fell apart at the same time. Her library school roommate, Beth Stanley, urged her to apply for the position of library director in the small town of Briar Creek, Connecticut, and soon Lindsey realized she'd found her true calling and a perfect home town.

She loves interacting with the local folks, and in no time feels like she belongs. The friendship between her and Beth, a talented children's librarian, grows stronger, her landlady, Nancy Peyton, gives her motherly affection, and the people in the weekly book club/craft meetings are welcoming and supportive. There's even a potential for a new romance. Life is good.

One thing worries her. Beth, who has been working on a children's book for some time, has a boyfriend who is a real jerk. Rick Eckman, who arrived in Briar Creek a few years ago, is a successful children's author, and he does all he can to convince Beth she has no talent. He is not at all happy to find out Beth has been asked to show her work to a New York editor who is coming to town for a short holiday, but Beth, prodded by her friends, meets with the woman anyway. What she finds out is devastating, and it involves Rick. She is so angry with him she threatens to kill him in a room full of witnesses. They all know she would never harm anyone, but when he is murdered, she is naturally the prime suspect.

Lindsey sets out to find out who else might have reason to kill Rick, and she unravels a trail of deceit and treachery dating back for years. Her skills as a librarian and her strong believe in Beth's innocence lead her to the ugly truth.

This is the first in A Library Lover's Mystery series, and it is a fine debut. The coastal location of Briar Creek and its nearby islands is an integral part of the story, the town sounds idyllic, and its citizens are people one would want as friends — except perhaps for the crabby Ms. Cole, a leftover from the previous library director's tenure who hates change. Even she, though, has a few good points.

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