CHECKED OUT FOR MURDER
A Haunted Library Mystery #4
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Date of Publication: September 8, 2020
Number of Pages: 320
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Carrie Singleton and Evelyn the ghost sleuth the slayings of a starlet and a star-crossed psychic in Agatha Award nominee Allison Brook’s fourth Haunted Library mystery.
Daphne Marriott strolls into Clover Ridge and informs librarian Carrie Singleton that she’s a psychic. But had she foreseen what fate awaited her, Daphne would have steered clear of the quaint Connecticut town. Evelyn, the library ghost, tells Carrie that there’s more to Daphne than she lets on.
The mysterious woman grew up in Clover Ridge with her no-good dad, who apparently met his end at the hands of Daphne’s brother, Billy. Still, Daphne proves a welcome distraction when Carrie’s overbearing mother hits town. Mom’s much younger husband, Tom, is in a movie that’s lensing locally, and she’s there to keep an eye on him: Tom’s costar, sultry Ilana Reingold, is also his ex-fiancée, and there’s no denying the chemistry is still there. Soon after mingling with the moviemakers at a meet-and-greet, Daphne is found dead.
Carrie and Evelyn investigate, assisted by bushy-tailed library cat Smoky Joe. But the suspect list could overflow the library shelves. Has Billy killed another relative? Is their long-missing mother involved? Or Daphne’s mean ex-husband? Carrie’s sure she knows who committed the crime, but can she bind together the clues before the culprit Dewey-decimates the town?
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The Value of Cozies and Why I Write Them
Our lives have changed in the past few months. We slip on a mask to enter a supermarket or the workplace. Zooming has taken the place of meetings and conferences, even weddings and funerals. Reading a cozy mystery can banish one’s sense of isolation and anxiety—at least for a few hours. I love reading cozies. Here are the reasons why I write ’em.
1. I enjoy writing mysteries and prefer leaving the CSI end of it to others. I’m interested in the puzzle aspect. The human factor. Why was a person or persons murdered? How does my sleuth track him or her down and prove his or her guilt?
2. I love writing a mystery from an amateur sleuth’s perspective. Not a homicide detective armed and trained to solve murders, but a so-called “average” citizen with enough intelligence, drive and curiosity to solve a mystery. Like Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, cozy sleuths observe suspects. They ask questions. They eavesdrop. They do research. They befriend the police investigating the murder. Carrie Singleton, my sleuth in the Haunted Library mystery series, is the head of programs and events at the Clover Ridge Library in Connecticut. Sleuths in my other mystery series are a high school English teacher, a retired CEO, and a college professor who leads a Golden Age of Mystery book club.
3. My characters are three-dimensional and receive lots of attention in my cozies. What makes each of them tick? How do they relate to one another? Why do they behave the way they do? Some of my characters are quirky. Others are likable. Others are downright annoying.
4. I love writing cozies because they’re written in series and I love writing series. With each new book, readers get a chance to learn more about my sleuth and her friends, family, love interests and enemies as the series progresses.
5. I ADORE secrets. Many of my characters have secrets that impact their current behavior. Secrets can make a character look guilty when she isn’t. Keeping a secret might even drive a character to murder.
6. Cozies are set in small towns where everyone knows everyone else. A cozy’s setting is another character of the story because it affects all the characters. The Haunted Library series takes place in Clover Ridge, Connecticut, a small town with centuries-old homes, restaurants and shops built around a village green. The library where Carrie Singleton works is housed in one of these large former residences.
7. Romance winds its way through many cozies, and the Haunted Library series is no exception. Carrie has a boyfriend—an investigator named Dylan Avery.
8. Animals and cozies go hand-in-hand. In Death Overdue, the first book in the Haunted Library series, a stray half-grown cat attaches himself to Carrie and she ends up bringing him to work with her. Smoky Joe proves to be very sociable and becomes the Library Cat. In one book he helps solve the mystery.
9. Cozies are resolved on a happy note. The murderer is caught. Future books in the series give one’s sleuth an opportunity to forge more adventures and solve more mysteries.
Try reading a cozy. I think you’ll like it.
A former Spanish teacher, Marilyn Levinson writes mysteries, romantic suspense, and novels for kids. Her books have received many accolades. As Allison Brook, she writes the Haunted Library series. DEATH OVERDUE, the first in the series, was an Agatha nominee for Best Contemporary Novel in 2018. Other mysteries include the Golden Age of Mystery Book Club series and the Twin Lakes series.
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