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Booked for Trouble: 05/22/16

Booked for Trouble by Eva Gates

Booked for Trouble by Eva Gates is the second of the Lighthouse Library mystery series. Set on Bodie Island, Nags Head, North Carolina, it's a cozy series that imagines the lighthouse being transformed into the local public library (rather than a visitor's center). It also assumes that the keeper's building and the lighthouse are a single building, rather than two.

In this second installment, assistant librarian Lucy is visited unexpectedly by her mother. Lucy's parents had quarreled again and Mom's taking some me-time to stick it to her husband. She's also visiting to try to guilt trip Lucy into going home and finally accepting the proposal from her once long-time boyfriend. But all of that goes haywire when an employee at the hotel Lucy's mother is staying at is found dead outside of the lighthouse library and the circumstantial evidence points to Lucy's mother.

Google street view of the lighthouse featured in this series.
The lighthouse from Google Street View accessed February 22, 2016

Having an entire book so early in the series based around the protagonist's mother initially sent up a mental red flag. I'm really not interested in getting involved in the private lives of characters when reading a cozy. I'm more in for the procedure and the off the wall approaches that novices with other specialities can bring to the story.

Here though it works, at least it works well enough within my ability to suspend my disbelief. Lucy's mother reminds of me Anthony DiNozzo senior: a POSH sounding con-man perpetually short on cash. Lucy's Mom may or may not have a history of petty theft. The person who died certainly believed that she did.

The only truly weird piece of this series is the notion that a brand new employee, one with no seniority would be trusted to live in an apartment in the same building as the library. In fiction, the only other example I can think of is Twilight Sparkle (who ends up blowing up her treehouse library) in Friendship is Magic. The ALA lists the Delbridge branch of the Seattle Public Library which is on the ground floor of an apartment building.

Regardless of my quibbles, the mystery itself was still engaging enough to keep me turning the pages and to be looking forward to book three, Reading Up a Storm which comes out in April.

Four stars

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