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WesternSFA


Murder at the Lakeside Library
Lakeside Library Mysteries #1
by Holly Danvers
Crooked Lane Books, $26.99, 336pp
Published: July 2021

In this series debut perfect for fans of Jenn McKinlay and Miranda James, Rain Wilmont must discover the killer, before the book closes on her life.

Rain Wilmont has just returned to her family's waterfront log cabin in Lofty Pines, Wisconsin after the untimely death of her husband. The cabin is peaceful compared to Rain's corporate job and comes with an informal library that Rain's mother, Willow, used to run. But as Rain prepares for the re-opening of the library, all hopes for a peaceful life are shattered when she discovers the body of Thornton Hughes, a real estate buyer, on the premise.

The community of Lofty Pines starts pointing fingers at Willow, since she has been unusually absent from the library this summer. A fishy rumor surfaces when Rain learns that Willow had been spending a lot of time with Thorton. The town even thought they were having an affair.

While theories swirl about Thorton's death, Rain takes it upon herself to solve the case to exonerate her mother. As more clues surface, Rain will have to piece together the mystery. But if she isn't careful, she may be the next to end up dead in the water in ‘Murder at Lakeside Library’ the first in Holly Danvers' new Lakeside Library mysteries.

Rain escapes to her family’s lakeside cabin to regroup after the death of her husband. Unfortunately it is not turning out to be the quiet retreat she hopes for as she finds out her mother expects her to open the library attached to the cabin for the summer. Then a dead body is discovered on the property shortly after her arrival.  The dead man turns out to be a close friend of Rain’s mother and suspicion falls on her and on Rain’s father, both of whom are strangely absent from the lake for the summer. Rain and her childhood friend Julia do some snooping in order to clear Rain’s parents and find the murderer.

While this was a quick read, I initially had a hard time getting in to it as I found Rain somewhat off-putting.  There was a lot of angst from Rain, more than I would have expected for a cozy mystery. Rain keeps obsessing over her dead husband’s infidelity - that she had already presumably forgiven him for -  and getting way too upset over the state of her parent’s marriage and, as a grown woman, showing an almost juvenile squeamishness at any hint of her parents’ sexual activities, whether with each other or other people.  The harping on these issues eased as the book went along and the mystery was wrapped up quickly with some bits predicable for the “happy ending”.  I’ll try the next one in the series as Rain became more likeable and relatable as the story progressed. ~~ Stephanie L Bannon

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