Saturday, August 5, 2017
Murder in the Manuscript Room
I love libraries. I love everything from the atmosphere to the endless exciting possibilities they represent to the unique personality of almost every library whose threshold I've crossed. I even love the smell of libraries.
Personally I'm also predisposed to liking mysteries and thrillers, so, a mystery/thriller in a library? Yes, please!
This is the second book in the 42nd Street library mystery series. I read the book without having read any of the author's other books. This one didn't suffer in my estimation for having been read as a standalone.
The characters are well written, with well thought out motivations and, in some cases, agendas. There's a lot going on: terrorist fanatics, murder, espionage, prison politics, murky dealings, kidnapping and long ago history tied to politics and the murder of a labor union boss for which the wrong man was imprisoned. Despite so many subplots, the author handled the complex storyline well, and I never felt lost or confused.
The main protagonist isn't young, tough or wisecracking. He's a mild mannered librarian with a melancholy background, entangled in a custody battle over his grandson. I loved that he wasn't a superhero.
One of the secondary characters in this book (a bartender!) is the protagonist in his own series of 3 books, making this book a tie-in/crossover. Again, I don't think it suffered for my not having read the other books, an oversight I intend to remedy soon.
It's clear that the author is also a bibliophile and as a bonus this book is a rich source of book-hunting gems for further reading because of the classic mystery thriller name dropping. It inspired me to revisit Dashiell Hammet, Vera Caspary, and to look up Chester Himes. I like it when my reading list leads me to more books!
Enjoyed this one very much and I fully intend to read the other books in the related series.
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher.