BOOK REVIEW: By Book or By Crook {Lighthouse Library Mystery # 1} by Eva Gates

NGL here, I put off reading Eva Gates' By Book or By Crook {Lighthouse Library Mystery, # 1} for quite some time because my track record with cozy mysteries as of late has been...well, for lack of better words, a literal dumpster fire. That said, I enjoyed this one. It did take me a few chapters to warm up to the characters and pacing; but I enjoyed it enough where Book 2 is a definite possibility in my future.

Lucy Richardson has spent a decade working at the prestigious Harvard Library, but when she's proposed to by a guy she's not head over heels for, leading her to decline, her wealthy family flips, and she decides that change is needed in her life - pronto! Packing her bags, Lucy resigns from her position, and retreats to the Outer Banks - a charming small town that she summered at as a child. There she connects with her Aunt Ellen, and cousin Josie, hoping to clear her head, and drown her sorrows in calorie-laden confections from Josie's bakery. Though only expected to be a short stay, when Lucy is offered a position at the Bodie Lighthouse Library by head librarian Bertie, she immediately accepts and elects to turn her vacation destination into her permanent home. But not everyone on Bodie Island is thrilled about Lucy's arrival - or insta job offer.

Enter Louise Jane. With no college education to back her, it would be impossible to hire her on as a librarian; but she is convinced that no one deserves the job more than her. In fact, in her eyes, Lucy stole the position from her; therefore, Louise Jane will stop at nothing to take it back - including manipulating the library board to see things her way. Despite knowing that Louise Jane and the library board are out for blood, Lucy refuses to back away from her newly secured post - especially since Bodie is currently hosting a Jane Austen exhibit featuring a slew of rare and expensive first editions. It is during the big reveal party of this exhibit to friends of the library that disaster strikes in the form of the chair of the library board being discovered dead. And Bertie being the prime suspect for his murder.

Given the fact that the deceased was one of Lucy's greatest naysayers, and felt as if her position should be eliminated, and Bertie was one of Lucy's biggest supporters has placed Lucy in a bit of a bind. Feeling as if she is to blame for Bertie's arrest, she resolves to do a bit of amateur sleuthing to uncover the real killer, and clear Bertie's name. But as Jane Austen first editions begin disappearing from the locked exhibit while under Lucy's watch, she finds herself being viewed by some as a thief, and realizes that if she doesn't find the true culprit quickly, she may be the next one behind bars - or worse...dead.

As with most cozy mysteries, By Book or By Crook does not come without its share of flaws. For one, many of the characters are difficult to warm up to. While I loved the children's librarian, Ronald, along with the free-spirited Josie; I found both Bertie and research librarian, Charlene, hard to like. For me, Charles, the library cat, was the true star of the book; though he didn't get nearly as much page time as the love triangle involving Lucy, Connor, and Butch - of which I am grossly uninterested in. Additionally, the relationship between Louise Jane and Poor Andrew is incredibly...odd, and something that comes off as very juvenile - circa middle school or high school.

All of that said, there were times when I really enjoyed Lucy, and felt that her personality resonated with mine - enough so that I will take book two, Booked for Trouble {Lighthouse Library Mystery, # 2}, for a spin. I only hope that we see more of Charles and Josie in the next installment.

Star Rating: ***1/2



R's Rue said...

Love it.

ellie said...

I'm glad you found this series. I love the bookcover❤️❤️❤️

Cherry Blossoms said...

Exciting! and interesting! Thanks so much!

Better Left Unsaid said...

So great to see your review!

Caitlin'nMegan said...

Interesting setting and characters!

Ivy's Closet said...

Wonderful to know about!

The Book Group said...

Awesome review! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Hollyn'Stevie said...

I hope you like the next one. Great review!

R's Rue said...

Happy Friday. Miss you friend. Hope all is well.

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