The Bodies in the Library (First Edition Library Mystery #1) by Marty Wingate
Publication Date: October 8th 2019
Publisher: Berkley/Penguin Random House
Genre: Cozy Mystery / Mystery
Hayley Burke’s fresh start as the curator of The First Edition Society’s library in Bath, England, is about to take a rotten turn in this charming new mystery series from USA Today bestselling author Marty Wingate.
Hayley Burke has landed a dream job. She is the new curator of Lady Georgiana Fowling’s First Edition library. The library is kept at Middlebank House, a lovely Georgian home in Bath, England. Hayley lives on the premises and works with the finicky Glynis Woolgar, Lady Fowling’s former secretary.
Mrs. Woolgar does not like Hayley’s ideas to modernize The First Edition Society and bring in fresh blood. And she is not even aware of the fact that Hayley does not know the first thing about the Golden Age of Mysteries. Hayley is faking it till she makes it, and one of her plans to breathe new life into the Society is actually taking flight–an Agatha Christie fan fiction writers group is paying dues to meet up at Middlebank House.
But when one of the group is found dead in the venerable stacks of the library, Hayley has to catch the killer to save the Society and her new job.
*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to PRHGlobal for free copy. ***
The Bodies in the Library was interesting cozy murder mystery that revolved around Hayley’s job as curator of Lady Georgiana Fowling’s First Edition Society at Lady Fowling’s Middlebank House, turned into library containing vast collection of first edition books by women authors from Golden Age of Mystery. It was about fanfiction, maintaining and respecting the legacy, secrets, conflicts, and friendship.
Book was first person narrative. Hayley’s voice was relatable, fun and so very British. Like her, I also haven’t read Christie, Slayers or Daphne books, and similarly I feel so bad for not reading them now. I could see how she felt when her position as curator was questioned.
Hayley’s expertise was 19th century literature. She never read mystery novels, knew nothing about Miss Marple and Poirot. She was lucky to have this job. With job, she was given accommodation in same premises, a grand and beautiful Georgian house. Mrs. Woolger, former secretary and caretaker of society, also lived and worked at Middlebank and didn’t know about Hayley’s lack of knowledge about the Golden Age of Mysteries. She didn’t like Hayleys’ ideas ways of running things. They didn’t see eye to eye. So, Hayley’s constant fear of being taken as fraud and losing her dream job was palpable.
She worked hard to fulfil her job and to spread word about the society, she invited fanfiction writers to society’s library for weekly meet up, but when one of the writer’s dead body was found in the library, that ended up in jeopardizing her job and Society’s reputation.
No clues and many suspects, I was curious to know how Hayley was going to find the murderer. What made the idea even more exciting was, she knew nothing about investigation until she read Christie’s Miss Marple book, The Body in the Library. It was fun to see her growing interest in mysteries and she did wonderful job in gathering clues. We could see how armature she was, not asking questions so subtly, taking risks and not keeping an open mind.
Hayley was great throughout the book. I liked her passion and ideas. Her efforts to keep her job safe. Her relationship with her mother was lovely. I also enjoyed Hayley and Mrs. Woolger contrasting nature in the book and how both could work together when it came to saving Society.
All characters, especially writers, were quirky and inetreting. Author did wonderful job with them. Their fanfiction ideas and stories were fun. It was entertaining to see them inquiring about murder. Each had lot of questions and advise for Sargent who was so frustrated within few days of murder. And did I tell you anything about that cat in the cover. All credit for discovering clues and mysterious things goes to him.
The romance in between murder mystery was sweet. Hayley’s conflicting emotions for Van Moffatt and Wyn Rundle added spice to story. Wyn was really exhausting and I wonder why she liked him in first place. Val was brilliant throughout the book. I didn’t appreciate Val’s behavior in first meeting. He looked a bit jealous but as I knew him more, I liked him better.
What I loved most in the book was modern day setting along with Golden age of Mystery. It created wonderful atmosphere. Description of Middlebank house, the First Edition Society, Bath was mesmerizing. It was interesting to know Lady Georgiana Fowling’s life and her passion. And book cannot be complete without Christie and other mystery writers’ characters.
Suspense was good. I couldn’t guess who the murderer was until last few chapters. And the motive was only cleared in last chapter. End was satisfying and lovely. I can’t wait to see what new mysteries awaits for Hayley in next books.
Why 4 stars-
Everything was perfect but that motive for murder ruined the fun.
Overall, it was promising first book in new series. Interesting writing, atmospheric setting, and cozy mystery makes this book perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and this genre.
What do you think about the book and review? Have you read this book already or any book by the same author? Are you going to add it to TBR? Have read Miss Marple series or any book by the Golden Age of Mystery authors? Which is your favorite cozy mystery?
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