Ellery Adams appears on the blog today with the fourth installment of the Book Retreat Mysteries, this one narrated by Johanna Parker, both series and narrators are firsts for me in this review of
Murder in a Locked Library
Storyton Hall is a retreat space / great house in Virginia for those who love books, and Jane Steward is both the owner and guardian of the space and its secrets. Her twin sons, Fitzgerald and Hemingway are back in school, and it’s time to make a few changes to up the ‘pamper’ quotient of the resort, adding a spa building to compliment the Agatha Christie Tea Room, where much of the discussions about authors, tropes and twists take place.
But, when the excavation uncovers a skeleton and the remains of a very old book – a mystery is unearthed and Jane needs to discover the answers, if only to satisfy her own curiosity. Fortunately there are a group of rare book experts staying, and Jane decides to ask their help to sort the mystery. Yet when a guest is found dead in the locked library after divulging some facts about the buried title , suspects seem to be occupying the space around her as twists, turns and questions seem to come from all directions. Could the old bones and book be somehow related to the current murder? It’s only after we have input from several of the guests and Jane is able to sort fact from fiction as she follows clues that will help to answer all questions and point to the culprit. Secondary characters are quirky and cleverly introduced, literary references are solidly placed with a nice mix of classic and current, and Jane’s presence and obvious love of literature, reading and book people shines through solidly. While not having read the earlier titles in this series, this wasn’t difficult to understand or follow along- although I do want to learn more about the history of the Hall and the decisions to get to a retreat space.
Narration for this story is provided by Johanna Parker, and it was a solid first exposure to her character presentation and skills. Her presentation of Jane and her young sons felt natural and adjusted for “adult v child’ conversations, the natural frustrations that all parents experience and the reverential descriptions of the books, library and space. Perhaps straining the believable a touch with male voices, there were distinctions, defined and appropriate intonations and approach to age, delivery and pace for each character.
Stars: Overall 4 Narration 3 Story 5
Title: Murder in the Locked Library
Author: Ellery Adams
Series: Book Retreat Mysteries #4
Genre: Contemporary Cozy Mystery
Narrator: Johanna Parker
Published by: Kensington, Tantor Audio
Published on: 24 April, 2018
Source: Tantor Audio
Audio Length: 9 Hours: 24 minutes
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Welcome to Storyton Hall, Virginia, where book lovers travel from near and far to enjoy the singular comforts of the Agatha Christie Tea Room, where they can discuss the merits of their favorite authors no matter how deadly the topic . . .
With her twins, Fitzgerald and Hemingway, back in school, Jane Steward can finally focus on her work again—managing Storyton Hall, and breaking ground on the resort’s latest attraction: a luxurious, relaxing spa named in honor of Walt Whitman. But when the earth is dug up to start laying the spa’s foundation, something else comes to the surface—a collection of unusual bones and the ragged remnants of a very old book. The attendees of the Rare Book Conference are eager to assist Jane with this unexpected historical mystery—until a visitor meets an untimely end in the Henry James Library. As the questions—and suspects—start stacking up, Jane will have to uncover a killer before more unhappy endings ensue . . .
A copy of this title was provided via Tantor Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.