Victoria Gilbert is back with the second in her Blue Ridge Library Mystery series, as fall has arrived which means the Heritage Festival and yes, another murder. Narrated by Colleen Marlo, please read on for my review of
Shelved Under Murder
Be aware that in this, the second installment of the series that there are zany characters and plenty of ‘atmosphere’ that expands past the library proper, and perhaps more importantly, this book is full of information (and spoilers) from the first. So, if you haven’t read the first you don’t HAVE to read this one – but there won’t be any mystery left when you do. That being said, as a sophomore offering in the series, it was a solid effort, wth some truly unexplained and unusual pacing issues that kept the listen more than a bit uneven. In this book, fall has arrived and that means the Harvest Festival – and all of the associated tourism, events and mayhem that one would expect from a small town. Amy and her assistant are busy gathering items for the sale and doing all of those last-minute tasks that have fallen aside – and things are a bit frantic. Only made worse when a local artist is found by Amy, dead in her studio with the apparent weapon being a palette knife. Adding to her discovery is the multiple canvases that contain forgeries of other more well-known paintings – purportedly done by the dead artist.
Of course, Taylorsford is not exactly the hub of an international art forgery ring, or is it? A man seen running from the studio before the dead artist was discovered, just how or why the paintings were created and that ever-present question of why this woman, one who kept to herself and worked on her art was murdered? Oh there were so many divergent and diverse threads here – and with Amy’s special knowledge of art history, she’s perfectly placed to help the police answer questions. It’s increasingly important to get to the murderer: people are in danger, including Amy, and the stakes seem to be increasing with each day the crime goes unsolved. With a lack of consistent pacing as mentioned before, and a curiously timed side trip for Amy that pulled everything away from Taylorsford without actual reason, there was a need for some editorial changes and suggestions to both even out the pacing and better incorporate the multiple introductions of characters and their stories (or additional backstories) that did have an unintended result: pulling me from the twists, turns and investigation. Less successful than the first book, but still amusing and clever overall, I’m curious to see where the next story will go, and just how the author’s skills will develop.
Narration for this story was provided by Colleen Marlo, a new-to-me narrator- and her work was solid. Characters were distinct and clearly presented, her enthusiasm for the story was clear to hear, and she didn’t over-work emotion or tension to artificially inflate emotion. While I can’t say that her skill in presenting the characters managed to overcome the erratic pacing, she did keep the story moving forward and on track, allowing for each moment to stand on its own, important as an integral part of the story.
Stars: Overall:3 Narration: 3 Story 3
Title: Shelved Under Murder
Author: Victoria Gilbert
Series: Blue Ridge Library Mysteries #2
Also in this series: A Murder for the Books, Past Due for Murder
Genre: Contemporary Cozy Mystery
Narrator: Coleen Marlo
Published by: Crooked Lane Books, Tantor Audio
Published on: 10 July, 2018
Source: Tantor Audio
Audio Length: 8 Hours: 15 minutes
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Autumn leaves aren’t the only things falling in the historic Virginia village of Taylorsford—so are some cherished memories, and a few bodies.
October in Taylorsford, Virginia means it’s leaf peeping season, with bright colorful foliage and a delightful fresh crew of tourists attending the annual Heritage Festival which celebrates local history and arts and crafts. Library director Amy Webber, though, is slightly dreading having to spend two days running a yard sale fundraiser for her library. But during these preparations, when she and her assistant Sunny stumble across a dead body, Amy finds a real reason to be worried.
The body belonged to a renowned artist who was murdered with her own palette knife. A search of the artist’s studio uncovers a cache of forged paintings, and when the sheriff’s chief deputy Brad Tucker realizes Amy is skilled in art history research, she’s recruited to aid the investigation. It doesn’t seem to be an easy task, but when the state’s art expert uncovers a possible connection between Amy’s deceased uncle and the murder case, Amy must champion her Aunt Lydia to clear her late husband’s name.
That’s when another killing shakes the quiet town, and danger sweeps in like an autumn wind. Now, with her swoon-inducing neighbor Richard Muir, Amy must scour their resources to once again close the books on murder
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.