Genre: Cozy Mystery
Rating: **** (4 of 5 stars)
I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of book #2 in this series (Booked for Trouble) to review a while ago. I enjoyed the book, so I decided to go back to the beginning while the series is still young!
In By Book or By Crook, we meet Lucy Richardson, a librarian who has moved from Boston to the Outer Banks area to escape both her mother and a relationship that she doesn’t see a future in. She has family, an aunt, uncle, and cousins, in the area, and her aunt introduces her to the head librarian at the Bodie Island public library. Soon Lucy has a new job and a new home – an apartment on the top floor of the lighthouse in which the library resides.
At a reception to celebrate the arrival of a collection of first edition Jane Austen novels for display at the library, a member of the board is found dead in the rare books room. Soon afterwards, the first editions begin disappearing one-by-one from their display case. With Bertie, the head librarian, suspected of the crimes, Lucy and the rest of the library staff do some investigating on their own to clear Bertie’s name and protect the remainder of the Jane Austen novels.
I enjoyed this book, but I had to keep reminding myself that this story took place before Booked for Trouble. There is a bit of a love triangle (one of my least favorite tropes, but not too bad yet) going on in book number two that is just developing in this first book. It was fun to go back and see how Lucy met all of the recurring characters from the second story, and to see that her sense of justice has been there right from the beginning. I will definitely be reading Lucy’s future adventures.
While the narrator does a good job with her not-too-Southern accent throughout, I wasn’t thrilled with her pacing while reading. If you’re thinking of giving this series a try, print would be the way to go.