Halloween in North Carolina’s Outer Banks becomes seriously tricky when librarian Lucy Richardson stumbles across something extra unusual in the rare books section: a dead body.
Wealthy businessman Jay Ruddle is considering donating his extensive collection of North Carolina historical documents to the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library, but the competition for the collection is fierce. Unfortunately, while the library is hosting a lecture on ghostly legends, Jay becomes one of the dearly departed in the rare books section. Now, it’s up to Lucy Richardson and her fellow librarians to bone up on their detective skills and discover who is responsible for this wicked Halloween homicide.
Meanwhile, very strange things are happening at the library―haunted horses are materializing in the marsh, the lights seem to have an eerie life of their own, and the tiny crew of a model ship appears to move around when no one is watching. Is Lucy at her wit’s end? Or can it be that the Bodie Island Lighthouse really is haunted?
With The Legend of Sleepy Hollow on everyone’s minds and ghoulish gossip on everyone’s lips, Lucy will need to separate the clues from the boos if she wants to crack this case without losing her head in The Spook in the Stacks, the delightful fourth in national bestseller Eva Gates’ Lighthouse Library mysteries.
I was so excited to see the Lighthouse Library series coming back under a new publisher. This was one of my favorite recent series, so I jumped at the chance to read another installment. I was not disappointed! From the moment Lucy discovered a body in the library right up to the end I was engrossed. I love Lucy – she takes risks but has common sense in the way she goes about things. I love Charles (the library cat), the lighthouse setting, and the slightly spooky paranormal theme. I hope this series continues for a long time to come.
I’m also lucky enough to have a guest post from author Eva Gates today! Please read on, then enter the giveaway for your chance to win a copy of The Spook in the Stacks.
Eating Shrimp and Grits on the Outer Banks
For Great Escapes
By Eva Gates
I practically know Jake’s menu by heart. I didn’t have to think hard about what to order. “Shrimp and grits please.”
“You’re becoming a true Southern woman,” Connor said.
“If Southern means shrimp and grits, then I’m in. And a couple of hush puppies too, please.”
Reading Up A Storm by Eva Gates
My dedication to accuracy in my novels is impressive, if I do say so myself.
The Lighthouse Library Mystery series is set in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Like my protagonist, Lucy Richardson who hails from Boston, I am not a southerner. But, like Lucy, I am keen to experience all that the Outer Banks has to offer.
Case in point: Shrimp and Grits
In a recent visit to the area, I was there for three nights. I had shrimp and grits three times.
The first night I went to Owen’s in Nags Head, which is something of an institution, having been in the same family for almost seventy years. That’s pretty impressive by North American standards. (In 2014 I went to the worlds’ oldest continuously operating restaurant, Botin’s in Madrid, which has been a restaurant since 1725. But I digress.) Owen’s is a beautiful restaurant, with cosy alcoves and large main rooms, beautiful furniture , and rich dark walls. The tables are set with white tablecloths, shining silver and sparkling stemware. When I travel I like to eat locally, so I ordered the shrimp and grits.
Oh. Oh again. It was marvellous. Rich and spicy and delicious. And, I must say, not cheap.
The next night, I went to Pamlico Jacks. This is a more casual place than Owens, with a lovely outdoor dining area overlooking Roanoke Sound. I ordered shrimp and grits again. They were cheaper than at Owens, and very good, if not exactly marvellous.
Night three, I realized I had to cut back a bit on my dinner expenditure so I went to a very casual place in Nags Head. The shrimp and grits were much cheaper than the other two places, and it showed. In fact, I didn’t even finish them. Once I’d picked off the few shrimp and sausages and the small amount of grits that were coated in the sauce, I realized that unadorned grits aren’t particularly tasty.
So, in shrimp and grits, as in life, quality shows. And sometimes it costs money too.
The location of Pamlico Jacks (if perhaps not the pirate theme) is the inspiration for Jake’s Seafood Bar in the Lighthouse Library books. Like me, Lucy Richardson will be regularly ordering the shrimp and grits. With a side order of hush puppies. Lucy and I have both decided we love North Carolina cooking!
Fortunately, for Lucy and for me, the series has been saved by Crooked Lane Books and further adventures of the lighthouse library gang continue in A Spook in the Stacks.
So we can continue researching good North Carolina cooking.
A kitchen helper placed a heaping platter of hush puppies in the center of the table. “I told Jake you were here, Lucy,” the waiter said, “and he sent these out with his compliments.”
“Mmm, I said. “My favorite. Thanks.”
Julia eyed the lumps of fried dough suspiciously. “What are they?”
“Hush puppies,” I said. “If you move to the Outer Banks, even as a summer resident, you’ll be eating them all the time. I can’t get enough of them. And Jake’s are just about the best around.” I picked up one of the hot, delicious balls of crispy batter with my fingers and dunked it into the small bowl of spicy dipping sauce provided. I bit half of it off and chewed. Pure Southern bliss.
Julia took one and nibbled tentatively. “They are good.”
“Definitely not recommended for anyone on a diet.” I popped the second half into my mouth.
The Spook in the Stacks, by Eva Gates
Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win a print copy of The Spook in the Stacks (US ONLY)
About the Author
Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers and a national bestseller in the U.S. She has written more than twenty-five books: clever cozies to Gothic thrillers to gritty police procedurals, to historical fiction and novellas for adult literacy. She is currently writing three cozy mystery series: the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series for Crooked Lane, the Year Round Christmas mysteries for Penguin Random House and, under the pen name of Eva Gates, the Lighthouse Library series, for Crooked Lane Books.
Vicki lives and writes in bucolic Prince Edward County, Ontario. She is the past president of the Crime Writers of Canada. Her work has been nominated for the Derringer, the Bony Blithe, the Ontario Library Association Golden Oak, and the Arthur Ellis Awards.
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