MURDER AT THE LAKESIDE LIBRARY
SERIES: A Lakeside Library Mystery #1
GENRE: Cozy Mystery
PUBLISHER: Crooked Lane Books
RELEASE DATE: July 13, 2021
In this series debut perfect for fans of Jenn McKinlay and Miranda James, Rain Wilmot must discover the killer, before the book closes on her life.
Rain Wilmot has just returned to her family’s waterfront log cabin in Lofty Pines, Wisconsin after the untimely death of her husband. The cabin is peaceful compared to Rain’s corporate job and comes with an informal library that Rain’s mother, Willow, used to run. But as Rain prepares for the re-opening of the library, all hopes for a peaceful life are shattered when she discovers the body of Thornton Hughes, a real estate buyer, on the premises.
The community of Lofty Pines starts pointing fingers at Willow, since she has been unusually absent from the library this summer. A fishy rumor surfaces when Rain learns that Willow had been spending a lot of time with Thornton. The town even thought they were having an affair.
While theories swirl about Thornton’s death, Rain takes it upon herself to solve the case to exonerate her mother. As more clues surface, Rain will have to piece together the mystery. But if she isn’t careful, she may be the next to end up dead in the water in Murder at the Lakeside Library, the first in Holly Danvers’ new Lakeside Library mysteries.
Murder at the Lakeside Library by Holly Danvers is a fun summer vacation read. The idyllic lake setting in the Northwoods is almost another character in the book, and Danvers warmly brings the sights, sounds, and smells of a Wisconsin lake town to life. When I was growing up in Northern Illinois (almost on the Wisconsin border) we would often visit the Northwoods area & the Wisconsin Dells for our family vacations, and reading Murder at the Lakeside Library brought back so many fond memories for me. Even though I now live in Georgia, I’d love to go back to the Wisconsin Northwoods sometime! Murder notwithstanding haha.
A lot of this book is setting the stage for why Rain has returned to her family lake cabin and how she’s been out of touch with her parents, so that she doesn’t know what to believe when rumors about them start whispering through Lofty Pines. I love how she reconnected to her childhood best friend Julia, who is a hoot by the way, and I had fun watching their friendship pretty much pick up where they left off, with some small gaps of course. It’s good for Rain to have that solid connection when everything else goes a bit topsy-turvy. See, in her mother’s absence, Rain is suddenly in charge of the lending library that’s attached to their cabin and scrambles a bit to deal with all the new information and puzzling questions that arise. Then there’s a murder and all that uncertainty magnifies even more.
The mystery is well done, with a couple of suspects that are very close to Rain’s heart, and a long held family secret that further muddies the waters. She and Julia are more of a Lucy & Ethel crime fighting duo than Nancy Drew & her chums but they are highly entertaining in the process – and maybe a bit savvier than their TV counterparts. I enjoyed the way Danvers added Julia’s brother Jace to the mix – a police officer for Lofty Pines and a potential romantic interest for Rain in future books, I’m guessing. This allowed Rain & Julia some security even when they took dumb risks (as all cozy mystery sleuths are wont to do) but also added extra layers to the mystery because Jace wasn’t handing out unauthorized updates willy-nilly.
Bottom Line: Murder at the Lakeside Library is a cute start to a new cozy series! I loved the Wisconsin Northwoods setting, as it brought back delightful family vacation memories from my childhood, and the author did a great job of making it come alive for readers. While I thought the dialogue between Rain and her childhood summer bestie Julia was sometimes too old for women in their 30s – and there was some repetition of information throughout – overall I enjoyed the writing pace & style. The murder mystery is intriguing & mixed with unanswered questions and a dose of family drama, and readers will embrace their inner Nancy Drew to put all the pieces together. The bonus of a lakeside library attached to the side of Rain’s cabin is icing on the cake for bookworms!
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received via the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4 stars / enjoyed it
Reviewer’s Note: Readers may want to be aware that there is some minor cursing scattered sparingly throughout this novel.
Holly Danvers grew up devouring every mystery novel on the shelf of her local library. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and 3 chickens, where she’s already plotting her next novel.
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What about you? What makes you want to read Murder at the Lakeside Library by Holly Danvers?