Book Review: Murder at the Library by Ellen Jacobson

Posted September 14, 2023 by meezcarrie in Book Review, clean, contemporary, cozy mystery, Ellen Jacobson, mystery/suspense / 7 Comments

Murder at the Library book review

Murder at the Library by Ellen JacobsonMURDER AT THE LIBRARY by Ellen Jacobson
North Dakota Library Mystery #1
GENRE: Cozy Mystery (Clean)

PUBLISHER: Ellen Jacobson
RELEASE DATE: August 15, 2023
PAGES: 247

Libraries are full of books . . . and deadly secrets.

When Thea Olson agreed to volunteer at her local library, she anticipated shelving books, not stumbling across a dead body.

Concerned her brother, the acting chief of police, is in over his head, Thea is determined to find out whodunit. She investigates the murder with the assistance of her grandmother and the handsome new library director.

Just when the trio of amateur sleuths hit a dead-end, a snarky chameleon appears in the library with cryptic clues for Thea. At first, she thinks she’s hallucinating. But once Thea accepts the fact that the obnoxious reptile is real, she realizes he might just help her crack the case.

Can Thea discover who the murderer is before someone else is taken out of circulation?

This is the first in a new library series set in the fictional town of Why, North Dakota. If you like quirky characters, chameleons, way too much coffee, and all things bookish, you’ll love Murder at the Library.


Other Books In This Series

Planning for Murder by Ellen Jacobson  Poisoned by the Book by Ellen Jacobson

When I was putting together books for the Road Trip Reads Giveaway I did this summer, I reached out to Ellen Jacobson to see if she’d like her new book Murder at the Library to represent North Dakota. I’m so glad she said yes because a) while I had a backup for most other states (in case the author I first reached out to said no) I had no such backup for North Dakota lol and b) I got to discover a new-to-me author. And even though I didn’t have time to read it during the Road Trip Reads giveaway, I put it on my schedule for the first available slot and y’all….

…I fell in love with Murder at the Library from the very first paragraph! The characters, the dialogue, the humor, the dash of magical realism, the setting, the writing voice. All of it was absolutely delightful and just so well executed.

Thea Olson is the first non-librarian in a long line of female librarians in her family, and while she had very personal reasons to avoid getting a degree in library science she still volunteers her time for Why’s library. Yes, that’s the town’s name and I love it – how quirky and perfect for a series set around a library. Her grandmother (who I adored) has recently retired as the library director and as our story begins Thea is running late to pick up the new director from the airport. With the introduction of Hudson, we now have what will soon become a team of ‘Three Investigators’. Thea and Hudson became fast friends – and there’s of course always the possibility that they will grow into more as the series progresses – and Thea’s grandmother Rose is the perfect character to balance out their differences and strengths. Thea’s brother (the acting chief of police) is also a great character – as a fellow big sister to one brother, I loved their closeness – and their grandfather is a hoot! The snappy dialogue in this book is so fun and keeps the story moving at a good pace while also keeping a smile on my face throughout. The touch of magical realism that the author incorporates made me smile all the more – and chuckle too – because who wouldn’t love a snarky chameleon?!? The town buffalo also had me laughing out loud… a sentence I never thought I would use LOL.

The mystery in Murder at the Library contains its share of twists, turns, and unexpected revelations, along with a plethora of plausible suspects. Even as I started to piece some things together, I couldn’t quite figure it all out without Thea’s help. It’s like the author dangled the answer just in front of me and kept masterfully redirecting me elsewhere so that I stayed just a half step behind. Toward the end, I thought I had solved it but turns out I was still pointing my finger at the wrong suspect. So close! But so wrong! lol

Bottom Line: Murder at the Library by Ellen Jacobson is a marvelous introduction to this author’s books, and after meeting Hudson (who has connections to her Mollie McGhie series) I’m definitely going to play catch up with her backlist. The layered and genuine characters, as well as the witty banter and natural dialogue, quickly get readers invested in this story and the well-plotted mystery keeps them turning the pages. Everything is pitch-perfect and highly entertaining, and I can’t wait for book 2!

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 5 stars / fabulous!

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Ellen Jacobson

Ellen Jacobson is a chocolate obsessed cat lover who writes cozy mysteries and romantic comedies. After working in Scotland and New Zealand for several years, she returned to the States, lived aboard a sailboat, traveled around in a tiny camper, and is now settled in a small town in northern Oregon with her husband and an imaginary cat named Simon. Connect with Ellen at her website.

Ellen Jacobson interview

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