3619 Killer Librarian by Kirwan, Mary Lou Kirwin, Mary Lou
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Added: 5 months ago
From: BetterText Book
by Mary Lou Kirwin
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Pocket Books; Original edition (November 27, 2012)
Don't miss the beginning of the Karen Nash series with the charming first book, Killer Librarian, which Booklist praised as "engaging" and Library Journal called "a fun, gentle puzzler."
FILE "M" FOR MURDER...
Champion of the mystery section at a small-town Minnesota library, Karen Nash is about to embark on a dream trip to London - a literary tour inspired by every murderous intrigue, wily suspect, and ingenious crime found in the pages of the British mysteries that she devours. But she's clueless why the love of her mid-life, Dave, would dump her hours before takeoff - until she spies him at the airport with a young honey on his arm! She decides the best revenge (for now) is to get on that plane anyway...and entertain schemes for Dave's untimely demise while crossing the pond.
After touching ground in the hallowed homeland of Christie, Sayers, and Peters, she checks into a cozy B & B run by charming bibliophile Caldwell Perkins. Soon she's spilling tears in her pint at the corner pub, sharing her heartbreak saga with a stranger. That night, a B & B guest drops out of circulation - permanently. And when Dave and his cutie turn up in London, Karen realizes they are an assassin's target. With the meticulous attention to detail that makes her a killer librarian, Karen sleuths her way through her own real-life mystery - in which library science meets the art of murder.
Planned for months, librarian Karen Nash's vacation to London doesn't even start as it should. She is packed and waiting for the taxi when her traveling companion, boyfriend Dave, calls to cancel. She goes anyway, only to find Dave and his new girlfriend on the same plane. Once in London, she checks into the originally booked bed-and-breakfast, where the other guests are in town for the flower show. That night Karen goes to the local pub with the B&B owner and drunkenly tells a stranger, Guy, about being dumped by Dave and how she could just kill him. Later that night, unable to sleep, she goes to the sitting room only to find another guest dead. It's ruled an accidental death, but enmities and past connections among the other guests cause some doubts in Karen's mind. Meanwhile, a cryptic message from Guy makes her wonder if he took her words too literally. This engaging cozy has it all-English bookshops, flower shows, dotty sisters, plenty of surprises-along with an engaging premise for a continuing series.
Near the start of Kirwin's captivating debut, smalltown Minnesota librarian Karen Nash is looking forward to her first holiday in England. When Karen's plumber boyfriend, Dave, dumps her and cancels the trip just hours before departure, the undaunted Karen manages to secure a plane ticket on her own dime. Soon after, she spots none other than the newly dubbed “Mr. Toad” and a skinny blonde boarding the same plane. Dave and his new honey are too absorbed in each other to notice Karen on the transatlantic flight. Once in London, while on a pub night out with the owner of the B&B where she's staying, a heartbroken Karen confides in a mysterious man that she fantasizes about murdering her scoundrel of an ex-boyfriend. A whopping headache later, Karen discovers a fellow B&B guest dead. Signs suggest that Dave and his honey could be next. Literary allusions, from Winnie the Pooh to Ian McEwan, distinguish this from the common run of cozies.
You know how it feels when you open the pages of a new book, the sense that all is possible, that this might be the book that will sweep you up so completely that you will lose yourself in its story, not stopping to eat or sleep or answer the phone, and when it ends, you will be close to weeping, knowing this experience might never happen again?
Well, that's how I felt the morning of my first-ever trip, with my boyfriend Dave, to England, a place I had come to know intimately thus far only through books, starting with the Hundred Acre Wood of Winnie-the-Pooh continuing to present-day London streets of Ian McEwan's Atonement.
A place of infinite promise and romance was how I viewed England. The thought that I would be there within the day made me feel as if bubbles were popping on the surface of my skin. Back to the homeland, for I'm of English descent: Nash, Karen Nash.
My trip, indeed, was to prove unforgettable.
Standing behind the counter at the Sunshine Valley Library, my assistant librarian, Rosie, was staring off into space and putting a couple more bobby pins in her short, spiky auburn hair, just for decoration. When she saw me, she wrinkled her nose and asked in her squeaky voice, "What are you still doing here?"
I shrugged, hoping that I didn't need to explain.
When she continued to stare at me with her big blue eyes, I said, "Just checking on things one last time. In case you needed anything from me ... "
"I want you to get on that darn plane." She squinched her mouth to one side, "But as long as you're here, there is one thing I want to ask you."
Rosie was a good twenty years younger than me, but rather than the daughter I had never had, she was my best friend. She was slightly taller than me and weighed thirty pounds more than my 122 pounds - a little rounder than she wanted to be. I thought her absolutely gorgeous - lovely skin and fantastic dimples.
She had three tattoos, all birds and quite small, one pierced eyebrow, and a belly-button piercing, which I had never seen, thank the Lord. I finally got my ears pierced at her urging when I turned forty-five, but I wasn't quite ready for a tattoo.
While we both were library professionals, Rosie had made the transition to the twenty-first century as a media specialist; she was an absolute whiz on the computer. The title of plain old "librarian" still suited me.
Rosie was way into speculative fiction - often asking me her favorite question, what if? - and I was the champion of the mystery section. I loved the psychology of people pushed to the ultimate act of desperation and passion. I adored the classic hardboiled guys - Raymond Chandler, Ross MacDonald, and Dashiell Hammett - but some of my favorite writers were the latest crop of British women - Frances Fyfield, Minette Walters, and our own Elizabeth George. The mysteries that asked the question "why?" were the ones I had always cherished.
Having read literally thousands of them, I was sure I knew every which way of killing someone. I never thought a time would come when I would make use of it.
"Did I tell you that he came in again yesterday, the cute sci-fi guy?" Rosie whispered, her eyes wide with glee. Rosie had developed a severe crush on a library patron. It happens. We librarians are only human. The young man she had her eye on came in about once a week. Rosie liked the kind of books he checked out: lots of sci-fi with a little gardening thrown in. She liked his glasses, thick black frames. And she liked his name: Richard Wrangler. The fact that he was a frequent library patron answered the first question we wondered about on seeing a cute man - does he read?
"You might have mentioned it two or three times," I said.
"How did you get Dave to ask you out?"
I thought back to when I had met Dave, who is a plumber, arriving at my doorstep with his box of tools. "I didn't really have to work very hard. It seemed as if it was meant to be."
"You make it sound easy. And now look, you're going to England together. What should I do to get this guy to notice me?"
"You could stop up your toilet."
When she gave me her slivered-eye look, I suggested, more reasonably, "You could comment on something he's taking out."
"What if I haven't read it?"
"Wouldn't be good to be caught in a lie so early on in your relationship. Maybe say something like you've heard it's a good book."
"I could do that." She fingered her eyebrow piercing. "Don't you think he's cute?"
I had only seen Richard once. He looked like I had always pictured Ichabod Crane, tall and thin to the point of it being slightly painful. "He's got a certain charm."
Rosie reached out and put her hand on my shoulder. "I can't believe you're leaving. I'm going to miss you. E-mail, snail mail, postcards are even good."
I nodded, getting a little misty. I couldn't believe I was going on this trip either, but I knew adventure was waiting for me over the ocean.