Genre: Cozy Mystery, Amateur Sleuth
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: To be released, March 13, 2019
Print Length: 320 pages
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Dark deeds in the Lighthouse Library threaten to send Lucy Richardson’s soon-to-be-wed cousin Josie to an early ‘til-death-do-us-part.
Winter falls on North Carolina’s Outer Banks as Lucy Richardson and her friends joyfully help her favorite cousin, Josie O’Malley, plan her wedding. The owner and head baker of Josie’s Cozy Bakery and her fiancé, chef Jake Greenblatt, want a small, simple wedding.
But to their horror, Josie’s imperious grandmother, Gloria, descends with the “Louisiana Mafia”: a gaggle of aunts and cousins who intend to take control of the wedding plans. Gloria doesn’t do small and simple, and cousin Mirabelle has her own ideas for Josie’s wedding, something grand and lavish—and paid for by Josie’s parents, of course—that will kickstart her fledgling event planning business and get her work shown on the covers of wedding magazines. To make matters worse, Mirabelle focuses her full Southern charm on the prospective groom…and Jake doesn’t seem entirely adverse to her attentions.
To smooth the waters, Lucy hosts a bridal shower at the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library. But it turns deadly when Mirabelle collapses—soon after eating the gluten-free treats Josie prepared specifically for her. Now, to save her favorite cousin from prison, Lucy will have to bring a crook to book in this fifth festive Lighthouse Library mystery from national bestselling author Eva Gates.
The setting of a lighthouse turned library on the Outer Banks of North Carolina sounds delightful, although I have difficulty picturing one large enough to house a library with multiple personnel. Protagonist, Lucy Richardson, is helping her cousin Josie O’Malley, plan her wedding to chef Jake Greenblatt. They want a simple, inexpensive wedding, but have been overrun with Josie’s grandmother, matriarch of the family and “Louisiana Mafia.” Gloria is ready to turn the wedding into the winter event of the year and has brought cousins Mirabelle and Florence. Florence has reluctantly allowed Mirabelle to join her floundering company to help create an event planning company with Mirabelle’s focus on lavish weddings. They are all driving Josie crazy.
Josie is deeply involved in Josie’s Cozy Bakery and prefers to keep the plans she and fiancé have laid out. In an effort to side-track Mirabelle, Josie suggests an alternative wedding site and plans a small and informal bridal shower at the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library. In the meantime, an ominous crack has been discovered in the wall of the lighthouse running down into the foundation and indications are that it will be a major repair. Plans must be made for the remediation cost, which will be huge.
This is the fifth of the series and most of the characters are developed sufficiently to read this entry as a standalone. Josie is a dedicated bake shop owner, her fiancé a good match with his seafood bar in Nags Head. Lucy, recently back to the location where she spent many happy summers with her aunt and uncle, Josie’s parents, is engrained in her Lighthouse Aerie apartment and comfortable with hooking back up with Connor McNeil, mayor of Nags Head. The library comes complete with Charles, the crusty and feisty library cat. The location itself conjures beautiful seaside pictures in the mind, complete with chilly and salty breezes, as well as seafood restaurant dishes.
It is a cozy mystery and as such seems to start on the slow track, heavily involved in wedding plans, discussions, and bickering. It is well into the narrative during the bridal shower that Mirabelle becomes a victim of Josie’s gluten-free dessert offering. There are multiple red herrings and twists, Lucy following one clue then another. Dialogue is natural, but in slow cozy style, and several key points repeated. While the well-plotted story moves, this one moved too slowly for my taste, and I’d guessed the antagonist well before disclosed in conclusion. Closing any loose threads, such as funds for the library repairs, wedding, and reopening of the bakery completed the novel.
I was allowed this ebook download by the publisher and NetGalley and appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Recommended for fans of the series and cozy mysteries.
Rosepoint Publishing: Three point Five of Five Stars
The Author: Eva Gates is the pen name of Canadian author Vicki Delany. As Eva she writes the national bestselling Lighthouse Library cozy series for Crooked Lane Books, the latest of which is THE SPOOK IN THE STACKS.
©2019 V Williams