Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
The ornate reading room at the Boston Public Library is quiet—until the tranquility is shattered by a woman’s terrified scream. Security guards take charge immediately, instructing everyone inside to stay put until the threat is identified and contained. While they wait for the all-clear, four strangers, who’d happened to sit at the same table, pass the time in conversation, and friendships are struck. Each has his or her own reasons for being in the reading room that morning—it just happens that one is a murderer.
Award-winning author Sulari Gentill delivers a sharply thrilling listen with this unexpectedly twisty literary adventure that examines the complicated nature of friendship and reveals that words can be the most treacherous weapons of all.
This novel was the library book club choice for October-December. I opted for the audiobook version—perhaps that was the problem as this is a well-acclaimed book according to Amazon.
The premise is the closed-room murder that occurs in the reading room of the enormous Boston Public Library where the quiet is disturbed by an obviously terrified scream. Four strangers occupying the same table are instructed to wait until the origin of the scream is identified and the space given the all-clear. Of course, that doesn’t come quickly, given that the scream is the victim’s last sound, and the four manage to bond.
Each of the four is then examined. Ad nauseum. I wanted to get into this book as it was, after all, voted the read for the quarter. If it was a murder mystery it moved too slowly for me. If it was a character study, someone missed the boat on making at least one of them appealing.
The author has a quiet way of subtly introducing characters to whom you need to pay attention. Unfortunately, for me, I found some of the introductions tedious and lost interest. A story within a story, I didn’t care for the way this one was handled though I’ve read and enjoyed others of the same ilk. One, the author writing the mystery story doesn’t wholly jive with what’s concurrently happening and, two, she is corresponding to Leo who responds with critiques leaving me scratching my head as to why it was included.
I sighed with relief when I sensed the coming conclusion and assumed it’d clarify the whole picture, but, alas, it did not and left me wondering what it was I’d missed. I previously read Where There’s a Will by this author in January and noted occasions where the plot slowed, but then something would happen that would spark reinterest. Sadly, not so much here.
I downloaded a copy of this audiobook from my local well-stocked library. These are my honest thoughts.
Genre: Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Women Sleuth Mysteries, Amateur Sleuths
Publisher: Dreamscape Media, LLC
Listening Length: 8 hrs 58 mins
Narrator: Katherine Littrell
Publication Date: June 9, 2022
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Woman in the Library [Amazon]
Barnes & Noble
Rosepoint Publishing: Three Stars
The Author: After setting out to study astrophysics, graduating in law and then abandoning her legal career to write books, Sulari now grows French black truffles on her farm in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains of NSW. Sulari is author of The Rowland Sinclair Mystery series, historical crime fiction novels (eight in total) set in the 1930s. Sulari’s A Decline in Prophets (the second book in the series) was the winner of the Davitt Award for Best Adult Crime Fiction 2012. She was also shortlisted for Best First Book (A Few Right Thinking Men) for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 2011. Paving the New Road was shortlisted for another Davitt in 2013.
[Goodreads] Sulari lives with her husband, Michael, and their boys, Edmund and Atticus, on a small farm in Batlow where she grows French Black Truffles and refers to her writing as “work” so that no one will suggest she get a real job.
©2022 V Williams