Reading Up A Storm

Reading Up A StormReading Up A Storm by Eva Gates
Series: A Lighthouse Library Mystery
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Published by NAL on April 5, 2016
Pages: 336

 

About Reading Up A Storm (from the back cover):
After a successful party at Bodie Island’s Lighthouse Library, librarian Lucy Richardson is ready to curl up with her cat, Charles, and a good book. But her R and R is cut short when she notices some mysterious lights leading a small boat to crash into the coast.

The two shipwrecked seafarers survive the ordeal—but one of them shows up dead ashore a few days later. Lucy finds herself again roped into a murder investigation and navigating a sea of suspects, all of whom had motives to deep-six the deceased. And this time, she has a sinking feeling that finding the real killer won’t be so easy…

In this third entry in Eva Gates’ Lighthouse Library mystery series, the main character, Lucy Richardson, investigates the murder of a wealthy man who has recently returned to North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Although I have not read the first two books in the series, By Book or By Crook and Booked for Trouble, I didn’t have too much trouble keeping up with the cast of characters, many of whom I’m guessing are introduced in the first two books. That being said, Reading Up A Storm opens with a party scene so there’s a large group of characters to keep track of. If you’ve read either of the first two books, then I would imagine this first chapter would flow more smoothly since you wouldn’t be concerned about remembering who is who.

The story is bogged down by quite a bit of set-up, exposition, and unnecessary dialogue.

After the first chapter even more characters are introduced, but Gates does a pretty good job of giving enough detail to keep them straight.

The murder isn’t discovered under Chapter Five, which comes more than twenty percent through the book. I was surprised that it didn’t occur earlier and I grew a little impatient in the early chapters as I waited for it.

The author does a fantastic job of describing the setting.

The story is bogged down by quite a bit of set-up, exposition, and unnecessary dialogue. For example, I found the subplot about the politics of the mayoral campaign a tiny bit boring. I understand the need to plant some clues and red herrings throughout the story, but I prefer this to be done in a way that doesn’t slow the pace so much.

There are a few instances where the dialogue seems unrealistic. At times I found myself cringing and wondering who really speaks that way.

Even with these detractions, the story is enjoyable overall. As is typical with a cozy, the atmosphere is warm and this is an easy read. A native North Carolinian, I’ve visited the area of the Outer Banks where Reading Up a Storm takes place, and the author does a fantastic job of describing the setting. And it’s such a fun idea to imagine a library in the Bodie Island lighthouse—a very creative backdrop for this series.

The conclusion of the mystery, while far from a surprise, is nicely executed with Lucy in just enough danger to fuel the suspense.

The main character, Lucy, is a likable librarian and amateur sleuth with a cat, Charles, who plays a fun (and cute) supporting role. Lucy’s various handsome suitors add an extra layer of interest and her co-workers at the library and other friends in town round out the diverse and interesting cast of characters. I particularly enjoyed following Lucy’s friend, Stephanie, who is going through a lot in her life.

The conclusion of the mystery, while far from a surprise, is nicely executed with Lucy in just enough danger to fuel the suspense.

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