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  • Writer's pictureCaitlyn Lynch

Book Review: Murder at the Lakeside Library by Holly Danvers

A cozy mystery set on the quiet shores of Pine Lake, WI, where Rain Wilmot plans to spend the summer in her family’s heritage cabin, licking her emotional wounds after her husband’s untimely death. No sooner has she arrived, though, than she realizes her mother has basically dropped her in it, leaving Rain with the responsibility of the library attached to the cabin, which the entire community relies on when all the summer residents arrive. Rain’s just getting to grips with that - and reconnecting with old friend and neighbour Julia - when the body turns up, a man Rain’s never seen before in her life, dead behind her outhouse with one of Rain’s grandfather’s books on him.

The mystery part of this is really cool and intriguing. I was fascinated with the story of Rain’s grandfather writing a semi-autobiographical story about his lost love, and the far-reaching effects of it in as small a community as the ‘Lakers’. As this is the first of a series, I suspect Julia’s brother, police officer Jace, is eventually supposed to be a love interest for Rain, but at the present time she’s emotionally in no fit state for it anyway.

I did have some issues, however, with Rain herself, particularly her friendship with Julia. For two women in their thirties, they acted like a pair of teenage ditzes with absolutely no regard for their own safety. Who goes out on a lake at any time without even one mobile phone between them to call for help if they need it, never mind when they are literally going to spy on a suspect? There was also no real explanation of what Rain’s future plans were… had she left her job, taken a sabbatical or compassionate leave, or what? It’s never explained. She’d sold her condo in Milwaukee but didn’t seem to have any future job lined up or anywhere to live beyond the summer cabin, and for an accountant seemed to be extremely impractical.

I read an ARC of this which had a LOT of typographical and grammatical errors. If you have a lake called ‘Pine Lake’ then it should always be ‘Pine Lake’ and not sometimes ‘Pine lake’, for example… I’ll give the publisher the benefit of the doubt and assume these will be corrected before publication, but it was noticeably badly proofed, even for an ARC. The book should be in a lot better shape than that before it goes out to reviewers. I couldn’t judge if the writing was really any good because the grammar and typos was such a mess.

Overall, I’ll give this three stars.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.

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