Hello all and happy Friday! I am so excited to review Eva Gates’ new book A Death Long Overdue from her Lighthouse Library series, because this cozy has it all: A lighthouse. In a library. On a beach, with a plucky librarian for a heroine. How do we beat that?! I have been a pretty devoted reader of this series since its inception, so I was honored to get a chance to review this ARC from Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books, particularly since I recently got to read and review another ARC by this author under the name of Vicki Delany.
From the Publisher:
When her former director is found dead in the water, librarian Lucy Richardson will have to get to the bottom of the mystery before the killer ends her tale.
It’s summertime in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and Bertie James’s college class is having their 40th anniversary reunion. The opening night reception is held at the Lighthouse Library and Lucy and her colleagues have assembled an exhibit of library artifacts showing how libraries have changed over the years. After the reception, some of the women take a walk down the boardwalk to the pier, using flashlights to illuminate the dark path, but what’s scarier than the dark is finding the former director of the Lighthouse Library floating lifeless in the water.
Helena Sanchez, the former director, wasn’t much loved and spent the party being rude to almost everyone there. As a result, Lucy finds herself in deep water as she rocks the boat, questioning several suspects. But she’ll have to batten down the hatches and fast before she’s left high and dry…and right in the killer’s crosshairs.
What I Loved:
- The Mystery. Sometimes, cozy mysteries are hit or miss – they are often either too easy to solve, too hard to solve and unrealistic when the heroine solves them, or kind of pointless to the overall plot. Here, Helena’s murder in the marshland was intriguing and the clues were laid out for the reader to follow and come up with your own conclusions in the end. The police were not bumbling or incompetent, just stumped, and Lucy and the gang were much more logical in solving it than normal.
- Lucy and Connor. I have always loved Lucy and Connor’s relationship (old summer crushes to actual lovers), and seeing their relationship progress has been delightful. It was fun seeing the normally reserved Connor getting flustered, and Lucy is so much more comfortable with what they have.
- The Setting. I am not familiar with the Outer Banks, but any beach setting is the place for me. Gates does a really good job of showing the reader the beaches, marshes, the Bodie Lighthouse, and the adorable town, so you can almost smell the marsh and feel the sea breeze while watching the light cut across the dark landscape.
What Doesn’t Work as Well:
- Louise Jane McKaughan. For anyone unfamiliar with this series (I don’t recommend jumping into this book unless you are), Louis Jane is a woman from a long line of Outer Banks natives who wanted Lucy’s librarian job at the Bodie Head Lighthouse (despite not being a librarian), and who thinks her and her family are the definitive authority of all supernatural history and goings-on in the area. She is condescending and annoying, and regularly walks all over Lucy to get what she wants. In Death Long Overdue, Louise Jane is particularly insufferable, conducting late-night spirit calls in the marshes and interrupting Connor and Lucy’s plans. I wish Gates would send her away on a long vacation somewhere.
Honestly, that’s all the negative I have. I don’t normally love first person books, but have stuck with this series for this long (that should say something). There are some genre-specific problems that some readers may have an issue with (Why do the police never solve the murders themselves? Why is this sleepy little down a hotbed for murder?) but at the end of the day, if you like cozy mysteries, you will definitely love this series.
If you love a good cozy mystery, anything by Eva Gates or Vicki Delany will be a solid bet for you. However, the Lighthouse Library series is even more on point, with its beautiful setting that is a book lover’s dream, a heroine who actually has a head on her shoulders, and a helpful and mischievous cat. Five waves out of five! While I wish this was coming out sooner (October 6th, 2020… no!) but go pre-order your copy here (on sale at Book Shop!) and here, and have it in time for a fall beach trip.