Better Off Read (Bookmobile Mystery #1)4 Stars

Published May 8th 2018 by Crooked Lane Books

Cleo is a seventy-five year old librarian in the small Southern town of Catalpa Srings, Georgia. After the library suffers some major storm damage, the mayor refuses to pay for repairs. He wants the library closed and all money used to build a huge fishing pier to make the town the Fishing Capital of the Universe. Cleo doesn’t take it sitting down and brings out the bookmobile, and looks for support to keep the library open. One of her patrons, a rather eccentric gentleman, hints that he has a way to get her the money she needs. When he ends up dead, his nearest neighbour also Cleo’s friend is the major suspect in his death. They have had several altercations and she was recently heard to say that she could kill him. Cleo keeps busy with her librarian duties, as well as trying to rally support for the library. With her mobility driving around the bookmobile, she also begins to do a little sleuthing of her own.

This is the first book in the Bookmobile mystery series, and a great introduction to the town and characters it was. I loved all the eccentric characters, especially some from the retirement community. I particularly enjoyed the smart, capable, spry, more mature protagonist. She has a gentleman friend, but accent on friend. I assume they will eventually become more than that, but I look forward to seeing their relationship develop at a realistic pace. There are three wonderful pets in the story that add to the humour, small town feel as well as being somewhat instrumental in capturing the culprit. The pace was quite quick and I read this one in less than a day. There were several red herrings and a few twists that kept me guessing. Once again, I failed at my detecting and did not figure out who the murderer was until just before the final showdown. I am looking forward to the next book in this series to see what is next for Cleo and her bookmobile. If you enjoy cozy mysteries with older characters as well as eccentric ones, they you will love The Bookmobile Mysteries. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon my request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.

About the Book: When her best hope of saving her storm-damaged library is found murdered, senior librarian Cleo Watkins hits the road in her bookmobile in search of justice.

Septuagenarian librarian Cleo Watkins won’t be shushed when an upstart young mayor threatens to permanently shelve her tiny town’s storm-damaged library. She takes to her bookmobile, Words on Wheels, to collect allies and rally library support throughout Catalpa Springs, Georgia.

However, Cleo soon rolls into trouble. A major benefactor known for his eccentric DIY projects requests all available books on getting away with murder. He’s no Georgia peach, and Cleo wonders if she should worry about his plans. She knows she should when she discovers him bludgeoned and evidence points to her best friend, Mary-Rose Garland.

Sure of Mary-Rose’s innocence, Cleo applies her librarian’s sleuthing skills to the case, assisted by friends, family, and the dapper antiquarian bookseller everyone keeps calling her boyfriend. Evidence stacks up, but a killer is overdue to strike again. With lives and her library on the line, Cleo must shift into high gear to close the book on murder in Better Off Read, the charming Bookmobile series debut by Nora Page.

About the Author: Nora Page, aka Ann Myers, aka Ann Perramond lives in Colorado with her husband and extra-large housecat, but like her main character, Rita, they all feel most at home in Santa Fe. She has written the Sante Fe Cafe Mysteries under Ann Myers, and now The Bookmobile Mysteries as Nora Page.