Librarian Carrie Singleton is building a haven, but one of her neighbors is misbehavin’. Can resident spirit Evelyn help Carrie catch the culprit who made her a ghost?
In winter, the Haunted Library is a refuge for homeless townspeople. When a group purchases a vacant house to establish a daytime haven for the homeless, Carrie offers the library as a meeting place for the Haven House committee, but quickly learns that it may be used for illegal activities.
As the new Sunshine Delegate, Carrie heads to the hospital to visit her cantankerous colleague, Dorothy, who had fallen outside the local supermarket. She tells Carrie that her husband tried to kill her–and that he murdered her Aunt Evelyn, the library’s resident ghost, six years earlier.
And then Dorothy is murdered–run off the road as soon as she returns to work. Evelyn implores Carrie to find her niece’s killer, but that’s no easy task: Dorothy had made a hobby of blackmailing her neighbors and colleagues. Carrie, Evelyn, and Smoky Joe the cat are on the case, but are the library cards stacked against them?
In this third book in The Haunted Library Mystery series, the library ghost Evelyn, needs Carrie’s help. Her niece, library curmudgeon Dorothy, is killed after one attempt fails. As Carrie noses around and Evelyn gives her some hints, she finds out that Dorothy was blackmailing several people. There were no shortage of suspects for her murder. While all this is going on, the library is dealing with concerns from patrons over the number of homeless people that are spending the day in the library. Carrie works with a group of local residents to open Haven House, a place where the homeless population can stay in the daytime, complete with drug counsellors and social workers. That is until she finds out that a small group of the volunteers has other uses in mind for the house in the evenings. Are these events tied together? Is Carrie in danger?
I enjoy the small town atmosphere, the library and the staff and Carrie’s family and friends. Part of this story, like the others in the series, is about Carrie’s life and that of those close to her. Dylan and Carrie are moving forward in their relationship, with him moving back home to open a local office. I can’t review this book without mentioning Smokey Joe, the library cat. Smokey actually belongs to Carrie, but spends his days in the library, loved by all the patrons. Smokey Joe plays a huge part in this story, but I won’t spoil it for you. The rest of the story is well plotted with two storylines twisting around each other in such a way that I was not sure if and when they would come together. There were so many suspects in the murder of Dorothy, and then Carrie began to suspect that Evelyn’s death 8 years earlier might have been committed by the same person. I was rapidly trying to eliminate suspects, before another popped up. This story was complex and had me reading quickly to find out what was really happening. As the clues were dropped and red herrings discounted, I did figure out who the murderer was, but that did not diminish my enjoyment of the mystery. I really liked the storyline involving the homeless situation. This is a very timely and important issue in most places, large cities and small towns. I liked that Allison Brook included the fact that just having a place to go does not solve the underlying problems. She gave very realistic situations and I liked the solutions she posed. A wonderful story, and not just for a good mystery, but for all the other wonderful storylines included. I definitely recommend this one to cozy mystery lovers everywhere. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.
About the Author: Allison Brook is the pseudonym for Marilyn Levinson, who writes mysteries, romantic suspense, and novels for kids. She lives on Long Island and enjoys traveling, reading, watching foreign films, doing Sudoku and dining out. She especially loves to visit with her grandchildren on FaceTime.