Buried in the Stacks: A Haunted Library Mystery
by Allison Brook
About the Buried in the Stacks
Buried in the Stacks: A Haunted Library Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Crooked Lane Books (September 10, 2019)
Hardcover: 320 pages
Digital ASIN: B07NKPTL81
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?
Like many communities, Clover Ridge is dealing with a homeless population. Because of the winter weather, many spend their days at the library. Carrie learns of a group that has purchased a vacant house in hopes to open Haven House, a daycare type center for the homeless. Carrie is excited about the venture and joins their committee and offers the library meeting room for future meetings. Sadly she learns it may all be just a scam.
Carrie has also become the library’s new Sunshine Delegate and immediately gets a call that research librarian took a fall and is in the hospital. When Carrie arrives for her visit, Dorothy tells her the fall was no accident. She believes her husband is trying to kill her just like he killed her aunt, the library’s resident ghost Evelyn. Dorothy is subsequently killed when her car is forced off the road. Evelyn begs Carrie to find the killer but Evelyn is holding something back. Carrie knew Dorothy was not happy when Carrie got the job she wanted, but Evelyn finally reveals Dorothy had a long list of enemies which translates to a long list of suspects. Carrie isn’t a cat and only has one life, she hopes by the time the killer is found she doesn’t become the second ghost haunting the library.
I have enjoyed this series from the start. Carrie has evolved so much from punk rocker chick the arrived in Clover Ridge to an almost sedate librarian. She and her cat Smokey Joe are settling in and she is patiently waiting for her boyfriend Dylan to settle down closer to home too. Her father has also turned his life around. We learn that most of the library staff has secrets. Secrets Dorothy knew about and may have been using to her advantage. Evelyn is still my favorite. She is a very friendly ghost that any library would be happy to have.
The author introduces readers to a few of the homeless taking shelter within the library. My heart broke for an elderly couple who had lost everything. It really brought home the reality of how close many people are to becoming homeless. Carrie handled things perfectly and used her resources/ her uncle to help them as much as she could. I applaud Ms. Brook for taking on hot community issues of mental health and homelessness and twisting things up a bit to fit her story but then gave us hope many places could emulate.
The mystery was a tricky one to solve as more and more suspects came to light. I am surprised someone hadn’t taken out the cranky broad before this. I was very intrigued when Dorothy’s case opened up new questions about Evelyn’s death.
Carrie was also trying to solve a second mystery surrounding Haven House. The cases did cross over in places but Carrie had a few moments when I wanted to jump into the book and stop her from what she was doing. She is a great planner for library programming but when she is snooping she tends to plow straight ahead without thinking things through.
A well-written story full of twists that was a lot of fun to read. The characters are believable and leaped off the page.
Be aware when you start reading the books in this series they are hard to put down. I do recommend reading all three in order but the author has written them so they can each be read on their own.
About Allison Brook
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.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”