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It is my pleasure to feature
A Cryptic Clue by Victoria Gilbert today!
A Cryptic Clue (A Hunter and Clewe Mystery)
1st in Series
Setting – North Carolina
Crooked Lane Books (July 11, 2023)
Hardcover : 320 pages
ISBN-10 : 1639102523
ISBN-13 : 978-1639102525
Kindle ASIN : B0BHXZKP44
A retired librarian gets back to the books—and into a devilish murder case—in acclaimed author Victoria Gilbert’s new series, the perfect literary adventure for fans of Kate Carlisle and Jenn McKinlay.
Sixty-year-old Jane Hunter, forced into early retirement from her job as a university librarian, is seeking a new challenge to keep her spirits up and supplement her meager pension. But as she’s about to discover, a retiree’s life can bring new thrills—and new dangers.
Cameron “Cam” Clewe, an eccentric 33-year-old collector, is also seeking something—an archivist to inventory his ever-expanding compendium of rare books and artifacts. Jane’s thrilled to be hired on by Cam and to uncover the secrets of his latest acquisition, a trove of items related to the classic mystery and detective authors. But Jane’s delight is upended when a body is discovered in Cam’s library. The victim, heir to a pharmaceutical fortune, was the last in line of Cam’s failed romances—and now he’s suspect number one.
Cam vows to use his intelligence and deductive skills to clear his name—but with a slight case of agoraphobia, rampant anxiety, and limited social skills, he’ll need some help. It comes down to Jane to exonerate her new boss—but is he truly innocent?
Jane Hunter may be 60 years old but she was not ready to retire, the university had other ideas. So she was searching for a unique challenge to use her skills and earn some money to supplement her pension.
Cameron “Cam” Clewe is a unique man. A wealthy 33-year-old who collects rare books and other artifacts like a huge amount of items related to classic detective and mystery authors. He is looking for an archivist to make a complete inventory and classification of his recent acquisition.
The two meet and Jane agrees to take the job. But before she even starts a dead body is found in Cam’s library. Maybe retirement wasn’t such a bad idea. The victim was Cam’s ex-girlfriend who happened to be the heir to a pharmaceutical fortune. Now Cam is the prime suspect in her murder.
Cam then decides he will be able to clear his name quickly but he is going to need some help. You see, he lacks basic social skills and is afraid to leave his property. So he makes Jane an offer he hopes she won’t refuse. While Jane isn’t 100% sure her new boss is innocent she still agrees to do a little sleuthing. She hopes she isn’t making a bad decision. Retirement may be looking better and better every day.
I really enjoyed meeting Jane and Cam. They are both very unique individuals thrown into a murder investigation almost immediately after meeting. We also meet Cam’s assistant Lauren, Jane’s landlord, Vincent Fisher, and his lady friend, Donna Valenti. They are all interesting in their own ways. I really enjoyed a protagonist close to my own age. The author has done a great job of developing them throughout the entire story while leaving room for us to get to know both better as the series continues.
Cam’s home is huge and he allows “friends” to use it to host charity and other events. He usually makes an appearance and disappears to other rooms for the rest of the evening. He has set up part of the attic to keep his vast collections safe with proper heating, cooling, and moisture control. Jane gets to work there and because of the murder, in the music room but she is really free to roam the place. I enjoyed Ms. Gilbert’s descriptions of the place and its grounds along with Jane’s apartment and Vince’s home. A curious mystery develops because of something Jane finds in the attic. It piqued my interest right away.
Since the murder happened during an event there were several suspects in addition to Cam. I really liked that the author spent time giving some backstories, history, and connections between them and the victim. Some were happy to provide “information”. Ms. Gilbert set up some nice twists but one clue sent me right on the killer’s trail. The showdown and reveal turned out to be very exciting. At one point my heart slowed because I was afraid that something was going to happen but it didn’t. I was surprised by a few things but I will not spoil that for anyone. You must read the book yourself 🙂
A Cryptic Clue has set this series off on a wonderful start. Filled with characters I want to know better and a captivating mystery or two, my attention was held and I was entertained from the start. I am excited for this series to continue. A Killer Clue is set to be released on April 9, 2024.
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About the Author
Raised in a historic small town at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Victoria Gilbert turned her early obsession with books into a dual career as an author and librarian. Now retired after over 30 years in the library field, she’s worked as a reference librarian, research librarian, and university library director.
Victoria writes the Blue Ridge Library Mystery series, the Booklover’s B&B Mystery series, and the Hunter and Clewe traditional mystery series for Crooked Lane Books. A member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers, Victoria lives in North Carolina.
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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.”