On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
Checked Out for Murder: A Haunted Library Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (September 8, 2020)
Hardcover: 320 pages
Digital ASIN: B082738ZNV
Carrie Singleton and Evelyn the ghost sleuth the slayings of a starlet and a star-crossed psychic in Agatha Award nominee Allison Brook’s fourth Haunted Library mystery.
Daphne Marriott strolls into Clover Ridge and informs librarian Carrie Singleton that she’s a psychic. But had she foreseen what fate awaited her, Daphne would have steered clear of the quaint Connecticut town. Evelyn, the library ghost, tells Carrie that there’s more to Daphne than she lets on.
The mysterious woman grew up in Clover Ridge with her no-good dad, who apparently met his end at the hands of Daphne’s brother, Billy. Still, Daphne proves a welcome distraction when Carrie’s overbearing mother hits town. Mom’s much younger husband, Tom, is in a movie that’s lensing locally, and she’s there to keep an eye on him: Tom’s costar, sultry Ilana Reingold, is also his ex-fiancée, and there’s no denying the chemistry is still there. Soon after mingling with the moviemakers at a meet-and-greet, Daphne is found dead.
Carrie and Evelyn investigate, assisted by bushy-tailed library cat Smoky Joe. But the suspect list could overflow the library shelves. Has Billy killed another relative? Is their long-missing mother involved? Or Daphne’s mean ex-husband? Carrie’s sure she knows who committed the crime, but can she bind together the clues before the culprit Dewey-decimates the town?
Clover Ridge librarian Carrie Singleton has an unexpected visit from Daphne Marriott. She tells Carrie that she is a psychic and would like to do a library program about psychic abilities and give some minute readings. Carrie has a cancellation to fill so she agrees to allow Daphne to present her program. After the woman leaves, library ghost Evelyn informs Carrie that Daphne is up to something. Evelyn knows Daphne and explains that Daphne grew up in an “unhappy dysfunctional family. Her father drank and was abusive. Her mother worked two jobs, and she has an older brother Billy. Daphne’s father was murdered when she was 16 or 17 and her brother was convicted of the crime and went to prison. He was later released and the case reopened when new evidence was found. Evelyn believes Daphne’s return to Clover Ridge may have something to do with the murder.
Carrie’s mother is also in town with her much younger husband Tom. Tom has been cast in a movie that is filming in Clover Ridge along with his ex-fiancée, Ilana Reingold. Her mother can see their chemistry with her own eyes and plans to attend each day of shooting to be sure their affection is only on film. The residents of Clover Ridge have a chance to meet the “movie people” at a meet-and-greet on the Green. Carrie runs into Daphne at the event and helps her out of a sticky situation but later the psychic is found dead.
Carrie feels a little responsible for Daphne’s death, she should have reached out to the woman but her friend, police Lieutenant John Mathers does his best to get her to let him handle the case. But soon she, Evelyn, and library cat Smoky Joe start their own investigation. Could Daphne’s brother be responsible? Her ex-husband? Someone else from her past? or could the killer be someone Carrie knows in Clover Ridge? It is going to take a clever plan to catch the killer. Can Carrie do it and keep herself safe?
I have wanted to get back to this series for a while. The core characters are so strong I knew even after a few years, I would be able to pick up right where I left off. I was right.
Carrie continues to grow stronger in each story. She has come a long way from the day she came to Clover Ridge. Her relationship with Dylan is going strong. Her mother has a tough time in this story and my heart warmed when her dad came into town for a few days to support her. The tension between Carrie and her mother started to ease too. Librarian ghost Evelyn is a wise one. She can fill Carrie in on things that happened long before Carrie arrived. I love the way Carrie is still startled when Evelyn appears but then is so comfortable talking with her. Smokey Joe is a neat cat, who loves his library and all the attention he receives. It was funny that he was having Spring Fever and really wanted to be outside. Ms. Brook has created such dynamic characters. It is very easy to get caught up in everything that is happening around them.
The mystery was cleverly plotted with several suspects, twists, and turns. A second murder adds extra drama. There were plenty of clues to work through and follow, some going back years. Carrie tries hard to keep her promise to John and Dylan but I think they both knew that was never going to happen. She does keep them abreast of everything she learns. The set-up to catch the killer was smart. I fell for all the misdirection Ms. Brook threw into this story. The killer was not on my radar at all. It did make me feel better that Carrie was surprised as well, but she held it together for the perfect takedown.
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About the Author
A former Spanish teacher, Marilyn Levinson writes mysteries, romantic suspense, and novels for kids. Her books have received many accolades. As Allison Brook, she writes the Haunted Library series. DEATH OVERDUE, the first in the series, was an Agatha nominee for Best Contemporary Novel in 2018. Other mysteries include the Golden Age of Mystery Book Club series and the Twin Lakes series.
Her juvenile novel, Rufus and Magic Run Amok, was an International Reading Association-Children’s Book Council Children’s Choice. And Don’t Bring Jeremy was a nominee for six state awards.
Marilyn lives on Long Island, where many of her books take place. She loves traveling, reading, doing crossword puzzles and Sudoku, and chatting on FaceTime with her grandkids.
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