*I received a free ARC of this book, with thanks to the author, NetGalley and Black Thorn. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: When an author event at the local library ends in murder, Jude finds herself a suspect in the waspishly witty new Fethering mystery.
Having been booked to give a talk at Fethering Library, successful author Burton St Clair invites his old friend Jude to come along. Although they haven’t met for twenty years, Jude is not surprised to find that St Clair hasn’t changed, with his towering ego and somewhat shaky relationship with the truth. What Jude hadn’t been suspecting however was that the evening would end in sudden, violent death.
More worrying, from Jude’s point of view, is the fact that the investigating police officers seem to be convinced that she herself was responsible for the crime. With the evidence stacking up against her, Jude enlists the help of her neighbour Carole not just to solve the murder but to prevent herself from being arrested for committing it.
There are mentions of the Golden Age of crime literature throughout this cosy mystery and the setup and plot are respectful nods towards the genre, even as the characters and tone are updated to modern times.
Jude and Carole are the amateur sleuths investigating, and Jude is also the main character and – unfortunately for her – the main suspect. Her targeting by circumstances, other characters and the police caused me no end of tension and frustration as I read. The reader gets to see events from Jude’s point of view, so we know that she is telling the truth (or her perception of it) and the constant doubt and suspicion from all sides stirred my empathy for her and had me anxious as to whether she would actually manage to prove herself.
The plot is well-paced and there is a neat balance between the hints/clues and what remains shrouded in mystery until the final reveal. Similarly there are enough characters to make for an interesting suspect pool without being too many to become overwhelming. Personally as a book-obsessive I particularly enjoyed the literary aspects; from the writers and their works to the library environment.
The Liar in the Library is a simple, straightforward cosy murder mystery, and although it is 18th in a series it can be read totally as a standalone novel.
Thinking about Burton’s past had distracted Jude from listening to what he was pontificating about. She gave herself a mental rap over the knuckles and concentrated, to hear him saying, ‘… and obviously writing a book is an activity during which the author is constantly having to make moral judgements. And I am always aware of the ethical implications when I kill someone.
– Simon Brett, The Liar in the Library
The Liar in the Library is available on Amazon right now!