Lucy is content in her position at the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library and then her mother, the redoubtable and lovely Suzanne Richardson, arrives abruptly from Boston. Mother has been known to take sudden long trips in her car when she wants “me time” but Lucy doubts her mother has simply come to visit Lucy and Suzanne’s sister. She is correct. Mother wants Lucy to end her summer “fling” in the Outer Banks and return to Boston to marry her former fiancé, Ricky, and take her rightful place in Society.
With powerfully selective hearing Suzanne ignores Lucy’s protestations that she has no intention of returning to Boston and Ricky is not in her future.
Suzanne had grown up on the Outer Banks at Nag’s Head and departed as soon as she was done high school after drawing the attention of Lucy’s father who was on a vacation trip to the Outer Banks. Having their first born five months into their marriage may have spurred the marriage.
Lucy gets a glimpse into her mother’s past when Suzanne is referred to as Sue in a nasty exchange with Karen Whiteside, a high school classmate, working as a maid in the posh, though fading, resort in which Suzanne is staying at Nag’s Head. George Marwick, another high school classmate who is the hotel manager, rescues Sue from the verbal fray.
Sue only became Suzanne when she reached Boston. The oft imperious Suzanne is not amused at being reminded she was once Sue.
Shortly thereafter Karen is murdered outside the lighthouse library and detective, Sam Watson, is not excluding anyone as a suspect.
Lucy cannot help thinking about who could be the killer. At the same time she has noticed her mother, normally well organized and controlled, is distracted and drinking far more than usual.
Head Librarian, Bertie, tries to deflect attention from the library by telling the community that the murder took place in the marsh area outside the library but Dianne Uppiton, her fiercest critic on the Library Board, makes sure all know the body was found at the base of the lighthouse.
The story continues with the library once more in the midst of a murder investigation. What could be a better setting for a cozy mystery series?
Gates (a pseudonym for Vicki Delany) has established a number of interesting continuing characters. Not all is sunshine in Nag’s Head but life is good on the Outer Banks.
The second Lighthouse Library mystery is deftly written. What reader could not be impressed by this description of a suspect:
“You can’t trust a man who doesn’t like libraries.”
By that criteria I am lucky as I am a man who loves libraries.
I found myself glad to read a mystery where the characters are real people and the sleuth is a young, 30 years old, woman who loves books and whose greatest problems in life are a moderately overbearing mother and trying to decide between two handsome men interested in dating her.
Lucy is not a dazzling sleuth. She is a dedicated librarian who loves cats as much as she loves reading. She is a nice person with whom to spend some hours.
I expect the series will continue to do well.