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Blue Ridge Library Mysteries #1

A Murder for the Books

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Fleeing a disastrous love affair, university librarian Amy Webber moves in with her aunt in a quiet, historic mountain town in Virginia. She quickly busies herself with managing a charming public library that requires all her attention with its severe lack of funds and overabundance of eccentric patrons. The last thing she needs is a new, available neighbor whose charm lures her into trouble.

Dancer-turned-teacher and choreographer Richard Muir inherited the farmhouse next door from his great-uncle, Paul Dassin. But town folklore claims the house’s original owner was poisoned by his wife, who was an outsider. It quickly became water under the bridge, until she vanished after her sensational 1925 murder trial. Determined to clear the name of the woman his great-uncle loved, Richard implores Amy to help him investigate the case. Amy is skeptical until their research raises questions about the culpability of the town’s leading families... including her own.

When inexplicable murders plunge the quiet town into chaos, Amy and Richard must crack open the books to reveal a cruel conspiracy and lay a turbulent past to rest in A Murder for the Books, the first installment of Victoria Gilbert’s Blue Ridge Library mysteries.

336 pages, Kindle Edition

First published December 12, 2017

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About the author

Victoria Gilbert

17 books701 followers
Victoria Gilbert, raised in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountain, turned her early obsession with reading into a dual career as an author and librarian.

When not writing or reading, she likes to spend her time watching films, gardening, or traveling. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, son, and some very spoiled cats.

Victoria is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America, and is represented by Frances Black of Literary Counsel, NY, NY.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 629 reviews
Profile Image for Rebbie.
142 reviews113 followers
September 4, 2017
This book has so much depth and richness to it that it's almost unfair to only call it a cozy mystery. It's so much more than that, although its roots do stay firmly planted within the cozy mystery genre, especially in regards to the wonderful way its written.

A librarian named Amy Webber embarks on a trail to do the seemingly-impossible: help her neighbor Richard clear the name of the woman who was accused of murdering his great-uncle back in 1925 (his great-uncle's wife).

This turns out to be much more complicated than originally thought, because it involves family secrets that some people might not want discovered.

If you like murder mysteries a la cozy-style, then you should love this one because there's actually more than one murder mystery to solve in this novel.

This was a highly enjoyable story, and I can't wait to read the next book in the series.

Thanks to Netgalley.
Profile Image for Carrie.
3,230 reviews1,563 followers
October 28, 2017
After leaving a horrid relationship Amy Webber moved in with her aunt in a quiet small town in Virginia. Taking a job as a librarian in the small town Amy always has her share of run in's with the quirky town residents but what she never expected was to find one of them dead in the archives.

Richard Muir is new to town after moving into the farmhouse he'd inherited from his great uncle. Richard's family home comes with a bit of town folklore though being that it's rumored that the original owner was poisoned by his wife. Wanting to look into the matter Richard headed to the local library but instead of family history he finds himself in the middle of a current crime. Richard and Amy end up working together to see if they can solve the murders in their town.

A Murder for the Books by Victoria Gilbert is the first book in the cozy Blue Ridge Library Mysteries series. This first book is one that has the characters trying to solve more than one mystery so I would have expected to be completely caught up in this story but unfortunately that wasn't the case.

I never really could put my finger on any one thing within that didn't grab me as much as I would like with this book but it didn't pop out and grab me either. I think I just didn't connect with these characters as much as I would like to and it was also a tad slow for my taste. The writing was good and normally with more going on I'd rate higher but in the end this one was just average to me.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.wordpress....
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,323 reviews2,145 followers
September 12, 2018
First a disclaimer - I am not a fan of cosies generally so three stars from me is good!

A Murder for the Books had a good story and likeable main characters. The romance was reasonable and the mystery was pretty good. I did not guess the main culprits until nearly the end. It was all very readable but....

The dialogue was so weak! Small village or not, people really do not go around slandering other people to their faces . Or if they do I am lucky I have never met it in real life. Also I was never sure why the story was set in a library unless it was to draw in readers like me who read everything with book, bookshop or library in the title.

Nevertheless it was still a fast, entertaining read and recommended for everyone who enjoys a good cosy:)
Profile Image for Melindam.
664 reviews294 followers
May 14, 2019
While I have had some share of cosy-mystery books, altogether I am not a big fan of the genre. I found that with most of them I had to work too hard to suspend the disbelief muscle (Police is not capable to accomplish what a self-made sleuth without training, background or clue can do - YEAH, RIGHT!) and it much diminished the entertainment value.

I don't know exactly what attracted me to this book -possibly the cover & title & setting, I can't seem to resist books about books -but I was pleasantly surprised this time.

The story was both credible and entertaining. Maybe because the crimes that are investigated have their roots in the past and the main character, Amy, as a librarian has access to archived documents and her family turns out to be deeply involved both in the past and present instances.

Also the setting of quirky town with close-knit community worked well. The plot was very well-structured with hidden agendas, slowly growing-tension, emerging closet skeletons.
The romance between Amy and Richard was OK, but HEA was happening a bit too fast, even though they are a likeable couple.

Altogether a very pleasant read.

ARC received via Netgalley by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Carolyn (on vacation).
2,247 reviews643 followers
December 5, 2017
Amy Webber has returned to her home town after running away from her job as a college librarian after she found her boyfriend cheating on her in the library and created an embarrassing scene. Now she has to be content living with her aunt and working as the town librarian in the little town where she grew up. Life becomes a little more interesting when she discovers that a young dancer and choreographer, Richard Muir, has moved into the property next door that he inherited from his parents. Richard is interested in finding out more about local and family history and in particular a murder trial of a woman accused of poisoning her husband and recruits Amy to help him with his research. However, their research is temporarily put on hold when they discover a dead body in the library building where the town archives are stored.

A cross between a cosy mystery and a cold case investigation, Ms Gilbert skilfully manages to weave the current day murder mystery with both present day and historical events. Although Amy has sworn off men after her previous experience there is a nice romance brewing with Richard. There is a good supporting cast of characters in Amy's Aunt Lydia, her colleague Sunny, local police officer Brad and her noxious second cousin and town councillor Sylvia. Although there were several plot threads to juggle and tie together, the plot moves along at a good pace and the murderer took a while to be revealed as all the pieces, past and present were slotted into place.

With thanks to Netgalley and the publisher Crooked Lane Books for a copy to read and review
Profile Image for Brenda.
4,225 reviews2,731 followers
December 3, 2017
Taylorsford in Virginia was a peaceful, quiet town with historic significance and when Amy Webber moved there to live with her Aunt Lydia after she’d had a fall, Amy fell in love with the place. Director of the local library, she also enjoyed her job – her love of books was well known. But when Amy had to venture to the archive room with a patron one day, she was shocked and horrified to find the body of a local identity lying in a pool of blood on the floor.

Richard Muir had recently renovated the old farmhouse next to Amy and her aunt. He’d inherited it from his great-uncle and as he was new to the town, decided to investigate the local history. He went to the library to do his research, where he met Amy – and was pleasantly surprised to discover she was also a researcher into the history of Taylorsford.

When another murder occurred, both Richard and Amy began their investigations in earnest. But was it putting them in terrible danger? After all, there was a murderer amongst them.

A Murder for the Books is the 1st in the Blue Ridge Library mysteries by Victoria Gilbert and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Fast paced, the action and tension had me flying through the pages. The characters are well done – Aunt Lydia is exceptional; Sunny is as her name implies and Amy and Richard set the tone of the novel. I’m looking forward to book 2 in the hopefully not too distant future, and highly recommend A Murder for the Books for fans of the genre.

With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my digital ARC to read and review.
Profile Image for Susan.
2,695 reviews595 followers
October 28, 2017
Amy Webber was an academic librarian, before catching boyfriend Charles in a compromising position and making a scene. Beating a hasty retreat, she is now working at Taylorsford Public Library and living with her beloved Aunt Lydia. Although money is tight, she is happy working with her assistant, Sunny, and getting to know her regulars. One is Doris Virts, who is known to suffer from dementia. When she goes missing, both Amy and Sunny keep an eye out for her. However, when Amy’s handsome new neighbour, dance instructor and choreographer, Richard Muir, asks to see the library archive, they virtually trip over the body of elderly Doris Virts. Who would want to kill an old lady and why was she in the library archive anyway?

This is a fun mystery, which sees Amy team up with Richard; not only to investigate the murder of Doris Virts, but also to research an old case. Richard’s Great-Uncle, Paul Dassin, wrote a novel based on the case of Eleanor Cooper, who was accused of killing her husband. Secrets run deep in a small town and Amy and Richard will have to work hard to lay the past to rest to rest.

I suspect this will be the first in a series and so there is a lot about setting the scene and introducing us to all the characters; from property developing mayor, Robert Blackstone, to Bradley Tucker, the County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy. The small, meandering town, consisting mainly of one long main road, is also virtually a character in itself, while there is more than a hint of romance between the two main characters. An enjoyable and gentle crime novel, which will appeal to lovers of cosy crime. I received a copy of this book from the publishers, via NetGalley, for review.
Profile Image for Juli.
1,899 reviews491 followers
December 23, 2017
After the end of a bad relationship, Librarian Amy Webber moves to small-town Virginia to live with her aunt. She feels the mountains and a new job running the local library ought to help her forget her cheating boyfriend. She begins to settle into her new life and starts helping a neighbor, Richard Muir, with research on local history, including an old murder case. When a local woman is found murdered in the library archives, Amy and Richard wonder if the killing is tied to their investigation of the cold case. Soon more people who have information on the old poisoning case start turning up dead. Amy and Richard know they need to discover facts quickly to prevent more deaths.

This book is just so much fun to read! There are quirky small-town characters, a run down library that needs updating, a love interest for the main character, a cold case that's heating up again, and a killer determined to prevent the truth from being revealed. It's a nice mix of cold case investigation and cozy mystery. The story has a bit more "meat'' to it than some cozies...well-written, great characters and a great mystery plot! I will definitely be reading more of this series! I'm not going to say much more about the characters or plot as I want to avoid spoilers, but I definitely recommend this book to those who enjoy the cozy genre!

A Murder for the Books is the first book in the new Blue Ridge Library Mysteries series. The second book, Shelved Under Murder, will be out in July 2018.

To find out more about the author and her cozy series, check out her website: http://victoriagilbertmysteries.com/

**I voluntarily read an advanced readers copy of this book from Crooked Lane Books via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**
Profile Image for Cherie.
203 reviews86 followers
March 1, 2019
3.5 stars rounded up. Though not quite perfect, is highly enjoyable. A murder mystery and secrets to uncover in a small Virginia town, where everybody knows each other. The local young librarian ends up right in the middle of it all, along with her new good looking next door neighbor, with just a dash of romance.
Profile Image for Courtagonist.
66 reviews424 followers
February 3, 2019
This is the first book of The Cozy Mystery Bookclub for 2019 and I am so glad that this was chosen. Here we follow Amy the Director of the Library in Taylorford. After a pretty nasty breakup she is forced to move from one job into another and to head to her family's homestead to help her Aunt Lydia recover from a nasty fall.

She is bound and determined to make her life in Taylorford something to be proud of while mending her broken heart. She has vowed to herself to not date men for the time being.

This is new Amy is thrown off course when a handsome new neighbor, Richard, shows up at the library wanting to do some research on an old murder case. However this is sort of paused as they stumble onto a body of an elderly woman in the archives building.

Somehow the Past and Present intermingle in this cozy and I am living for it. There were so many different mysteries within this book that the author successfully combined into the main mystery of the murder.

I loved the heat between Amy and Richard. I love the relationship between Amy and her Aunt Lydia. I loved learning about the history of the family, the town, and the mysterious deaths that happened throughout the book and time.

This is a newer Cozy Mystery series started in 2017 and I have already purchased book two that was released last summer. I am eager to dive into this series and follow it as it goes.
December 15, 2017
I give “A Murder for the Books”5 out of 5 Cozy Stars! I loved this fun and bookish cozy mystery! I am always drawn to books that are book related in some way and it makes me feel proud to be a bibliophile. This book intrigued me from the very first line, “Anyone who claims there are no stupid questions has never worked in a library.” I could relate to this sentence because I am a member of my local Friends of the Library Association and so I do volunteer work at the library, book sales and etc. I also volunteer at a small local bookstore when my body is able and receive new books as payment! Which is awesome! I have been asked some crazy questions to say the least. I loved the characters in this book and thought they were well written. At one point, I thought the book was a bit slow but the surprising twists and everything else made up for it resulting in my 5 star rating. I also loved how descriptive this book was with the historic town!😁 I definitely recommend this cozy!💖📚
Profile Image for LORI CASWELL.
2,478 reviews278 followers
December 23, 2017
Dollycas’s Thoughts

Oh, I am excited about this series. It is off to a wonderful start.

Amy Webber has left her job as a college librarian and moved to her aunt’s home in Taylorsford, Virginia. She manages the town’s library which is quite different from her previous job. The residents of Taylorsford are an eclectic bunch. She is thankful her predecessor left her plenty of notes about her new patrons. Sadly, one of those patrons is murdered early in the story. Found on library property Amy finds herself in the middle of the investigation. Some are even pointing their fingers at her.

She also meets her new neighbor Richard Muir, a dancer/teacher/choreographer. He has been renovating the house next door that he inherited from his uncle. He is very interested in his family’s history, especially a murder and a disappearance. He turns to Amy for help researching the archives to find answers. Maybe together they can solve the current case while finding answers in a cold one too.

Ms. Gilbert has created such rich main characters. I felt drawn to them immediately. I wanted to know their family histories and get to know them better as themselves. There is a romantic spark between Richard and Amy. Amy tries to stop or ignore her feelings because it was a broken romantic entanglement that made her quit her last job. Richard is a patient man and is not giving up. Their interplay is touching and real. Amy’s aunt also likes Richard very much and is not beyond a little matchmaking between the two.

There are two mysteries to solve in this story and they are seriously tangled up together. I did have an inkling about the 1925 case early on in the book, but that did not deter my enjoyment of following each and every clue. The current mystery was total surprising from start to finish. Several suspects had means, motive, and opportunity. The climactic reveal stunned me. It was exciting and action-packed. The suspense was at a high level.

Victoria Gilbert walks that fine line keeping this cozy from jumping into the thriller lane. She has created a mystery story with great substance, tempered it with the beginnings of a romance and the exact right amount of humor. The characters are genuine and really shine throughout the entire book.

I loved this story and wish I had Shelved Under Murder in my hot little hands right now. My escape to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains ended much too soon. I have my virtual bags packed for a return trip mid-July 2018.
Profile Image for Laurie • The Baking Bookworm.
1,447 reviews373 followers
November 15, 2017
3.5 STARS --- Disclaimer: This ARC was generously provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

This is the first book in a new Cozy Mystery series and as a Library Assistant myself I enjoyed that the main character is a librarian. I appreciated that Gilbert realistically showed what life can be like for library staff -- quirky patrons, the library as a community space where library staff aren't pinched-faced shushers but instead love books and want to share their knowledge of researching and the library's numerous services with the public etc. Libraries are cool, y'all!!

There is a good mystery here and it was more complex than I was expecting. Actually, there's not one but three mysteries, in two time frames, that are being solved! This raised this book up to a Cozy Mystery 2.0 designation - it has all the makings of a typical Cozy but with the additional mysteries and the tension at the end it gives readers a little something more.

The writing was good (if overly descriptive at times) and I think this was a solid start to a new series. There are a lot of characters to keep track of which became a little messy and convoluted figuring out how people were related to each other. But within this group, Gilbert gives her readers a gaggle of shady characters, each of whom could plausibly be the culprit, to keep her readers guessing. There is a romance (but of course!) but I wasn't quite as smitten with it as the characters were with each other. It had an Insta-Love vibe and smelled strongly of fromage. I think the story could have easily done without it.

While the book felt a little sluggish in the beginning the energy ramps up considerably in the end for a solid conclusion. Overall, this was a good start to a new series with a solid community of characters, a nice small town feel and a main character who can get into enough scrapes to keep things interesting. Readers are also left with some questions regarding certain secondary characters which could prove to be good fodder for future story lines.
Profile Image for Annie.
147 reviews16 followers
September 3, 2017
A Murder for the Books is book #1 in the Blue Ridge Library Mysteries. This is a debut novel by Victoria Gilbert. A very enjoyable read that combines mystery with romance. I love the front cover of the book, so bright and vibrant.

Amy Webber works in Taylorsford public library – a Carnegie library in need of a little TLC. Sunny, Amy’s best friend also works there as her assistant. Since moving to Taylorsford after leaving her previous job under a cloud, Amy has been living with her Aunt Lydia.

Doris Virts used to be a volunteer at the library, but unfortunately is now going senile and keeps saying that someone is following her. Her daughter Bethany looks after her. However, Doris sometimes goes astray and quite often ends up at the library. Doris has gone missing again, so Bethany has asked for people to keep an eye out for her and to phone her if she turns up at the library.

Richard Muir turns up at the library. Turns out he has moved into the old Cooper house next door to Aunt Lydia. Richard says that he is aiming to prove that Eleanora Cooper did not poison her husband and has come to the library to look through historical records. His great uncle, Paul Dassin, a writer, who’d owned the Cooper house before his death, firmly believed that Eleanora did not kill her husband Daniel and Richard wanted to confirm what his great uncle had always believed. Amy is unable to find the keys to the archives, but fortunately as director, she has spare keys for all the doors. She thought to herself that Doris probably took the key. When Richard and Amy arrive at the door to the archives, they find the door unlocked. Richard offers to go in first, but Amy says if Doris is in there, she doesn’t want to spook her. However, when Amy switches on the light, they see a body lying face down in a pool of blood. Richard phones 911.

Sheriff Bradley Tucker is quickly on the scene. He confirms that Doris was killed by gunshot. Tucker is told about what Doris had said about someone following her and about the strange black Jaguar car that Sunny had seen parked outside earlier. Everyone who is at the library is interviewed, then sent home. The library is then locked and closed until further investigations have taken place.

Amy and Richard, as they live next door to each other, walked back home together. Amy invites Richard in to meet Aunt Lydia. According to Aunt Lydia, Richard’s uncle, Paul Dassin, was in love with Eleanora Cooper. Evidently Rose Baker Litton, Lydia’s grandmother, was a key witness for the prosecution in Eleanora’s trial. Rose, who was 17 at the time, had seen Eleanora writing recipes in a herbal book and firmly believed Eleanora had poisoned her husband. Rose’s testimony relied on the herbal book, but the vital pages were missing, so Eleanora was aquitted and the book returned to Rose. Eleanora left town leaving everything behind – house, lumber lots, land – all of which she supposedly killed her husband for. Strange that she left everything, but she never returned. Lydia said that after Rose’s death, she donated the herbal book to the library, even though Rose on her death bed had asked for the book to be burnt. Amy said that she had not come across the book in the library. Lydia said that evidently the book went missing very soon after she had donated it to the library.

After Richard left, Amy decides to do some gardening. She started to dig up a dead rose bush that her great grandmother Rose had planted many years ago. As she is digging she finds a brooch. The following day, Amy decides that she is going to do some research on the brooch. The library is closed due to the murder investigation, but Amy has keys and firmly believes that it is ok for her to enter the library, so off she pops. On route, she meets Richard, who was out for a run. Telling him her plan, Richard decides that he will tag along. Amy switches on the computer and is going to use this to search for info. She asks Richard to start searching through his great uncle’s novel ‘False Falsehood’ to see if there is any info in that about the brooch. Pulling the book from the shelf, Amy spots something behind Dassin’s book – it is the herbal book – title page Eleanora Amaryliss Heron 1916. After much research via the computer, Amy finds a newspaper article showing a photo of Eleanora during her trial. Lily, as Eleanora’s husband used to call her, was wearing the brooch that Amy had found. Evidently the brooch was given to Lily on her wedding day by her husband and was heard to say during the trial that she would wear the brooch every day for the rest of her life. Richard said as she wore it every day, why would she leave town without it. Amy gave the brooch to Richard saying that it belongs in his house.

Kurt Kendrick (previously known as Karl Klass) was a foster child of Paul Dassin for 6 years. He is now a very wealthy art collector and has a second home just outside of town. Richard is going to visit Kurt and asks Amy if she will accompany him. When Amy and Richard meet Kurt, his teeth and smile remind Amy of the big bad wolf in the fairytale. When talking about Eleanora, Kurt says that Eleanora’s health improved whilst she was in jail awaiting trial. Amy spots the black Jaguar car that Sunny saw.

Not long after spouting to everyone in the diner about a cover up story, Clark Fowler is found dead – killed by gunshot. Fowler firmly believed that Blackstone’s father and other town members hushed up the true reason why his mother and the orphanage children had all died. Fowler said that his mother and the children had all been sick for ages prior to eating the mushrooms and that it was not poisoned mushrooms that had killed them. Most people tended to ignore his rants because they had heard it all before, many times.

Blackstone is trying to develop the land where the orphanage once lay, but many people in the town are against this. Sunny organises a peaceful demonstration, but Blackstone and his lawyers try to get the sheriff to disperse the crowd saying that the demonstrators are trespassing on his land.

The following day nobody seems to know where Sunny is. Blackstone is found in his car barely alive. Is anyone in town safe? Amy firmly believes that Kurt Kendrick has something to do with all of this, after all it was his Jaguar car that was parked outside the library – the car that Sunny saw and now Sunny is missing. Can she get to the bottom of the mystery without putting herself in danger?

I received a digital copy of this book from Netgalley in return for the above review.
Profile Image for Betty.
2,006 reviews55 followers
October 31, 2017
The first book in the Blue Ridge Library series and a new author for me. This is not the last book by this author as I will read her again. This is listed as a mystery but it is much more. There is a strong romance. A cold case that needed solving and an unusual motive for the murders. The characters are complex and descriptions will settle you into a mountain town's feelings. I especially liked the cesspool scenes, both times. I deducted one star because I felt the plot has been a number times.
Amy Webber and Richard Muir join together to find an answer of how his Great-uncle, Paul Dassin die. Richard wants to prove his wife did not kill his uncle. As they searched archive records, two new murders occur. Both victims had ties to the to Paul. There are a number of suspects to keep you guessing. The murders and the cold are skillfully brought together as one. The closing part was hectic and I felt Any went through more than enough danger, some of it unnecessary.

Disclosure: I received a free copy from Crooked Lane Books through NetGalley for an honest review. I would like to thank them for this opportunity to read and review this book. The opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Jenny.
1,756 reviews59 followers
March 21, 2018
A Murder for the Books is book one of the Blue Ridge Library Mysteries series by Victoria Gilbert. Richard Muir came to the Taylorsford Public Library to do research, and while he was there the Librarian in charge, Amy Webber found a body in the Libraries Archives. The death of Doris Virts changed Richard Muir, and Amy Webbers lives forever. The readers of A Murder for the Books will continue to follow the investigation into Doris Virts death and Richard Muir and Amy Webber blossoming romance.

A Murder for the Books is the first book I read by Victoria Gilbert, and I love it. One of the reasons is that the main character Amy Webber is a Librarian. I was engaged with the characters and the plot soon as I open up the book. Victoria Gilbert provides her readers with unexpected twist and turns that keeps you wanting to turn the page to find out what happening.

A Murder of the Books highlights that you should always look past a person body shape or hight to evaluate a person for a job. Also, the readers of A Murder of the Books will learn about the danger of having excess iron in your blood.

I recommend this book.
Profile Image for Gloria.
857 reviews77 followers
January 1, 2020
A Murder for the Books is the beginning of a good mystery series in a small town in the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia. Amy Webber was a librarian at a small university, Clarion University, until her boyfriend finds a replacement for her. Amy makes a scene at an event that is too embarrassing and leaves the university and moves in with her aunt to take a position as a library director where she works with her close friend, Sunny Fields. She is perfectly happy living a quiet life until she meets her neighbor, dancing professor at Clarion, Richard Muir. The two hit it off and work together to solve some decades old mysteries. Their discoveries help set the records straight to clear some names from the past. Great mystery with a little romance thrown in.
Profile Image for Ann Lou.
556 reviews89 followers
June 7, 2020
A librarian who solves murder through research? Count me in! A little different than my other murder books but still enjoyable.

It started a little slow for me but then picked up pace. Amy and the people in Taylorsford are a mix of characters. The intrigue and gossip of a small town.

A few mysteries have been resolved in this book including past ones.
Profile Image for QNPoohBear.
3,100 reviews1,483 followers
January 27, 2018
Amy Webber has taken a job as Library Director in the small town of Taylorsford in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. She’s hoping for a fresh start after a relationship disaster made it impossible to stay at her academic job. Plus, her Aunt Linda is unable to live alone in the ancestral family home. Amy has her fair share of odd regular library visitors, including Doris Virts, a paranoid, elderly woman and a mysterious person who returns books to the wrong places on the shelves. Amy is almost relieved when her new neighbor, Richard Muir just wants to use the archive. Richard has recently moved into his late great-uncle Paul’s home and is hoping to solve a decades old murder mystery. Amy’s research expertise throws her together with Richard with some prodding from matchmaking Aunt Linda. As they uncover the clues, long buried town secrets are revealed and it seems that someone will stop at nothing to keep secrets buried forever-along with those who would tell them.

Murder in the archive! This mystery is not too bad as far as cozies go but it relies too much on coincidences. Those coincidences are chalked up to ghostly activity-something I do NOT believe in, especially in a mystery. I figured out Grandma Rose’s secrets right away. It was so obvious. The villain wasn’t much of a surprise either. Amy should have figured all that out and much sooner than it took for her to stumble onto the truth. Amy has superior research skills, showing the author has worked as a librarian, but Amy’s character judgement skills need a lot more work.

However, I really related to Amy! She’s clearly a librarian because she’s so much like me. Her overthinking isn’t due to her insecurities. She can’t help it-she’s cerebral and that’s the way her brain works. I would have reacted the same way with Richard. The romance is sweet but he seems too good to be true. Like Amy, I would overanalyze him. I feel he came on too strong and that bothered me a bit. I grew to like him as a friend for Amy anyway.

The locals are certainly a colorful bunch. Aunt Linda is a hoot. I expected an elderly woman since she is unable to get around without a cane but she’s younger than my mom. I don’t know what happened to her that she can’t live alone. Is it permanent or temporary? She adds some humor to the story with her matchmaking plans. I didn’t quite trust her though. I thought she knew more that she let on. I also loved Sunny, the library assistant. I connected to her through shared values and her friendship with Amy. She is a great character. Linda’s friend Zelda is also a lot of fun. Her relationship with Walt is very sweet and also kind of sad. Walt seems like a nice guy who deserves happiness in his retirement years. Sheriff Brad Tucker was unappealing at first. He came across as rude and crude but once I got to know him, I really liked him.

The not-so-likable characters include Amy’s distant cousin Sylvia. She’s a nasty businesswoman with a two-track mind: money and family. Bob Blackstone is a terrible mayor. He is an awful person. Don Virts is another potential villain. The local dentist is not a warm, caring person. He’s awful to his mother, snippy, rude and mean to everyone else. The last potential villain is a man from the past. He’s certainly involved in some shady business but what and how much it means to him is the questions. In the past there’s Amy’s great-grandmother Rose who was a nasty piece of work. She was not a warm, fuzzy grandma to Debbie and Linda. I did not like her as a youth and I did not feel sorry for her as an adult.

Rounding out the cast of characters in the past are Eleanora Cooper, who is an interesting character. I liked her interest in herbal medicine. I didn’t know people were still into that in the 1920s. She had such a tough life and I felt so sad for her. Her husband, Daniell, is mentioned a lot but we don’t know much about his personality. Mayor Blackstone senior was even more awful than his son and I hated both of them. Richard’s great-uncle Paul sounds like an older version of Richard, minus the dancing. He was determined to shed light on the truth and I admired him for that.

I was interested in this story because of the library/archive connection but was turned off by the poor language choices expressed by the characters. I don’t mind a swear or two from the police or a hint that the main character said a swear but Amy expresses herself a little too freely, especially in the beginning of the novel. Between that and the ghost, I’m not interested in reading any other books about these characters but I would recommend this book to those who don’t mind a little language and a little paranormal activity. I would definitely recommend this to other librarians!
Profile Image for Katy O. .
2,317 reviews723 followers
August 18, 2018
Another new-to-me series, this one a cozy library mystery that I listened to via my Audible subscription. The narration was great, and I enjoyed the story so much, especially the body positive message and the sweet romance. Oh, and LIBRARY, of course. I already downloaded book 2 from Scribd.
Profile Image for Fantasia ☮HippieMoonchild☮.
1,341 reviews95 followers
February 9, 2022
Rating: 3.5 (rated down) / 5

Honestly, I would have given this book a 4-star rating if only it was shorter. And had more to do with...well, reading the library.

On both counts, the author just couldn't deliver, hence my rating down this book instead of up.

Ahem, basically, the story revolves around Amy, the library director in Taylorsford, Virginia. She's approached by her hot new neighbour, Richard Muir, to help him clear up an age-old murder mystery, which, as we read along, may have some present-day consequences as well.

Now, I liked the characters and the location both well enough but, as other readers have been saying, there's just something about this story that didn't grab me. I don't know, maybe it's the fact that this story has very little to do with the actual library or research reading itself, as it seems that Amy and Richard are piecing together a good deal of the mystery just based on what the town gossips keep spouting off left and right. Oh, and Amy also happens to be present to witness some important scenes that happen as well. Just saying.

Even so though, I think that if the events in this story could either have been shortened or cut, just to make this story move along faster and in less space, I would've liked it better. But, unfortunately, it just dragged on and on, that it took quite a bit to make myself get through it by the end. And the payoff didn't even feel like much of a payoff since a) it wasn't that exciting, and b) the book takes forever to get there, that you almost don't care by the end.

Right now, I'm 50-50 on whether I'll actually be continuing this series or not. For now, I'll keep it off my to-read list, but at least I'll know where to pick up on it if I ever want to take another try. So-so as a cozy mystery, overall, though mostly okay.
584 reviews129 followers
May 7, 2021
This book ticked all the checkboxes for a cozy mystery, something which I needed after reading a dreadful detective novel. It was nice to sit back and enjoy the beautiful description of the traditional architecture, the family history, an old tragic mystery, a cozy romance, and amateur sleuths solving the current murder mysteries along with solving historical mysteries.
The plot was quite good, and the multiple story lines were well connected. Though the reveal in the end was through confessions at gun-point, I can forgive cozy mysteries for such hackneyed scenes.
I might pick up more of this series, whenever I need a break from serious books.
Profile Image for Chris Conley.
940 reviews10 followers
September 3, 2018
Any mystery that involves a library, research and old houses has got my interest. This one has all of that and more. I immediately got the next book from the library and ready to see what comes next! Good mystery and some really icky small-town characters.
Profile Image for Carole Jarvis.
807 reviews41 followers
December 16, 2017
Reviewed at The Power of Words: http://bit.ly/2k2SPIm

A Murder for the Books by Victoria Gilbert is a well-crafted cozy mystery that begins a promising new series. It features several appealing elements … small-town setting in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, a head librarian as the protagonist, romance, star-crossed lovers, family histories with secrets, and two murders to solve – a contemporary and a cold case. Everything worked together to make an enjoyable reading experience.

Characterization was interesting in this story … Amy’s work at the library paved the way for logical research, and Richard’s profession as dancer and choreographer was unusual and fascinating. Two secondary characters also added depth and I look forward to seeing more from them – Sunny, Amy’s assistant, whose name described her perfectly, and Amy’s Aunt Libby, who I fell in love with. The mystery theme, especially the historical one, captured my interest and the “reveal” was surprising, although plausible.

While I enjoyed A Murder for the Books and would like to read more in the series, a few things would have made this story better for me … The romance between Amy and Richard was sweet, but developed a little too quickly for my tastes; would rather have seen it grow over several books. And as enjoyable as the “actors” were, I would have preferred more character depth and less romance. Finally, although the story is clean, there’s some profanity scattered throughout that was entirely unnecessary and detracted from my enjoyment.

Overall, A Murder for the Books is a fun cozy read and I will enjoy seeing how these characters develop as the series progresses.

I was provided a copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
Profile Image for Kirsti.
2,456 reviews84 followers
November 29, 2017

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the chance to read this book!

Cozy mysteries and libraries just go together so well. Librarians make great sleuths, and are able to research and just KNOW things us poor average Joes don't. Amy is the perfect librarian, and although she doesn't know it, she makes a perfect leading lady .as well. Add to the mix a cast of excellent secondary characters and a super hot love interest ( A MALE DANCER!? -drool-) and you've got yourself an outstanding first novel.

I particularly liked the historical build up behind the current murder mystery. It's just something not too many cozies do, and I can see the small town and it's history will be a forefront of books to come. The web of characters and their connections was great too.

This is a fast paced mystery that keeps you on the edge of your seat. There's plenty of action and plenty of suspects to keep you guessing. Just who knows what doesn't get fully revealed to the end.

An excellent first book, I highly recommend this one for cozy mystery lovers. Five stars!
Profile Image for Kimberly.
822 reviews92 followers
September 18, 2018
Thank you @netgalley for the review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

I have read quite a few cozy mysteries over the past fifteen years so I’m always pleased when one takes me by surprise. This book definitley caught my attention. The mystery portion was really well done and ended up including three different cases that spane over several generations. Even with the various characters and storylines, I had no problem following along and keeping everything straight. The author did a fantastic job of slowly pulling all three together while equally keeping you intrigued as you gathered clues.

However, my favorite part about this cozy was the main character. Amy Webber has recently moved to town to live with her aunt and become the head librarian. What set her apart from other protagonist is she came across as rather mature and educated!! I loved her enthusiasm for research and how she used that skill to her benefit.

“I’d become a librarian primarily due to my love of books, but also because of my lifelong compulsion to find answers to questions or mysteries. Even as a child, whenever I’d heard or seen something I hadn’t understood, I’d run to my books to research an answer or at least gather information.”

Finally a sleuth who doesn’t just stumble onto certain situations, but actually uses research and reasoning to solve things!! Amy was also incredibly relatable. She suffers from some insecurities about her body due to a previous relationship. This was handled in the most positive manner with the love interest. I adore Richard. He’s charming, a professional dancer and just wait until you hear about the meaning behind his most famous choreographed piece. The chemistry between the two was absolutely perfection. I also enjoyed Aunt Lydia and Sunny!!

This is the first book in the Blue Ridge Library Mysteries and was definitley a great start to a new series. I look forward to reading the sequel, Shelved Under Murder!

Profile Image for Tari.
2,416 reviews72 followers
July 22, 2018
This was such a well-written and well-plotted mystery! There were some twists and turns, memorable characters that I already can't wait to visit again and an awesome side mystery along with the murders that occurred. I definitely didn't guess the killer! (Edited to add: You will be happier if you read this book first, then go on to book two, which I am currently reading as I edit this post.)

Amy Webber was the library director at the Taylorsford Public Library in Taylorsford, VA. Her best frieind, Sunny Fields, was her assistant and the only other paid help. After a nasty breakup with her fiance', Amy came back to live there with her Aunt Lydia in the old family house. The town was fairly uneventful aside from a very old few cases of questionable deaths. That is until a couple of new murders happened. Did they have anything to do with the old cases or could they possibly be linked to the new housing development that was in the works. Amy being a trained researcher as a librarian couldn't help but start looking into the cases. Her new interest, choreography and dancer Richard Muir, only wanted to protect her in case the killer was still around, but he had to admit it was interesting investigating, especially the parts involving the older cases and seeing how the new cases could be related.

I love libraries to begin with and any mystery concerning someone who works in one has my interest. I enjoyed all the characters and their interactions with each other and with Amy. It was like she'd never been gone as far as the older people were concerned. Richard was a sweetheart and I can't wait to see how their budding relationship develops. I hope that Sunny can eventually bring herself to dating Brad, the chief deputy who obviously had it pretty bad for her all those years, even after she rejected him in high school. As abrasive as Brad started out in the story, I wasn't sure I was going to like him, but he did have a good side and finally came around. At least he wasn't constantly warning Amy off the case or telling her he'd toss her in jail for interfering.

I'm really anxious to read the next book, in fact I had started it but since there was only one book ahead of it, I thought I'd be happier if I read book one first. But that's just me. ;)
Profile Image for Karen.
503 reviews55 followers
November 13, 2017
A Murder for the Books by VIctoria Gilbert is the first in a new series about a librarian who has had bad luck in love, moved in with her ailing aunt and stumbled upon a new neighbor and together they find the murdered body of a former Library volunteer. With a crooked town leader, decades old mysteries to solve and some really good hunches Amy and her new neighbor discover town secrets, and cover ups all while getting to know each other a little better. This is a charming start to the series for sure.
Profile Image for Ann.
5,286 reviews62 followers
July 13, 2018
Set in a small quaint town in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, new town librarian is shocked to find a body in the Archives. While helping her new handsome neighbor do research concerning a long dead relative the two cases seem to be colliding. Well written with some good twists this will be an interesting series to follow. This is book 1 in the Blue Ridge Library series. It hits all the interest buttons for me with a great hero librarian, a Virginia setting and lots of friends and neighbors in a small town setting.
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