Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Buried in a Book


Author: Lucy Arlington
Genre: Light Mystery
Series: #1 in the 'A Novel Idea' series
Source: Public Library
Type: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 285
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
First Published: 2012
First Line: "I thought I'd be writing articles about church bazaars and Girl Guide cookie sales until I retired, so you can imagine my surprise when, at forty-five years of age, I was handed my very first pink slip."

Book Description from GoodReadsAfter losing her job as a journalist at the age of forty-five, Lila Wilkins accepts an internship at A Novel Idea, a thriving literary agency in North Carolina. Being paid to read seems perfect to Lila, although it's difficult with the cast of quirky co-workers and piles of query letters. But when a penniless aspiring author drops dead in the agency's waiting room-and Lila discovers a series of threatening letters-she's determined to find out who wrote him off.

My Review:  This is the epitome of a 'cozy mystery'.  It's set in a small town, it has a cast of quirky (if underused) secondary characters and a nosy, yet likeable protagonist.  "Buried in a Book" is also a solid start to a new series by Lucy Arlington (who also writes under the names Ellery Adams and Sylvia May).

As an avid reader, I'm a little hesitant to pick up mysteries because I can often figure out 'whodunnit' before the end of the book which kind of takes away from my enjoyment.  This was not the case here.  The author throws in some good 'red herrings' to keep her readers guessing who the murderer was.  There were also many references to popular authors due to the fact that Lila works at a literary agency which I also really enjoyed.

The overall pace was good and I really liked the author's writing style. Her inclusion of some of the quirky names of some of the businesses in Inspiration Valley, NC where quite cute -- Espresso Yourself coffee shop, Catcher in the Rye sandwich shop etc but I do wish secondary characters, namely Lila's mother, were used more in the plot.

Lila, as the main character, is a hard one for me to rate.  I liked the fact that she wasn't a 20-something  woman but a mature 45 year old mom and mother to a 17 year old son.  She had been a successful reporter so I assumed she'd be fairly worldly.  But she often came off as much more juvenile and impulsive than I was expecting.  That said, I suppose the protagonist in a mystery series has to be quite impulsive otherwise they'd just follow the rules and not solve the mystery, right? 

I guess my issue with Lila stems with how she handled (or didn't handle) her son's problems.  Trey's issues seemed to only be added to the story to give Lila a reason to have to move into her Mom's house in Inspiration Valley.  No real mention of Trey's issues were brought up later on and he seemed to get off scott free after putting his mother through so much.  You wrecked mom's car and trashed high school property?  Ok, we'll just move to Grandma's and all will be forgiven.  Not likely.  I would have liked her reaction to be written a little more realistically with a bit more substance.

Overall, I enjoyed this new mystery and feel this is a promising start to a new cozy mystery series.  While quite a few things seem to easily fall into place for Lila (ie. getting a new job and new BFF that loves to figure out mysteries with you all within a couple of days) it was still a good read.  If you can suspend reality for a bit and just hunker down with this nice light read I'm sure you'll enjoy this book. 

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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