Murder of a Stacked Librarian

Genre:
Mystery
Rating:

There’s no place like Scumble River at Christmastime, and this year, school psychologist Skye Denison has twice as much to celebrate—and to do. In addition to the usual holiday frenzy, Skye’s wedding to police chief Wally Boyd is less than a week away—that is, if the groom isn’t too busy working to attend. The town’s sexy new librarian, Yvonne Osborn, has just been murdered, and the list of suspects is piling up faster than late fees on an overdue book.

Yvonne’s strict sense of right and wrong annoyed some townspeople and infuriated others. Did her high standards lead to her death? Skye is distracted by worries about what havoc the crazy Dooziers will wreak on her wedding day and whether she’ll fit into her dress. But Skye can’t afford to leave any page unturned because unless she works quickly to expose the scheming killer, her happy ending may be put on permanent hold.…

Series: Scumble River Mystery (Book 16)

Review

Skye Denison and Wally Boyd’s long awaited wedding promises to be the biggest social event of the year for the small town of Scumble River, Illinois. All that pressure is about to cause Skye to crack. It’s bad enough finalizing all the small details of the wedding and worrying if her interfering mother is planning something behind her back, but now a murder investigation threatens to derail the wedding. Skye jumps in to help Wally solve the murder of a “by the book” librarian who looked like a movie star but ran the library like a tyrant, strictly enforcing every minor rule. At first it seemed nobody would want to murder a law-abiding librarian, but soon Wally and Skye have a surplus of suspects, but not much time to catch the murderer before their upcoming wedding.

The first Scumble River book was published in July 2000 and the series still going strong. Even though the last couple of books have been a little disappointing, the series has gotten a second wind with Skye and Wally finally making plans to tie the knot. This book is well-written and author Denise Swanson is an expert at cute, clever chapter headings that are related to the storyline. Chapter titles such as “Due as I Say” and “By Book or by Crook” are amusing and tie into the events that unfold in that chapter. Since school isn’t in session, we don’t get to see Skye working with her students, which is a part of this series I usually enjoy. However, the various wedding details add plenty of interest in addition to the murder.

I’ve always thought Wally and Skye make a great team when they are investigating together, and I know they cared about each other. However, I haven’t always seen the chemistry between them. After reading this book, I became a believer in the couple.  In a touching scene near the beginning of the book, Wally tells Skye she is “the treasure of my life” and Skye then tells him, “I never thought I could feel this way about anyone or that anyone would feel this way about me.” Who wouldn’t root for this couple after this sweet exchange? Apparently Skye’s former landlord Alma Griggs isn’t on board. Skye inherited her house from Alma and her spirit seems to be there to stay and has made it her mission to sabotage any attempts Wally and Skye make to turn their romance up a notch from kissing and cuddling. Although I enjoy a cozy mystery with a good supernatural twist, I’ve never enjoyed this sub-plot. It is completely out of place in this otherwise realistic series.

Another downside to the series is Skye’s mother May. At one point Skye tells Wally, “I know people think I don’t have a backbone where she’s concerned…” I agree that it seems Skye often allows her mother to bully her and May’s outrageous interfering hit a new low this time. After one even that perhaps is supposed to be amusing, I found May to be more unlikeable than ever. I don’t doubt she loves Skye, but I dislike her meddling so much, it ruins part of the fun of the book.

If May and the deceased Mrs. Griggs can stay out of Skye’s business, this will continue to be one of my favorite series. New readers may not be able to appreciate some of the sub-plots, but would still be able to enjoy the book. Although it’s not a culinary mystery, the book would be a good choice for fans of Joanne Fluke. Anyone who has followed this series will want to see how things turn out for Skye and Wally.

Reviewed by Christine K.