Better Late Than Never
Jenn McKinlay     

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Library Lover
Book: 7

In the latest Library Lover’s Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author ofA Likely Story, a decades overdue book puts library director Lindsey Norris hot on the trail of a cold case...
When the Briar Creek Public Library holds its first overdue book amnesty day—no fines for late returns—the volume of incoming materials is more than Lindsey and her staff can handle. In a bind, Lindsey drafts the crafternoon ladies to help check in and sort the stacks of books.
But one tardy tome catches her attention—a copy of J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, twenty years past due. When Lindsey looks up the borrower, she’s shocked to discover it was a murdered teacher named Candice Whitley, whose killer was never found.
Candice checked out the novel on the day she was murdered. Now Lindsey wonders if it could provide a clue to the decades-old cold case. No one noticed who brought the book back in, but could it be Candice’s killer? Lindsey is determined to catch the culprit one way or another, because justice for Candice Whitley is long overdue...

Lindsey Norris is proud to have organized Brian Creek Library’s first amnesty day for overdue book fines. Although it makes a lot of extra work for her and the other library employees, Lindsey is pleased over the number of books finding their way back to the library. Lindsey are her new employee Paula are especially excited when a copy of “The Catcher in the Rye” that was twenty years overdue is turned in. Lindsey wasn’t prepared for the reaction of long-time employee, Ms. Cole, however. Ms. Cole, who is a stickler for the rules, wasn’t happy with waiving fines, but Lindsey is shocked when the older woman comes close to fainting when she hears about the book’s return. Lindsey learns the book had been checked out by a popular high school teacher on the day she was murdered! Lindsey decides to do her own investigating into the decades-old murder, but finds herself in danger when this cold case starts to heat up.

I’ve missed a few of the books in this series, but have read a few of the prior books. Based on the books I have read, the series seem to be getting better with each book. Lindsey has matured and her interactions with others are more grown up. The love triangle with her, Mike “Sully” Sullivan, and Robbie Vine seems to be resolved by the end of the book, which is a welcome development since that dynamic didn’t show any of the three characters at their best. With Lindsey’s love life taken care of, the book can better focus on the investigation and the library, which is the perfect setting for a cozy mystery, and are the two areas in which Lindsey shines. The premise of an overdue library book being the clue to solving a murder is clever. The characters and dialogue between them are fun and realistic. Ms. Cole is more likeable in this book since she knew the victim and has a love interest of her own which makes her more human. Lindsey’s new employee Paula is quirky enough to be interesting without coming across as a caricature. Everything comes together to make this an interesting case and an enjoyable installment in the Library Lover’s series.

~ Christine