Friday, March 18, 2016

REVIEW: Killer Librarian by Mary Lou Kirwin

Killer Librarian
Author: Mary Lou Kirwin
308 pages
Cozy Mystery

Karen Nash has been preparing for a trip abroad with her boyfriend for months. But just hours before their scheduled flight, her boyfriend breaks up with her. Nash decides to go on the trip anyway. She solaces herself with thoughts of killing the assholic, trip-cancelling Dave when he shows up at the airport with a cute bimbo on his arm. Nash's murderous thoughts come back to haunt her later when she discovers a drunken joke may have set a murderer after Dave, and a guest at the B&B where she is staying dies of poisoning.

Killer Librarian is an enjoyable, quick read. I did have a couple issues with the plot. Nash seems to spend a lot of money (last minute round-trip airline ticket to England, dropping a week's salary on a shawl, spending $350 on a book, etc). And it's a bit doubtful that a boyfriend-stealing bimbo could just drop everything and jet off to England on the spur of the moment with an aging, mid-life crisis plumber. At one point, Nash believes that a drunken comment about Dave has caused a hit-man to target her former boyfriend. Hit-men require payment to bump off people. They don't just go about targeting balding plumbers who dump their girlfriends out of a sense of justice. Some of the time Nash just came off as a ninny. A 40-something librarian with one prior failed marriage would understand men better, and certainly wouldn't think she had inadvertently hired a hit-man while flirting in a pub. Dave, The Bimbo & the other guests at the Bed & Breakfast are all pretty much stereotypical characters. There really was very little character development.

The book really isn't a cozy mystery. It's a light romance. The story breaks free from cozy formula. There are no cops, no investigation, no real sleuthing. But, the novel pretty much follows romance novel formula instead: [Girl loses boyfriend to bimbo, girl meets other man, girl starts to get over former lover, girl confronts bimbo, girl has choice between old lover and new guy. Will she choose new guy? Or go back to old lover? All loose ends tied up by the end of the book.]. Because the story follows the romance formula, the mystery portion of the plot was not the main focus of the characters and was solved almost as an after-thought so that the romance angle could reach it's conclusion without that being in the way. I think the book may have developed a bit deeper plotline if the story had followed one genre or the other. The mystery was light because of the romance. And the romance was light because of the mystery. Neither angle really developed much detail or depth. But.....this is a cozy mystery/"light'' romance, not a tome of heavy fiction. Great beach read or afternoon diversion, not a timeless classic.

That being said, I enjoyed the book. Nash's musings about bumping off Dave were cute, and the characters were likable despite not being developed past stereotype. I enjoyed the book references and descriptions of the bookshops, pubs and museums that Nash visited on her trip. All in all, it was a cute, simple, enjoyable,  afternoon read.

I liked the story enough to try the second book in this series. I hope it's a bit heavier on the mystery angle next time.

And, yeah, the karma bus visits Assholic Dave at the end of the book. Full stop. No spoilers....just letting readers know he doesn't get away with being an asshat for very long. Total comeuppance.

My rating: 6/10
Ages 10+
No sex. No cussing. No violence. Light read.

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