Read It and Weep (A Library Lover's Mystery)

BOOK: Read It and Weep (A Library Lover's Mystery)
7.81Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub


Book, Line, and Sinker

“Jenn McKinlay skillfully mixes libraries and small-town life in her . . . entertaining series.
Book, Line, and Sinker
is an outstanding cozy mystery . . . featuring engaging characters and an intriguing story.”

Lesa’s Book Critiques

“[A] quickly paced, tightly plotted, intricately crafted mystery that is action-packed and will keep you guessing until you’ve reached the final chapters.”

The Season

“Oh man, what a great book, and that ending, wow . . . A great read that I wish could have gone on forever, and now I look forward to the next book in this delightfully charming series.”

Dru’s Book Musings

Due or Die

“[A] terrific addition to an intelligent, fun, and lively series.”

—Miranda James,
New York Times
bestselling author of the Cat in the Stacks Mysteries

“What a great read! I can’t wait to go back to the first title in this cozy, library-centered series. McKinlay has been a librarian, and her snappy story line, fun characters, and young library director with backbone make for a winning formula. Add a dog named Heathcliff and library programming suggestions—well, it’s quite a value-added package!”

Library Journal

“McKinlay’s writing is well paced, her dialogue feels very authentic, and I found
Due or Die
almost impossible to put down.”


Books Can Be Deceiving

“When murder disturbs the quiet community of Briar Creek on the ocean’s edge, librarian Lindsey Norris springs into action to keep her best friend from being charged with the crime. A sparkling setting, lovely characters, books, knitting, and chowder! What more could any reader ask?”

—Lorna Barrett,
New York Times
bestselling author of
Murder on the Half Shelf
and the Booktown Mysteries

“With a remote coastal setting as memorable as Manderley and a kindhearted, loyal librarian as the novel’s heroine,
Books Can Be Deceiving
is sure to charm cozy readers everywhere.”

—Ellery Adams, author of the Books by the Bay Mysteries


Red Velvet Revenge

“You’re in for a real treat with Jenn McKinlay’s Cupcake Bakery Mystery. I gobbled it right up.”

—Julie Hyzy,
New York Times
bestselling author of
the White House Chef Mysteries

Death by the Dozen

Great characters, and a terrific, tightly written plot.”

Lesa’s Book Critiques

Buttercream Bump Off

“A charmingly entertaining story . . . [A] deliciously thrilling mystery.”

Fresh Fiction

Sprinkle with Murder

“A tender cozy full of warm and likable characters and . . . tasty concoctions.”

Publishers Weekly
(starred review)

Berkley Prime Crime titles by Jenn McKinlay

Cupcake Bakery Mysteries






Library Lover’s Mysteries





Hat Shop Mysteries



Jenn McKinlay


Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) LLC

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014

USA • Canada • UK • Ireland • Australia • New Zealand • India • South Africa • China

A Penguin Random House Company


A Berkley Prime Crime Book / published by arrangement with the author

Copyright © 2013 by Jennifer McKinlay Orf.

“Readers Guide” by Jenn McKinlay copyright © 2013 by Jennifer McKinlay Orf.

Excerpt from
On Borrowed Time
by Jenn McKinlay copyright © 2013 by Jennifer McKinlay Orf.

Penguin supports copyright. Copyright fuels creativity, encourages diverse voices, promotes free speech, and creates a vibrant culture. Thank you for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying with copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning, or distributing any part of it in any form without permission. You are supporting writers and allowing Penguin to continue to publish books for every reader.

Berkley Prime Crime Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,

PRIME CRIME and the PRIME CRIME logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) LLC.

For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group.

a division of Penguin Group (USA) LLC,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

eBook ISBN: 978-1-101-62660-3


Berkley Prime Crime mass-market edition / November 2013

Cover illustration by Julia Green.

Cover design by Rita Frangie.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

PUBLISHER’S NOTE: The recipes contained in this book are to be followed exactly as written. The publisher is not responsible for your specific health or allergy needs that may require medical supervision. The publisher is not responsible for any adverse reactions to the recipes contained in this book.

For my pop, Donald K. McKinlay,
an artist who taught me by example to be tenacious about my craft. Thanks, Dad! Love you lots!


Praise for the
New York Times
Bestselling Library Lover’s Mysteries

Also by Jenn McKinlay

Title Page





Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31


The Briar Creek Library Guide to Crafternoons

Readers Guide for
Pride and Prejudice

Card-Making Idea


Special Excerpt from
On Borrowed Time


Knuckle bumps to my editor, Kate Seaver; her assistant, Katherine Pelz; and my agent, Jessica Faust. They make up the best team a writer could ever hope to have. Also, a special thank-you to my cover artist, Julia Green, whose gorgeous covers make me step up my writing game to make sure my words are worthy of her brilliance. Hopefully, I’m getting there.

As always, I have to give a shout-out to the Hub and the Hooligans, Chris, Wyatt and Beckett. Your patience, support and willingness to listen are invaluable and I can never thank you enough. I love you forever.

Finally, I have to thank my favorite librarian—my mom, Susan N. McKinlay, for instilling in me a love of books and reading. Second to loving me unconditionally, you gave me the greatest gift a child like me could ever have.


f course you’re all going to audition for the play,” Violet La Rue said. “It’s the kickoff to our community theater season.”

Lindsey Norris put down her scissors and glanced across the table at Violet. Violet’s warm-brown eyes sparkled and her brown skin glowed. She was flushed with excitement for the upcoming production, which would be her directorial debut.

Lindsey knew it was going to dampen Violet’s enthusiasm to learn that the rest of the crafternooners, with the exception of her daughter, Charlene La Rue, and the children’s librarian, Beth Stanley, were not as enamored with being on stage as she was. Violet was a former Broadway actress, and her daughter was a local news anchor. They lived for being in front of an audience. As for Beth, she had been instilling the love of reading in children for ten years with her dynamic story times. She lit up in front of an audience. The rest of the crafternooners, well, it wasn’t really their thing.

This theory was confirmed when Lindsey glanced around the table and noted that both Mary Murphy and Nancy Peyton had their heads down, completely engrossed with their card-making project.

The group had decided to get a jump on the holidays by making greeting cards. It was only September but judging by the mess Lindsey was making, she was going to need the next three months just to crank out a few decent cards.

The crafternooners met every Thursday at the Briar Creek Public Library, of which Lindsey was the director, to work on a craft while they discussed the latest book that they had read.

This week they were discussing
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
by William Shakespeare. It wasn’t their standard fare, but since Violet was directing the play in the Briar Creek Community Theater, they had all agreed to read it and give her their input as she was gearing up for auditions in the coming week.

“I think I have a crush on Puck. He’s so charming. He carries the whole play,” Beth Stanley said. Story time had just gotten out and she entered the room with a monkey puppet on one hand and wearing a banana suit.

It was no surprise that she liked Puck; with her diminutive stature and her black hair styled in a pixie cut, Beth reminded Lindsey of a sprite herself.

“Who in town would make a good Puck?” Nancy Peyton asked. Her blue eyes twinkled when her gaze met Lindsey’s. “I’d offer up my nephew, Charlie, but he’s too busy with the latest incarnation of his rock band.”

Lindsey winced. Nancy wasn’t kidding. Lindsey rented the third-floor apartment of Nancy’s three-story captain’s house, and her nephew, Charlie, lived on the floor between them. Usually, he only practiced once a week, but with the new band learning his material, practices had been more frequent, and both Lindsey and Nancy had taken to wearing earplugs while at home. The only one who didn’t seem to mind the noise was Lindsey’s dog, Heathcliff. As soon as he heard the bass beat of the drums, he began to wag and howl as if he were the lead singer.

“How about my brother, Sully?” Mary Murphy asked. She’d brought the food for today’s crafternoon from her restaurant the Blue Anchor, so it was a feast of crab salad sandwiches and sweet tea. Lindsey turned and scowled at her. She knew Mary had been just looking for an opportunity to bring up Sully in the conversation. Lindsey had been dating Captain Mike Sullivan, known to his friends and family as Sully, up until a few months ago, when he’d decided to give her some space—space she had not requested. And so, they had spent the summer apart.

“Did you know the earliest reference to
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
is from 1598?” she asked. “No one knows exactly when it was written.”

“Nice segue . . . not,” Charlene La Rue said. “Are you telling us you don’t even want to picture Sully in tights?”

As soon as she said it, Lindsey’s brain flashed on a mental picture of Sully in tights and tunic with a wreath of flowers on his mahogany curls. It did not help that the man had a sailor’s muscular build and that tights on him would not be a hardship on the eyes.

“I am so not answering that question,” she said, at which the others all laughed. When they quieted down, she couldn’t help but ask, “How is he, anyway?”

“Pitiful,” Mary said. “He worked like a dog all summer, almost as if he was trying to keep his mind off something or someone.”

“Humph,” Lindsey snorted. “Well, he wouldn’t have had to if he hadn’t dumped me just because he wrongly thought I still had feelings for my ex.”

“Lindsey, I know I shouldn’t butt in,” Mary said. Her blue eyes, so like her brother Sully’s, were full of anxiety. “But if you knew the things in Sully’s past that make him—”

“No,” Lindsey interrupted. “Don’t tell me. If there is something Sully needs to share with me, he has to do it himself.”

The crafternooners all made noises of agreement, but Mary looked as if she desperately wanted to say more. Lindsey shook her head.

“Don’t worry,” she said. “It’s fine. I’m fine. Everything is fine.”

“Fine? My experience with the fairer sex has proven that when a woman says she’s fine, she is anything but,” a male voice with a charming British accent said from the door.

The crafternooners all turned as one. Standing in the doorway was a man with reddish-blond hair, twinkling green eyes, a square jaw and a build that could easily carry off a pair of tights or anything else he wanted to dress it in.

“Robbie!” Violet leapt up from her seat and crossed the room to enfold the man in a warm embrace.

“Violet, my love,” he said. “You’re more beautiful than ever.”

Charlene followed her mother and hugged the man, too.

Obviously he was a friend of the La Rue family. Beth, who was sitting beside Lindsey, nudged her arm repeatedly until Lindsey turned toward her.

“Do you know who that is?” she hissed.

“No, no idea.”

“It’s Robbie Vine,” Nancy whispered from across the table. “The famous British actor.”

“Oh my,” Mary breathed.

Lindsey glanced at her friends. All three of them looked utterly starstruck. She glanced back at the man. He was incredibly handsome, and when he smiled at her, his mouth was bracketed by dimples that seemed to appear just for her, making it a very personal sort of smile.

He looked familiar, and then she remembered the movie she had just seen him in. There had been a shirtless scene that had been, for lack of a better word, revealing.

“Let me introduce you to my friends,” Violet said and she tucked her hand around Robbie’s elbow and brought him to the table. “Ladies, I’d like for you to meet—”

“Hello, Violet!” a voice interrupted her and they all turned to the door. “Oh, and Robbie’s here, too. How perfect.”

“Harvey?” Violet asked as if she couldn’t believe what she was seeing. “Harvey Wargus?”

She looked down her elegant nose at the stubby little man who entered the room. His dark-brown hair was parted in the middle and flopped down over the sides of his head in a sag that was repeated by the brown mustache over his upper lip. He had a long torso and short legs and a large bottom, which added to his overall droopy appearance.

“Well, if I didn’t know better, I’d think we were having a reunion,” Robbie said. Then he turned and glared at the little man. “But of course I do know better because there is no way in hell you’d ever be invited to any reunion of ours.”

“What are you doing here, Harvey?” Violet asked.

Lindsey glanced at the man. Now she remembered him. He had, at one time, been a theater critic in New York City. He’d been on staff at one of the larger entertainment papers when word got out that he was bribable, particularly by up-and-coming young actresses looking for some positive ink. His career was ruined when the boyfriend of a fourteen-year-old actress, who had been set up with Wargus by her very own mother, turned him in to the police.

Harvey pushed up his glasses with the ring finger of his right hand and fixed a perturbed gaze on Violet and Robbie.

“When I heard through the grapevine that Violet La Rue and Robbie Vine were teaming up again, I got myself assigned to review the show. I must say I am really looking forward to it.”

“Who on earth would hire a pervert like you?” Violet demanded.

“Oh, haven’t you heard?” he asked. “I’m working for Sterling Buchanan—you know, the multimedia mogul? I believe
know him quite well, Violet.”

Violet reared back as if he’d slapped her, and Charlene gasped. She took her mother’s hand in hers and squeezed it tight.

Beth looked confused, and asked, “Who is Sterling Buchanan?”

Violet closed her eyes, and Charlene and Robbie exchanged a glance over her head. He glared at Harvey and then gave Charlene a small nod.

“He’s my father,” Charlene said.

BOOK: Read It and Weep (A Library Lover's Mystery)
7.81Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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