Monday, May 14, 2018

Better Off Read - Cozy Mystery Review

Rating: Good
Source: NetGalley

When her best hope of saving her storm-damaged library is found murdered, senior librarian Cleo Watkins hits the road in her bookmobile in search of justice.

Septuagenarian librarian Cleo Watkins won’t be shushed when an upstart young mayor threatens to permanently shelve her tiny town’s storm-damaged library. She takes to her bookmobile, Words on Wheels, to collect allies and rally library support throughout Catalpa Springs, Georgia.

However, Cleo soon rolls into trouble. A major benefactor known for his eccentric DIY projects requests all available books on getting away with murder. He’s no Georgia peach, and Cleo wonders if she should worry about his plans. She knows she should when she discovers him bludgeoned and evidence points to her best friend, Mary-Rose Garland.

Sure of Mary-Rose’s innocence, Cleo applies her librarian’s sleuthing skills to the case, assisted by friends, family, and the dapper antiquarian bookseller everyone keeps calling her boyfriend. Evidence stacks up, but a killer is overdue to strike again. With lives and her library on the line, Cleo must shift into high gear to close the book on murder in Better Off Read, the charming Bookmobile series debut by Nora Page.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:
  I love librarians as main characters in mysteries and love the Bookmobile twist!

My Impression:  
What I Liked:  
I always enjoy a bookish setting and a bookish setting on wheels was even more fun.

I liked that Cleo was a bit older (75) than the standard cozy mystery sleuth.  She is also smart and really uses her research skills to her advantage

I always enjoy a small town setting and this one was very well done.   I felt like the south Georgia/Florida panhandle area was well represented.  I also like that there are the usual small town financial problems.

The mystery itself was enjoyable with a logical and well wrapped up ending.

What I Didn't Like:
This definitely felt like the first book in the series pacing-wise.  The beginning felt a little slow as there was so much to be introduced and I didn't feel really hooked until at least a third of the way in.

There were a lot of characters dumped in and at times it was a little challenging to keep them all straight.

This was a good mystery with a likable main character and a great premise.  While I did have a few issues with this book I feel like most were first book problems and the flow will be better in the 2nd book.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?
  Yes I would.  I enjoyed this book  and look forward to seeing more Bookmobile hijinks.

Would I Recommend this Book?
  If you enjoy cozy mysteries this is definitely a series with a lot of promise.


  1. I think your experience with this one reflects a couple of other reviews that I've read about it. I'm interested, but will keep your thoughts in mind. Sometimes, the first book in a series does get a little heavy on character set-up. Love the bookmobile angle.

  2. This may sound weird, but it kind of makes me cringe when Cleo gets worried when the patron requests all the books about getting way with murder. Patron 's privacy and right to read whatever they want is soooooo big in library land!!!

    Anyway, glad you liked this, even if it was a little off in pacing.

  3. I just joined Netgalley after seeing so many cool books you get. Haven't requested any yet though.

    I like books that feature librarians but I think I'd want a grittier read.

  4. I think a Bookmobile would be awesome. Did you ever see the American Girl movie Kit Kittredge: An American Girl? There's a book mobile in that one and the bookseller (she more gives em away) is a riot. Good movie. anyway- sounds great, and nice to have an older protag, as well as the south GA/ FL area.

  5. I like library related cozies too, especially if they do it right. Sometimes I find the older the protagonist, the spicier and livelier she is than a young one.

  6. I like how this one goes and I guess a first book does have info dump often. It can challenge the old brain. Love librarians and bookish books though.

  7. I've been wanting to kick start a cosy reading mystery, but honestly I was a bit overwhelmed... I may just give this one ago, even if it isn't a glowing review. I'll be honest, I'm sold on the fact it has a bookish theme and bookmobile. Haha! Thanks for sharing.

  8. Hopefully this series will improve as it goes on. I do like the sound of this one!