Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Spook in the Stacks - Cozy Mystery Review

Rating: Good
Source: NetGalley

Halloween in North Carolina’s Outer Banks becomes seriously tricky when librarian Lucy Richardson stumbles across something extra unusual in the rare books section: a dead body.

Wealthy businessman Jay Ruddle is considering donating his extensive collection of North Carolina historical documents to the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library, but the competition for the collection is fierce. Unfortunately, while the library is hosting a lecture on ghostly legends, Jay becomes one of the dearly departed in the rare books section. Now, it’s up to Lucy Richardson and her fellow librarians to bone up on their detective skills and discover who is responsible for this wicked Halloween homicide.

Meanwhile, very strange things are happening at the library—haunted horses are materializing in the marsh, the lights seem to have an eerie life of their own, and the tiny crew of a model ship appears to move around when no one is watching. Is Lucy at her wit’s end? Or can it be that the Bodie Island Lighthouse really is haunted?

With The Legend of Sleepy Hollow on everyone’s minds and ghoulish gossip on everyone’s lips, Lucy will need to separate the clues from the boos if she wants to crack this case without losing her head in The Spook in the Stacks, the delightful fourth in national bestseller Eva Gates’ Lighthouse Library mysteries.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:
  There's a library in a lighthouse!  I couldn't resist it.

My Impression:
  I love bookish settings for a cozy mystery series and this may be my favorite setting ever.  I especially enjoyed that Gates pulls in both the challenges of living/having a library in a lighthouse and the history.  It really made the place come alive.  I really enjoyed all the Halloween parties and other fun.  I'll be keeping an eye out to see what my library does for Halloween this year.

Lucy is a good main character.  She enjoys her job as a librarian and enjoys her small apartment in the upper floor of the lighthouse.  Her relationship with Connor felt genuine.  He's a good guy and she really cares for him but his job as mayor - especially during an election year makes for some challenges that aren't always easy to deal with.  She doesn't always react the right way but I think I would probably make very similar decisions in her situation so she was easy to relate to.

Since the murder did occur in the library itself it made sense for Lucy and to a lesser extent her boss, Bertie to get pulled into the investigation.  I liked that the primary investigator discouraged her from investigating and wouldn't give her any inside tips but at the same time did take the time to listen to what she had and didn't treat her like she was stupid.  I hate when that happens in a cozy.  I was a bit surprised by the conclusion which was a nice surprise.

I didn't love the paranormal aspect as I didn't feel like it was fully developed or fully explained.  It was just kind of there.  I also would have liked Ronald's character to get more page time but that's mostly because I love children's librarians and love reading about the programs geared towards children at fictional libraries.

Overall, this was a really fun read that made me want a pecan pie bar and a visit to the Outer Banks.  It was fast paced and fun with a likable main character, a solid mystery, and a fantastic setting.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?
  Absolutely!  This was the 4th book in the series but I had no problem jumping in here.  I'm looking forward to reading the first three mysteries while I wait for book 5.

Would I Recommend this Book?
  If you enjoy cozy mysteries - especially those with a bookish setting I think you'd enjoy this one.


  1. I keep meaning to try this series as Eva Gates is also Vicki Delany. I love her series set in British Columbia, but it's not a cozy series. More traditional with a police team. I've asked Vicki if she will write any more of that Canadian series and she's told me she's doing very well with her cozies right now. So...I guess no. Oh well. A library in a lighthouse - lovely concept.

  2. Love the cover of this one and... a library in a lighthouse, yes to that big time.

  3. Sometimes I think cozies are a pretty good advertisement for certain areas- in this case the Outer Banks, sounds like! I know I was reading a series by Ellery Adams that made me want to visit North Carolina! Anyway this sounds great, and I love the sound of the library in a lighthouse. Cool cover!

  4. This sounds like a fun fall read for me; thanks for sharing.

  5. That a delightful premise! Thank you for sharing, Katherine.

  6. I really enjoy this series so I am glad you got to give it a try. :)

  7. I do love the idea of a library in a lighthouse too. I haven't read any of the other books in this series, but am looking forward to this one! I am glad you liked it. Hopefully the paranormal aspect is stronger in other books--if it's there.

  8. I read the first few books in the series and loved it. I really need to catch up. This one sounds really good.

  9. I had loved the idea of a library in a lighthouse. I was underwhelmed with the first book in the series. I don't know if I'd read the second installment. I think I would have liked the cozy more if ALL of the librarian staff was a team solving the murders.

  10. I do love it when I am surprised by a book's ending. I like the sound of this one with the library in the lighthouse plus Halloween is always fun. Great review!