A Day in the Life of Raymond Ambler by Con Lehane

Murder at the 42nd Street LibraryOccupation: Crime fiction curator/librarian

Ambler looked up from his work —writing finding aids for a backlog of crime fiction collections that hadn’t been processed—to see Kay Donnelly standing at the reading room door. Her face showed the strain she was under. Quite a bit younger than Wagner, her boss, probably in her mid-thirties, she was, as he’d told Cosgrove, tightly wound. Yet something in her bruised expression was appealing, a depth of understanding or possibly sympathy in her eyes, the kind of understanding that’s a product of having understood some pain of your own.

“Hi,” he said cheerfully. He didn’t want to bring up the murder but thought it disingenuous to say nothing. He gestured toward a chair. “Sit down, Professor Donnelly. Kay isn’t it? Can I call you Kay? I’m sorry about your ex-husband’s death.”

She frowned, making it clear she didn’t want to sit down, didn’t want to be called Kay, and didn’t want to talk about her ex-husband’s murder. Flashing a smile as sincere as a banker’s handshake, she said, “Dr. Wagner doesn’t understand how the Yates collection is organized. He wants you to arrange for me to go into the stacks, so I can see the entire collection.”

Ambler scowled. Harry made him liaison between Wagner and the library staff, despite his objection, based on logic available only to Harry.

Kay Donnelly’s rigidity—what they used to call uptightness—irritated him. “Sorry. Readers don’t have access to the stacks, not even renowned scholars like Max.”

“I’m sure exceptions have been made—” Her face was a mask.

“If they have, I didn’t make them. We haven’t processed the collection. No one could make sense of it. Max knows that.”

He could see anger seeping around the edges of the mask. “What should I tell Dr. Wagner . . . that you won’t help?”

She phrased the question carefully, a sneaky rebuke she couldn’t be challenged on. He wasn’t much into character analysis, but her style was that of an angry, aggrieved person who ducked out of the bushes, took her shot, and ducked back in, rather than go toe-to-toe with someone. He couldn’t blame her if she spent a lot of time around Max Wagner.

“Try Harry.”

After she left, he sat for a few moments wondering if he’d been chatting with a murderer. Cosgrove didn’t say so, but according to the homicide Book of Hoyle—she’d be at the top of the list of suspects.


Murder at 42nd Street Library is the first book in the NEW Raymond Ambler mystery series, published by Minotaur Books, April 2016.

This first book in an irresistible new series introduces librarian and reluctant sleuth Raymond Ambler, a doggedly curious fellow who uncovers murderous secrets hidden behind the majestic marble façade of New York City’s landmark 42nd Street Library.

Murder at the 42nd Street Library follows Ambler and his partners in crime-solving as they track down a killer, shining a light on the dark deeds and secret relationships that are hidden deep inside the famous flagship building at the corner of 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue.

In their search for the reasons behind the murder, Ambler and his crew uncover sinister, and profoundly disturbing, relationships among the scholars studying in the iconic library. Included among the players are a celebrated mystery writer who has donated his papers to the library’s crime fiction collection; that writer’s long-missing daughter, a prominent New York society woman with a hidden past, and more than one of Ambler’s colleagues at the library. Shocking revelations lead inexorably to the traumatic events that follow―the reading room will never be the same.

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Meet the author
Con Lehane’s, Murder at the 42nd Street Library, Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books, is the first in a new series featuring Raymond Ambler, curator of the 42nd Street Library’s crime fiction collection. On the horizon as well is a story, “Stella by Starlight,” in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. Lehane is also the author of a series featuring New York City bartender Brian McNulty. Over the years, he (Lehane, that is) has been a college professor, union organizer, labor journalist, and has tended bar at two-dozen or so drinking establishments. He teaches fiction writing and mystery writing at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Murder at 42nd Street Library. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end April 29, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.

37 responses to “A Day in the Life of Raymond Ambler by Con Lehane

  1. Doward Wilson

    Thanks for introducing us to another author and new series. I love the library theme. Thanks for the chance to win.

  2. I would love to win a print copy of Murder at 42nd Street Library. Thank you for the chance.

  3. A new to me author and a first in a series about a library. A must read.

  4. I always get excited about new series. Thanks for the chance to win.

  5. Kristie Dilcher

    This new series looks great! Thanks for the giveaway!

  6. Murder at a library sounds like fascinating read to me. Looking forward to reading this new series.

  7. This sounds like a great book – what more could you wanted in a story other than murder, a library and books. Thank you for the chance to win

  8. Love any book that has to do with libraries and books.

  9. Linda Kuzminczuk

    My TBR list keeps growing with all these wonderful new mysteries. Thanks for the giveaway.

  10. This is a new autho to me r with a new series. This is a win win. The story sounds great. I can just hear them in the library saying, “and the plot thickens.” I will be adding this t my tbr list. Thanks for the chance.

  11. Peggy Hyndman

    Murder at 42nd Street Library sounds great. Thank you for introducing me to Con Lehane’s books. I’m adding the Raymond Ambler and Bartender Brian McNulty mystery series to my eve rgrowing TBR list.

  12. Libraries! I love libraries! And mysteries! I love mysteries!

  13. Wow…great start!!! It’s now on my list at the library…

  14. Love the 42 st.library

  15. I’ve been reading many good things about this book. And now it’s on my book list.

  16. I know The Writer’s Center where the author teaches! A book featuring a librarian cum sleuth appeals to me. Thanks for the chance to enter!

  17. Barbara Hackel

    What an appealing book! From cover through plot it intrigues me. Thanks Dru for today’s “find” and to the author for a chance to win a copy,

  18. As a librarian I love mysteries set in a library setting. What a better place to find answers. Sounds like a fun read!

  19. Thank you for the introduction to this mystery and Con Lehane’s book. Libraries are an ideal setting to base a story in. I’m sure it will be a wonderful read. robeader53@yahoo.com

  20. elainehroberson

    Looking forward to reading this book. Thanks for a chance to win a copy.

  21. wendynewcomb

    Ohhh, this sounds like a good read!

    wfnren at aol dot com

  22. Only had the opportunity to visit NYC twice but the library was on my list of must-see and loved it. Looking forward to reading this mystery.

  23. What a marvelous idea–to highlight the NY library.

  24. Wow, whats not to like, 1st in series and the NY library, hope I win, lol

  25. Sounds wonderful. I love libraries. I suppose most of the book is elsewhere, but it still sounds exciting.

  26. What a wonderful idea! Love books about libraries and books set in New York!

  27. Love books and libraries.

  28. Murder at the 42nd Street Library sounds like a great start to a new mystery series. I really enjoy libraries in mysteries, they kind of go together. Thanks for the giveaway.

  29. Mary Jane H.

    I couldn’t pass this one up! It sounds like an exciting book and I love that it’s in a library.

  30. Candy Kennedy

    I love new series. Hope to win this one.

  31. This new series should resonate well with all us bibliophiles. Thanks for the chance to get into it at the beginning.

  32. Sounds very cool, and a trip back home for me. I loved going to that library!

  33. books and libraries in a mystery? You now have my attention. Thanks for the chance

  34. rosemary pfeiffer

    another new style for me..the man is a sleuth this time..sounds interesting..thanks

  35. What a great setting for a new debut! Thanks for the chance to win!

  36. This looks like a fantastic mystery. Congratulations to Con Lehane on this debut. Sure to be a hit!

  37. Oh I LOVE this cover….
    Thank you for the giveaway….