Yesterday was the worst day of my life! The most awful thing happened as I hosted my very first program as Clover Ridge Library’s new Head of Programs and Events.
My boss Sally, the library’s director, wanted to cancel the program, but I urged her to keep it as scheduled. I thought the patrons would be intrigued by a discussion of an actual murder. Now Sally’s furious with me. She’ll probably fire me ASAP.
I came to Clover Ridge to stay with my great-aunt and uncle last spring when I was at a low point in my life. My fondest childhood memories were of the summers my brother and I spent on the family farm outside of town.
Since I had a library degree, Uncle Bosco, who’s on the library board, wrangled a job for me at the local library. I floated from one department to another, doing nothing more exciting than reshelving books. Time to move on, I decided, when Sally offered me the position of Head of Programs and Events.
I opened my mouth to turn down the job when a voice urged me not to be a fool. I owed it to myself to at least consider the offer.
The voice belonged to a ghost. Evelyn Havers used to work in the library as an aide and had died six years earlier. Once I got over the shock of talking to a real live—well, dead ghost, I decided Evelyn was right. Besides, as Aunt Harriet pointed out, I could always quit if I wanted.
And so I signed on. My new position demanded an entire makeover. I washed the purple dye out of in my hair and got out my sweaters and slacks to wear instead of my dark Goth clothes and Doc Martens. The change was easier than I’d expected. And except for being overwhelmed at first, which is kind of natural, I had no problem handling the work. Barbara, who’d had the job before me, taught me as much as she could cram into my brain the last few days before she left town.
Much more difficult was dealing with grumpy Dorothy Hawkins, the reference librarian, who happened to be Evelyn’s niece. Dorothy thought she should have gotten the position of Head of P and E instead of me and pulled all kinds of shenanigans to make me look bad. Good thing I managed to stay one step ahead of Dorothy.
The day that everything went south started out great. Barbara had arranged for retired Detective Al Buckley to come and speak about a local homicide that had never been solved. Al claimed he now knew who had murdered Laura Foster fifteen years earlier and he planned to write a book about it. He was going to discuss the case that evening at the library. Laura’s older son had called Sally, demanding that we cancel the program. He thought Al was full of hot air. He couldn’t find his mother’s killer when he was on the police force, so what made him think he could solve it now? Sally was worried enough to consider canceling the program, but I encouraged her to let it go on as planned. Reluctantly, she agreed.
I bought some really yummy cookies from our local bakery which my assistants and I set out on a table, along with coffee and tea, for the patrons to enjoy before Al spoke. I made up a plate of cookies for Al and left them on the table in front of the room. I liked Al the minute I met him. He was one of those people who really looked at you and listened to what you had to say.
The program had drawn a lot of attention. Every seat in the room was occupied. Laura Foster was a community favorite. She’d also worked in the library. Sally had me save the front row for Laura’s family and close friends.
I finally got everyone seated. Al began by asking the audience to share what they remembered about Laura. As he talked, I noticed he was eating a chocolate cookie. I hadn’t bought any chocolate cookies. He began to stammer. His head drooped. He slumped in his chair and died.
It’s my fault Al died! If I hadn’t insisted on holding this program, he’d still be alive today.
I’m determined to find out who murdered Al. So is Jared, Laura’s younger son. We’re convinced the person who poisoned Al also murdered his mother. We’ll start out by talking to everyone who’d been close to his mother. So many suspects! But we’ll find the killer in the end.
You can read more about Carrie in Death Overdue, the first book in the NEW “Haunted Library” mystery series.
Carrie Singleton is just about done with Clover Ridge, Connecticut until she’s offered a job as the head of programs and events at the spooky local library, complete with its own librarian ghost. Her first major event is a program presented by a retired homicide detective, Al Buckley, who claims he knows who murdered Laura Foster, a much-loved part-time library aide who was bludgeoned to death fifteen years earlier. As he invites members of the audience to share stories about Laura, he suddenly keels over and dies.
The medical examiner reveals that poison is what did him in and Carrie feels responsible for having surged forward with the program despite pushback from her director. Driven by guilt, Carrie’s determined to discover who murdered the detective, convinced it’s the same man who killed Laura all those years ago. Luckily for Carrie, she has a friendly, knowledgeable ghost by her side. But as she questions the shadows surrounding Laura’s case, disturbing secrets come to light and with each step Carrie takes, she gets closer to ending up like Al.
Now it’s due or die for Carrie in Death Overdue the delightful first in a new cozy series by Allison Brook.
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About the author
A former Spanish teacher, Marilyn Levinson is the author of mysteries, romantic suspense and novels for kids. She writes the Twin Lakes Mystery series and the Golden Age of Mystery Book Club Mystery series. Death Overdue, written as Allison Brook, is the first in her Haunted Library Mystery series. Library Journal has given the book a star review and named it a Pick of the Month. Blackstone has recorded an audiobook version of Death Overdue. Marilyn lives on Long Island, where many of her novels take place.
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