Review: Past Due for Murder (A Blue Ridge Library Mystery #3) by Victoria Gilbert
Source: ARC courtesy of Crooked Lane Books. Thank you!
Publication: February 12, 2019 by Crooked Lane Books
Spring has sprung in quaint Taylorsford, Virginia, and the mayor has revived the town’s long-defunct May Day celebration to boost tourism. As part of the festivities, library director Amy Webber is helping to organize a research project and presentation by a local folklore expert. All seems well at first—but spring takes on a sudden chill when a university student inexplicably vanishes during a bonfire.
The local police cast a wide net to find the missing woman, but in a shocking turn of events, Amy’s swoon-worthy neighbor Richard Muir becomes a person of interest in the case. Not only is Richard the woman’s dance instructor, he also doesn’t have an alibi for the night the student vanished—or at least not one he’ll divulge, even to Amy.
When the missing student is finally discovered lost in the mountains, with no memory of recent events—and a dead body lying nearby—an already disturbing mystery takes on a sinister new hue. Blessed with her innate curiosity and a librarian’s gift for research, Amy may be the only one who can learn the truth in Past Due for Murder, Victoria Gilbert’s third charming Blue Ridge Library mystery.
The third book in Victoria Gilbert‘s wonderful A Blue Ridge Library Mystery series, Past Due for Murder returns readers to the town of Taylorsford, Virginia, where library director (and amateur sleuth) Amy Webber is participating in her town’s May Day celebrations.
Amy has been assisting folklorist and Clarion university lecturer named Mona and three university students under Mona’s tutelage, with research for the event. As Mona regales a group of young Scouts with the tale of the tragic disappearance of two local girls- due to the lure of fae and mountain lights- Amy and her library colleague Sunny are distracted by the news that one of Mona’s student assistants, Lacey Jacobs, has not been heard of in a few days. Pretty soon the local police force, led by Amy’s friend Chief Deputy Brad Tucker, gets involved in what becomes a missing-persons case. Lacey’s case soon extends its investigative reach directly into Amy’s past (with the involvement of her former boyfriend and current Clarion professor Charles Bartos) and present (with the involvement of her current love and dance instructor at Clarion, Richard Muir). Strange complications begin to present themselves in Lacey’s missing persons case: one of which includes the fact that Richard gets increasingly cagey and refuses to admit to Amy his whereabouts the night Lacey supposedly when missing; the second of which includes the sudden and frequent reappearance of the rather insufferable Charles Bartos back in Amy’s life.
Similarly to book one (and to a lesser degree, book two) Past Due for Murder takes a deeper dive not only into Taylorsford’s history, but also into Amy’s past. When we meet Amy in the series opener, she has already left Charles Bartos and that stage of her life behind; it’s so interesting to see her interact with a past partner, and see just how much of Amy’s life has changed and progressed- arguably all for the better. Readers who adore the secondary characters in the series- such as Amy’s Aunt Lydia as well as the nebulous businessman Kurt Kendrick- will love their appearances in Past Due for Murder, and likely enjoy meeting some new townspeople, Amy’s parents, Richard’s parents…(and a new kitten that Richard adopts named Loie!).
As ever, Gilbert’s series is absolutely delightful, so skillfully balancing charm and suspense with an enticing combination of characters and backstory. Well-written, featuring an intriguing and complex central mystery that builds to an exciting finale, Past Due for Murder is great. Readers who have enjoyed the previous A Blue Ridge Library Mystery series entries will likely adore this latest; likewise, readers who are on the search for a new cozy mystery series and/or contemporary mystery series featuring a terrific amateur sleuth might do well to crack into A Murder for the Books, the fantastic series opener.
I received a copy of this title courtesy of Crooked Lane Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and comments are my own.