A sleuthing librarian confronts a case uncomfortably close to home.
Lucy Richardson quit her job at Harvard to escape her Boston-based mother’s matchmaking and fled to her relatives in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where she works at the local library. Her cousin Josie, who owns a popular bakery, plans to marry Jake Greenblatt of Jake’s Seafood Bar. The low-key, inexpensive winter nuptials they plan are upended by a visit from Josie’s paternal grandmother, Gloria O’Malley, who arrives from New Orleans with daughter Mary Anna, niece Florence, and grandniece Mirabelle, all of whom actively push a fancy wedding. To Josie’s horror, showy Mirabelle, who runs an event-planning business with Florence, wants to stage the wedding of the year. On top of these problems, Jake’s former girlfriend, arriving from New York, insists they get back together, and the library develops a large and dangerous crack in one wall. The former lighthouse that houses the library and Lucy’s tiny apartment is beloved of the natives, but where will they get $100,000 to repair it? Lucy manages to keep Josie’s bridal shower small, and the bride-to-be bakes a selection of gluten-free treats for the predatory Mirabelle, on the lookout for a third husband, who annoys Lucy by hitting on her boyfriend, Connor McNeil. Things get both better and worse when Mirabelle drops dead in the middle of the shower. The bakery is shut down, and Josie’s suspected of poisoning Mirabelle by putting something in the gluten-free pastries that no one else seems to have touched. When the police learn that a superannoyed Josie had threatened Mirabelle, Lucy channels one of her favorite fictional detectives and starts searching for the real killer.
The fifth in Gates’ sprightly series (The Spook in the Stacks, 2018, etc.) sets romance and a mighty good mystery against a delightful picture of the Outer Banks.