Virginia librarian Amy Webber’s love of books is upstaged by two other art forms, painting and dance, in her second cozy.
The approach of Taylorsford’s annual Heritage Festival promises a host of new experiences for Amy and her patrons, not all of them pleasant. Amy is apprehensive about sending Richard Muir, the dancer/choreographer/professor she met in her first brush with homicide (A Murder for the Books, 2017) off to New York, where he’s suddenly needed to help Meredith Fox, the fiancee who ditched him, stage his dance Return. She’s not eager to honor the request by Melody Riley, the new chair of the Taylorsford Friends of the Library, to ask her Aunt Lydia to donate some of the paintings by her long-dead husband, Andrew Talbot, for a yard-sale fundraiser. And she’s not best pleased when her trip with Richard to pick up some paintings donated by better-known local artist Rachel LeBlanc ends with the discovery of the painter’s corpse, stabbed with her own palette knife. Who could possibly have shattered the paradise of Taylorsford by committing such an outrage? A pillar of the community like gossipy ex-postmaster Zelda Shoemaker; a newcomer like Melody’s son, Trey, who plans to reopen a shuttered winery; a missing party like Rachel’s husband, artist/teacher Reese LeBlanc; or a confederate of the monstrous Quinn family, that notorious international gang of forgers? The hints of large-scale criminality are unconvincing, but Amy turns out to be as apt a student of art forgery as she is of everything book-related.
Just the thing for readers whose pulses quicken when they read: “The way he looks at you sometimes…deserves an R-rating.”