Sometimes a lightweight, easy-to-read-and-solve mystery is just what the doctor ordered. The Bodies in the Library, by Marty Wingate, does the job most agreeably.
Hayley Burke takes on the position of curator of Lady Georgiana Fowling’s First Edition library in Bath, England. The First Edition Library features books written during the so-called Golden Age of Mysteries, offering authors such as Agatha Christie and Raymond Chandler. She is hired for this position despite the fact that she has never read a single mystery story. Her expertise lies in Jane Austin novels. Still, she knows she can learn, and hopes she does so before her board of directors figures out she doesn’t know a thing about detective stories.
And then Hayley is presented with her own mystery. She has agreed to allow an Agatha Christie fan fiction writers’ group to meet weekly in the building that was once Lady Georgiana Fowling’s home, and now is the library and Hayley’s living quarters. Before she knows it, one of the members of this group is murdered. The victim is killed elsewhere and carried into the library, left for Hayley to find.
Hayley puts on her Miss Marple thinking cap and sets out to help the police solve the mystery. It is the best way to show the board of directors that she is capable of doing the curator’s job. She is faced with clues and red herrings and even a handsome love interest.
The book was a quick and fun read, as long as you can get past the fact that while the title is The Bodies in the Library, there is only one body ever found in the library — or anywhere else in the book. I presume that is because the title is so similar to an Agatha Christie novel — The Body in the Library — featuring Miss Marple. But when Hayley puts on her own Miss Marple hat, she solves the mystery.