The second in Con Lehane's 42nd Street Library mystery series, Murder in the Manuscript Room is a smart, compelling mystery in which the characters themselves are at least as interesting as the striking sleuthing.
"Not to be missed.” —Megan Abbott
"A story utterly relevant to the real-life horror story unfolding in America’s immigration politics.”—Sara Paretsky
When a murder desecrates the somber, book-lined halls of New York City’s iconic 42nd Street Library, Raymond Ambler, the library’s curator of crime fiction, has a personal interest in solving the crime. His quest to solve the murder is complicated by personal entanglements involving his friend—or perhaps more-than-friend—Adele Morgan. Not only does Adele’s relationship with the young woman staffer who was murdered get in the way of Ambler’s investigation, more disturbing for him is Adele’s growing interest in a darkly handsome Islamic scholar.
Soon the Intelligence Division of the New York Police Department takes over the case from NYPD homicide detective Mike Cosgrove, Ambler’s friend and sometimes partner-in-crime solving. Ambler suspects that the murder of the young woman, who’d been working at the library under an assumed name and the curious intervention of NYPD’s intelligence division are connected. The trail of intrigue leads to a seemingly unrelated murder in an upstate prison and a long ago murder of a trade union reformer.
No one else sees the connections Ambler is sure are there—not an unusual state of affairs for Ambler. But with the city’s law enforcement establishment determined to stop his investigation, the inquisitive and intrepid librarian faces challenges that may put his very life at risk.
Early in Lehane's intricate sequel to 2016's Murder at the 42nd Street Library, crime fiction librarian Ray Ambler meets writer and former undercover cop Paul Higgins, who's donating his papers to the NYPL. If Higgins has information related to the murder of union leader Richard Wright in Brooklyn in the 1980s, he's not telling Ray. Ray has an interest because a good friend of his has been imprisoned for years for killing Wright, but now claims he's innocent. Meanwhile, the discovery of the body of library research assistant Leila Stone in Ray's office leads to the arrest of Middle Eastern scholar Gobi Tabrizi, whose research Leila secretly examined. Ray and his fellow librarian and prospective girlfriend, Adele Morgan, believe that officials are casting Gobi as a convenient culprit. Ray's homicide detective friend, Mike Cosgrove, is later puzzled by high-level interference in the Leila investigation and heads off in pursuit of Higgins, who has disappeared. Lehane provides food for thought by comparing past FBI transgressions with present-day Homeland Security activities.