Determined to make the First Edition Library a success, Hayley Burke wasn’t expecting to have to solve an old friend’s murder in this all-new mystery from USA Today bestselling author Marty Wingate.
Hayley Burke, curator of Lady Fowling's collection of first edition mysteries, is settling into her position at the First Edition Library in Middlebank House. She's even made progress with Lady Fowling's former secretary, the ornery Miss Woolgar. The women are busily preparing for an exhibition that will showcase Lady Fowling's life and letters. Hayley knows the exhibition is a huge undertaking and decides, against her better judgement, to hire Oona Atherton, her former boss from the Jane Austen Centre to help with the planning.
Oona is known for being difficult, but all seems to be going swimmingly until she and Hayley uncover a one-page letter that alludes to a priceless edition of MURDER MUST ADVERTISE signed by several Golden Age of Mystery authors. Oona feels this book could be the focal point of the exhibition and becomes obsessed with finding it.
When they find clues that appear to point to the book being somewhere in the First Edition Library, Oona is certain she's unraveled the mystery and texts Hayley the good news, but upon arriving back at Middlebank, Hayley finds her old boss dead at the bottom of the stairs. Did her discovery of the rare book get her killed or was it some angry shadow from her past? Hayley must read between the lines to catch a malicious murderer.
Wingate's pleasing sequel to 2019's The Bodies in the Library finds Hayley Burke, the relatively new curator of the First Edition Society, up to her eyebrows in turmoil as she prepares for a major exhibition celebrating the life of Lady Georgiana Fowling. On Her Ladyship's death four years earlier, she left her beautiful Georgian home in Bath, England, and its library of first editions of women authors from the golden age of mystery fiction to serve as the society's foundation. Haley hires creative and demanding Oona Atherton to be exhibition manager, while she busies herself organizing Lady Fowling's copious personal correspondence and diaries. In the process, Haley discovers a letter from Dorothy L. Sayers that alludes to a particularly valuable first edition of Murder Must Advertise. In the midst of Hayley's search for the book, Oona turns up dead at the bottom of a circular staircase, a murder that echoes the one in Sayers's novel. Hayley investigates. Though the crime is a tad too easy to solve, cryptic clues and golden age mystery lore keep this genial novel afloat. Traditional mystery fans will have fun.