A Cryptic Clue

Crooked Lane. (Hunter & Clewe, Bk. 1). Jul. 2023. 320p. ISBN 9781639102525. $28.99. M
The author of the “Blue Ridge Library” mysteries launches a new series, an homage to Sherlock Holmes and Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. Jane Hunter is hunting for a job after being forced into retirement at the university library where she worked for 35 years. Then Cameron Clewe hires her to inventory and catalogue his library, beginning with his extensive collection of rare mysteries. When Jane meets her new boss, she’s surprised to learn the owner of the Aircroft estate is only 33. He also has anxiety issues and doesn’t do well in social situations—his argument with his latest girlfriend Ashley is evidence of that—so it’s puzzling that he’s holding a fundraising gala; it turns out he lets his friends use his house for events. Then he disappears. When Jane finds Ashley’s body in the library the day after the gala, Cam is the prime suspect. He asks Jane to be his Watson, to help him find the real killer. It turns out a number of people might have wanted Ashley dead, including some family members.
VERDICT Fans of Vicki Delany’s “Sherlock Holmes Bookshop” mysteries will appreciate this new amateur detective team.
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