Bound for Murder

Crooked Lane. (Blue Ridge Library, Bk. 4). Jan. 2020. 320p. ISBN 9781643852430. $26.99. M
Library director Amy Webber’s only full-time assistant at the Taylorsford Public Library, Sunny Fields, is running for mayor. When a body is uncovered on the organic farm run by Sunny’s grandparents, the small-town rumors fly, impacting Sunny’s campaign. In the 1960s, the Fields had a commune on their property, and the corpse turns out to be a musician who disappeared from there. Amy has helped the police in the past, so, of course she’s going to do some research for her best friend’s grandparents. Where are the people who lived at the commune? An art collector and former drug dealer tries to warn Amy, fearing the death goes back to a serious drug problem in the past. The murder of a former commune member, threats, and a shooting drag the library director deeper into the case. The story’s menacing tone is alleviated by the antics of some kittens, but the past causes troubles for the town’s residents.
VERDICT As with Cleo Coyle’s “Coffeehouse” mysteries, Gilbert’s library mysteries (Past Due for Murder) are darker than many cozies. The well-developed characters and complex issues will appeal to fans of Jenn McKinlay and Miranda James.
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