Something Read Something Dead is the fifth book in the Lighthouse Library series by Eva Gates.
This review is partly for Something Read Something Dead and partly for the series overall.
The Lighthouse Library series is about thirty-something librarian Lucy Richardson who flees her native Boston after her boyfriend proposes. Lucy moves to the Outer Banks of North Carolina where her mother’s family lives. Growing up, she spent every summer on the Outer Banks with her mom’s family, and says it is her favorite place on earth. Within days of arriving, she’s landed a job at the lighthouse library, which includes an apartment in the lighthouse. All of the books involve someone Lucy cares about being suspected of murder, prompting Lucy to investigate.
In Something Read Something Dead, Lucy’s beloved cousin Josie is finalizing her wedding plans. She and her fiancé, Jake, have decided on a small, casual wedding and reception. Upon hearing the wedding plans, Josie’s paternal grandmother arrives in town from New Orleans announcing that none of Josie’s plans are suitable. Two of Josie’s New Orleans cousins own an events planning company and Grandma Gloria hires them to plan Josie’s wedding to Gloria’s specifications. Josie is understandably frustrated and annoyed by the changes to the guest list, food, and wedding outfits, but she goes along with the changes because she doesn’t want to fight with her grandmother. But when cousin Mirabelle openly flirts with Jake during a family dinner at Jake’s restaurant, all of Josie’s anger flows out and she screams at them in front of the other customers and staff. After Mirabelle dies from eating desserts Josie made for her, Josie becomes the prime suspect in her murder.
I enjoyed this book. It had some nice twists and a small character surprise at the end. I liked how the subplot about the foundation damage to the lighthouse sets up the next book. Josie and her parents are some of my favorite characters so I was happy to have a book devoted to them. I guessed the murder probably a quarter of the way through the book, but the twists did make me second and third guess myself.
I have a few quibbles with the book, but these are quibbles I have with most cozy mysteries. The books are formulaic, which makes it too easy to guess who the murder is. Lucy has unfounded confidence in her detective skills and is too fearless. She can eat whatever she wants and doesn’t gain weight. Why is this true of all cozy heroines? It’s really annoying. The murder victims and murderers are usually unsympathetic characters.
Here’s my biggest complaint about the series: You can tell who is a good character, a mixed character, or a bad character by how the author describes them. The good characters are attractive, fit, and drive nice cars. Mixed characters are of average weight and attractiveness, and drive older cars with some issues. Bad characters are often overweight, have bad hair, and tend to be brash or whiny. It would be better to use dialogue and actions to convey character traits.
But there’s a lot to love about the series. They are fun, fast reads. I love the Outer Banks setting and would now like to visit it. I love that all of the characters are readers and worship this funky lighthouse library. Charles the cat is a great character. The library staff and customers are quirky in a fairly realistic way. This series is perfect for when you want a fun, easy read.