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By Book or By Crook

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Get bound up in murder in the first Lighthouse Library mystery! For ten years Lucy has enjoyed her job poring over rare tomes of literature for the Harvard Library, but she has not enjoyed the demands of her family’s social whorl or her sort-of-engagement to the staid son of her father’s law partner. But when her ten-year relationship implodes, Lucy realizes that the plot Get bound up in murder in the first Lighthouse Library mystery! For ten years Lucy has enjoyed her job poring over rare tomes of literature for the Harvard Library, but she has not enjoyed the demands of her family’s social whorl or her sort-of-engagement to the staid son of her father’s law partner. But when her ten-year relationship implodes, Lucy realizes that the plot of her life is in need of a serious rewrite. Calling on her aunt Ellen, Lucy hopes that a little fun in the Outer Banks sun—and some confections from her cousin Josie’s bakery—will help clear her head. But her retreat quickly turns into an unexpected opportunity when Aunt Ellen gets her involved in the lighthouse library tucked away on Bodie Island. Lucy is thrilled to land a librarian job in her favorite place in the world. But when a priceless first edition Jane Austen novel is stolen and the chair of the library board is murdered, Lucy suddenly finds herself ensnared in a real-life mystery—and she’s not so sure there’s going to be a happy ending....


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Get bound up in murder in the first Lighthouse Library mystery! For ten years Lucy has enjoyed her job poring over rare tomes of literature for the Harvard Library, but she has not enjoyed the demands of her family’s social whorl or her sort-of-engagement to the staid son of her father’s law partner. But when her ten-year relationship implodes, Lucy realizes that the plot Get bound up in murder in the first Lighthouse Library mystery! For ten years Lucy has enjoyed her job poring over rare tomes of literature for the Harvard Library, but she has not enjoyed the demands of her family’s social whorl or her sort-of-engagement to the staid son of her father’s law partner. But when her ten-year relationship implodes, Lucy realizes that the plot of her life is in need of a serious rewrite. Calling on her aunt Ellen, Lucy hopes that a little fun in the Outer Banks sun—and some confections from her cousin Josie’s bakery—will help clear her head. But her retreat quickly turns into an unexpected opportunity when Aunt Ellen gets her involved in the lighthouse library tucked away on Bodie Island. Lucy is thrilled to land a librarian job in her favorite place in the world. But when a priceless first edition Jane Austen novel is stolen and the chair of the library board is murdered, Lucy suddenly finds herself ensnared in a real-life mystery—and she’s not so sure there’s going to be a happy ending....

30 review for By Book or By Crook

  1. 4 out of 5

    Julie Durnell

    I loved this first in a new series to me-the setting was terrific as it is one of my favorite places to stay and I have visited the Bodie Lighthouse before. The idea of it as a library and being able to live/work there too would be a fantasy come true! I enjoyed the cast of characters and hope to read more of them in the next book!

  2. 4 out of 5

    LORI (Dollycas) CASWELL

    Dollycas’s Thoughts Two of my favorite things, libraries, and lighthouses, so when they are combined it really gets me excited. Lucy Richardson is the newest librarian at The Bodie Island Lighthouse Library but her hiring has some people quite twitterpated. One thought the job should have been hers, others didn’t think the position was necessary, and even the head of the library board wants to get rid of her. The head librarian and the staff at the library are thrilled to have her join them, espec Dollycas’s Thoughts Two of my favorite things, libraries, and lighthouses, so when they are combined it really gets me excited. Lucy Richardson is the newest librarian at The Bodie Island Lighthouse Library but her hiring has some people quite twitterpated. One thought the job should have been hers, others didn’t think the position was necessary, and even the head of the library board wants to get rid of her. The head librarian and the staff at the library are thrilled to have her join them, especially with the Jane Austen exhibit and programs starting. An event took place for friends of the library to see the exhibit before it was opened to the public. Just as Bertie, the head librarian, is ready to announce a special addition to the exhibit the head of the board is found dead. Because of his position to get rid of Lucy, she becomes a suspect but Bertie is the one that leaps to the top of the police’s list. Then one of the Austen novels goes missing. Did Bertie remove the book to throw suspicion away from herself? Or is the real killer a thief too? Or are there 2 criminals on Bodie Island? Lucy hopes to close the book on the case by answering all those questions. First, the author starts the book saying there would not be enough space in a real lighthouse to include all the books, staircases and rooms she has written into this book, so on the basis of the library’s structure the reader must suspend reality and I was fine with that. I just imagined a huge lighthouse, bigger than I have ever seen. Think of it – each level has a special purpose. The main floor for the usual adult fiction and non-fiction with a special alcove and program areas. The next floor is filled with children’s books and programs. The third level for rare books, maps, etc. And the fourth floor a unique living space where Lucy has made herself at home. There is also a working lamp at the top. What a glorious setting with wonderful views! I would love to suspend the reality far enough to take me there. Ms. Gates introduces us to fine characters. The library staff is made up of Bertie, Lucy, Ronald, the children’s librarian, Charlene, research librarian, and Charles, the library cat in residence. Lucy’s aunt, uncle, and cousin, along with the mayor, a nice detective and a not so nice detective round out what I assume will be the regular supporting cast. We also meet some unique friends of the library. Some were easy to like, others took some warming up and others were written to be not very likable. The author did a great job with this cast. The murder mystery was not easy to solve. There was an entire room of suspects with an opportunity to commit the crime. The missing book mystery was also difficult because it could have been anyone from library regulars to someone off a bus that brought tourists in for the Austen exhibit. The library really should have had some kind of security person watching over the priceless items, but I don’t think there ever imagined the number of people that would pass through their doors for this event. I had a certain library patron at the top of my list but it was just a feeling. As the proof was all revealed I was surprised I actually was right. I enjoyed everything about this story. Thee characters were very engaging, the mystery was very well written, and the setting was to die for. I am late to the party on this series, but I am going to get all caught up before the fourth installment, The Spook in the Stacks, comes out on June 12.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Juli

    Lucy leaves her Harvard Library job, her family, and her ex-fiance behind in Boston and moves to the coast of NC to take a librarian position in a small town library. She loves the Outer Banks, the library and her apartment in a refurbished lighthouse. She arrives as a set of Jane Austen first editions arrives for display at the Bodie Lighthouse Library. Just as the events showcasing the priceless books begin, the president of the library board is murdered in the lighthouse and the loaned Austen Lucy leaves her Harvard Library job, her family, and her ex-fiance behind in Boston and moves to the coast of NC to take a librarian position in a small town library. She loves the Outer Banks, the library and her apartment in a refurbished lighthouse. She arrives as a set of Jane Austen first editions arrives for display at the Bodie Lighthouse Library. Just as the events showcasing the priceless books begin, the president of the library board is murdered in the lighthouse and the loaned Austen books start disappearing one by one. Lucy finds herself a suspect in the thefts and her boss the primary suspect in the killing. She knows she needs to investigate to clear her name and protect her boss and the library from harm. By Book or By Crook is the first book in the Lighthouse Library Mystery series. There are four books in total so far. While I truly love the idea of a library in a lighthouse (especially a lighthouse in NC where I live...I love the OBX area!), I have a slight problem with this series, even before I started reading). Bodie Lighthouse is an actual lighthouse located near Nag's Head on the Outer Banks of NC. I've been there -- love it! It is black and white, as depicted in the book. BUT.....Bodie Lighthouse is only big enough for the spiraling stairs that wind their way to the top observation platform. There is not room for an apartment....a library....not even a broom closet. While the author does explain that she took liberties with the site for her story, I think it would have been better to create a fictional lighthouse in the same region, rather than use an actual site and change it so fundamentally. There is the former caretaker's house nearby that is a giftshop/museum that might have been used as the library location if Bodie Lighthouse had to be the specific site. I just couldn't get all the way into the story because the location was so fundamentally off from it's real design. Very cool idea.....I just wasn't too happy they took one of my favorite places and changed it that much. The general story and mystery were ok....I enjoyed the characters and the storyline. The ending was a bit lackluster for me, but not annoyingly so. There was some melodramatic dialogue that had me rolling my eyes a bit a few times....but cozies with touches of romance here and there tend to get a bit Lifetime Channel-esque at times. I listened to the audio book version of this story. Elise Arsenault narrated. I was a bit disappointed with her performance for several reasons. Her attempt at North Carolina or southern accents for the characters was terrible.....completely wrong. And at one point she attempted a Scottish accent for some side characters visiting the library. Also terrible. Her reading pace and voice in general was good, but her NC characters came off sounding like a mix of Louisiana and Texas. lol. Someone who doesn't live in NC wouldn't know, but it pulled me completely out of the story. First Bodie Lighthouse is 10 times it's real size.....and then atrocious southern accents. lol. I just had a rough time with this book. I am going to finish the series....I like reading books set here in NC. And Eva Gates is a pen-name used by Vicki Delaney. I have enjoyed other books by her, so I'm going to give this series time to grow on me. Just reading about OBX makes me want to drive to Nag's Head! The pier, the dolphins, the lighthouse! :) Love it!

  4. 4 out of 5

    ❂ Murder by Death

    The story gets 4 stars but the editing barely deserves 1 star. Some of the worst big-publisher editing I've seen, with a slew of errors. Great story and characters, though and a very well-plotted murder. The author got screwed on this one. Full review: http://jenn.booklikes.com/post/116962... The story gets 4 stars but the editing barely deserves 1 star. Some of the worst big-publisher editing I've seen, with a slew of errors. Great story and characters, though and a very well-plotted murder. The author got screwed on this one. Full review: http://jenn.booklikes.com/post/116962...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nichole

    By Book or By Crook was book one in the Lighthouse Library Mystery series. It was okay; a bit clunky in some parts, but overall a fun cozy. I had no problems suspending disbelief at the notion of transforming real-life Bodie Lighthouse into a public library because author Eva Gates did provide a note addressing the issue. Also, her writing was convincing enough for me to buy into the idea. A promising series, started in 2015. I will definitely do some catch-up reading.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Yvonne

    Starting a new series from the first book is so much fun. The idea of a library housed in an old lighthouse appealed to me. The setting is charming and perfect for a cozy mystery. Our amateur sleuth is Lucy Richardson. She recently fled Boston after her boyfriend wanted to take their relationship to the next step and she didn’t want to. In fact, he really didn’t want to either. Their wealthy parents were the ones who really wanted the marriage and Lucy had no intention of giving in. She heads to Starting a new series from the first book is so much fun. The idea of a library housed in an old lighthouse appealed to me. The setting is charming and perfect for a cozy mystery. Our amateur sleuth is Lucy Richardson. She recently fled Boston after her boyfriend wanted to take their relationship to the next step and she didn’t want to. In fact, he really didn’t want to either. Their wealthy parents were the ones who really wanted the marriage and Lucy had no intention of giving in. She heads to Bodie Island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where she gets a job as a librarian. Her first assignment is setting up an exhibit to showcase a set of Jane Austen first edition novels. Lucy is stunned to find that so many people in town despise her. In fact, one person who made his feelings publicly known is the head of the library board. He states quite loudly for all to hear that he intends to get rid of her. So, when he is found murdered in the library, all fingers point to Lucy and her boss. When the Jane Austen books are stolen – one by one – everyone is all too ready to put the blame on Lucy and run her right out of town. She has no intention of sitting quietly by and letting that happen. It took me a little time to warm up to the characters in this book. Most of the supporting characters weren’t very likeable, but I did like Lucy and the people she worked with at the library. Although her boss, Bertie, took me some time to like. Did I mention the library has a cat named Charles (named after Charles Dickens, of course.) I have to admit, I knew who the killer was rather early in the book. It didn’t ruin anything for me as there were several different possibilities so I could really have bought any of them being the culprit. I’m already reading the second book in the series. FTC Disclosure: The publisher provided me with a copy of this book to review. This did not influence my thoughts and opinions in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Probably supposed to be charming; really just annoying. Round rooms don't have corners, but she keeps looking in them. Louise Jane clearly doesn't like Lucy, but Lucy keeps biting on the baited hooks Louise dangles for her. Determined not to go down without a fight, then backs off when the opportunity to do something presents itself? Saved by a cat? Then why not pay attention when the cat exhibits hostility in the first place? Maybe I'm not a mystery reader.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Chatting About

    I enjoyed the idea of a lighthouse being used as a library. If you're a Jane Austen fan, a library fan, and a lighthouse fan, this is the cozy for you!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nora-adrienne

    I had a bit of a hard time getting into this new series. The characters were fine but by page 20 I really wanted to smack one or two of them. As I continued reading I found myself drawn into their lives and the library they all love. I'm most definitely looking forward to reading the next book in the series when it arrives in September of 2015.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ruth

    The author says right at the beginning of this book that the idea of a lighthouse being big enough to house a fully operational library with separate living accommodation is a fantasy so that really sets the tone for the book right from the start. So I shouldn't have been too surprised by the woeful lack of research about the first editions of Jane Austen's novels. Or perhaps she did her research and then decided to completely ignore it because it would have ruined the plot! But I still gave it 5 The author says right at the beginning of this book that the idea of a lighthouse being big enough to house a fully operational library with separate living accommodation is a fantasy so that really sets the tone for the book right from the start. So I shouldn't have been too surprised by the woeful lack of research about the first editions of Jane Austen's novels. Or perhaps she did her research and then decided to completely ignore it because it would have ruined the plot! But I still gave it 5 stars....because I loved it and I also learnt a lot about Jane Austen on the way. Not from the book you understand but because it made me want to find out more. I'll certainly be reading more of this series.

  11. 4 out of 5

    April

    This is a white lady book. And I’m tired of white lady books.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Miranda Reads

    Shout out to this fabulous book in my latest YouTube Video all about my favorite bookish books (and while I attempt a little baking in the background). Thanks for watching and happy reading! Jane Austen. My literary idol. So close. Lucy has hit a bit of a rough patch. She spent over a decade at the Harvard Library, fulfilling her love for literature...but then an engagement rears its ugly head and family pressure from all sides...she takes off. She retreats to the Outer Banks and is Shout out to this fabulous book in my latest YouTube Video all about my favorite bookish books (and while I attempt a little baking in the background). Thanks for watching and happy reading! Jane Austen. My literary idol. So close. Lucy has hit a bit of a rough patch. She spent over a decade at the Harvard Library, fulfilling her love for literature...but then an engagement rears its ugly head and family pressure from all sides...she takes off. She retreats to the Outer Banks and is quickly hired as a Lighthouse Librarian. Everything is going great, at first...but she quickly learns just how much simmers below the surface of small towns. She spoke as if "librarian" were another word for "ax murderer." Someone is hell-bent to get her job. Someone is after the rare Jane Austen editions being housed at the library. And someone else just turned up dead. Ahhh yes. This was the perfect little cozy mystery I needed in my life. I really loved the concept of having a library in a lighthouse (and I'm eternally disappointed that this particular lighthouse library is not a real thing!). I'm also a huge fan of Jane Austen, so I loved this little literary twist to the mystery. As with most cozies, there's some bits that are over the top and others are way over the top. But, throughout all of it, I did enjoy my time between these pages. All in all, I'm a huge fan of book-themed cozies and this one was no exception.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    This book (unintentionally) reads like a cross between a mystery and Harry Potter, where there is a lighthouse that appears normal from the outside, but expands to fit a few thousand extra square feet once you enter its magical doors. Its fine to set a mystery at a popular summer resort area, to appeal to beach readers. But then to completely ignore the setting you've chosen is ridiculous. The author's note admits that the lighthouse could not house the library, except in her imagination. So why This book (unintentionally) reads like a cross between a mystery and Harry Potter, where there is a lighthouse that appears normal from the outside, but expands to fit a few thousand extra square feet once you enter its magical doors. Its fine to set a mystery at a popular summer resort area, to appeal to beach readers. But then to completely ignore the setting you've chosen is ridiculous. The author's note admits that the lighthouse could not house the library, except in her imagination. So why not create an imaginary lighthouse? Why refer to stone walls when describing the brick Hatteras lighthouse? The setting, characters, and plot were extremely improbable. It feels like the author had a story written, her editor or agent suggested she write a seashore mystery, and add a little Jane Austen twist to appeal the rabid Austenites, and she wrestled this story into the requested bounds. Very disappointing, and I won't be reading any more of Eva Gates's work.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    A good start to this series.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kirsti

    This was another of those really great cozies that just hook you right from the beginning. I've had it downloaded on my Kindle for a while, and thought, why not? I'm glad I did. I love Jane Austen, and Pride and Prejudice particularly. I loved the idea of the Lighthouse library hosting a special event with first edition books- how I would love to see that in real life! I can see why it caused such a buzz around the town. The actual setting is made up for this series, as there is no library locate This was another of those really great cozies that just hook you right from the beginning. I've had it downloaded on my Kindle for a while, and thought, why not? I'm glad I did. I love Jane Austen, and Pride and Prejudice particularly. I loved the idea of the Lighthouse library hosting a special event with first edition books- how I would love to see that in real life! I can see why it caused such a buzz around the town. The actual setting is made up for this series, as there is no library located at the real Bodie lighthouse, but it was such a great idea that it didn't matter to me. Real or fake, this is definitely one of my favorite settings so far in cozy mystery! The actual murder and solving of both the crimes was well thought out and although I had my suspicions, there were enough clues to keep the reader going. I LOVED the cast of characters too, and although there is the usual love triangle, there is enough difference in the men and their lines of work to keep the idea fresh. I'm still not sold on either though, and I can't wait to find out more about them with Lucy. It looks like there is quite a few books in this series by now too, so I have plenty to catch up on! A really great cozy, one of my favorites among the sea of them that I read! Five stars.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Usually I like to keep up with new series in the "cozy mystery" genre, but I was running low, so at my last trip to Barnes and Noble I picked this up because I liked the premise and cover. I'm glad to say that this book lived up to my expectations and even more! The characters were great! Some were likeable, some not so much, but they were all realistic. There were no absolutely perfect characters in this book. However, by the end of this book the author seems to setting up a love triangle. I sin Usually I like to keep up with new series in the "cozy mystery" genre, but I was running low, so at my last trip to Barnes and Noble I picked this up because I liked the premise and cover. I'm glad to say that this book lived up to my expectations and even more! The characters were great! Some were likeable, some not so much, but they were all realistic. There were no absolutely perfect characters in this book. However, by the end of this book the author seems to setting up a love triangle. I sincerely hope she doesn't go through with it. Love triangle seem to muddle up mysteries. The mystery was good, plenty of suspects and clues, and the ending left me pleasantly surprised. The setting was also nice, it was very similar to Ellery Adams' Books by the Bay Series. Overall a pleasant series that will b added to a favorites shelf. I hope the next book lived up to this one.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    Overall, a fun light mystery that definitely kept me guessing. Lucy is a likable heroine even if she does struggle with occasionally needing to summon all her courage to speak her opinions (as evidenced by a boyfriend who thought he knew her well enough to propose and then got a bad surprise). I liked how she struggled with missing her family and yet didn’t want to involve them because of their overbearing, overgenerous ways. The mystery is definitely light with only a brief scene with a body and Overall, a fun light mystery that definitely kept me guessing. Lucy is a likable heroine even if she does struggle with occasionally needing to summon all her courage to speak her opinions (as evidenced by a boyfriend who thought he knew her well enough to propose and then got a bad surprise). I liked how she struggled with missing her family and yet didn’t want to involve them because of their overbearing, overgenerous ways. The mystery is definitely light with only a brief scene with a body and then a series of thefts. I really appreciated the lack of profanity and vulgar language. This would be appropriate for teens as well as adults. Content: drinking wine/beer/etc

  18. 4 out of 5

    Peggy R

    I am a fan of this author's writing as Vicki Delany and so I decided it was time to start this series. This is a 3 1/2 star read for me. It is a very solid beginning to a series. I love that this is series involves books and a library located in a lighthouse. It makes for a setting that really calls to me, as a book lover. The characters are solid. I liked Lucy and thought that she has the potential to become a favorite main character for me. In this first book, she is still finding her footing I am a fan of this author's writing as Vicki Delany and so I decided it was time to start this series. This is a 3 1/2 star read for me. It is a very solid beginning to a series. I love that this is series involves books and a library located in a lighthouse. It makes for a setting that really calls to me, as a book lover. The characters are solid. I liked Lucy and thought that she has the potential to become a favorite main character for me. In this first book, she is still finding her footing in a new place and a new job, but based on this author's writing, I can see her growing and getting stronger. There is a nice cast of secondary characters that round out the story nicely. My only issue with this series was the pacing. I felt the plot dragged a bit in some places, but that is not uncommon in the first book of a new series as the author tries to balance the backstory with the mystery. I thought the mystery was well done. There were many viable subjects, each with varying motives. I had a hard time trying to decide who was actually behind the murder and the thefts. I found the mystery to be engaging and loved trying to fit all of the puzzle pieces together. I will be continuing with this series and look forward to seeing what the author has in store for the characters.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Author Annabelle Leigha

    What a wonderful book! I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it. I really could see the water, the lighthouse, and feel the sun. I'm looking forward to the next in the series!!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lesa

    There's libraries. And, then there are charming libraries. And, they don't get much more quaint and charming than the Lighthouse Library on Bodie Island, North Carolina in Eva Gates' By Book or by Crook. This first in a new series will either make you want to move there to get a job in the library, or run, knowing the library is the scene of murder, theft, and possibly, ghosts. Lucy Richardson fled to the island after she didn't want to marry the lawyer and family friend she'd been dating for yea There's libraries. And, then there are charming libraries. And, they don't get much more quaint and charming than the Lighthouse Library on Bodie Island, North Carolina in Eva Gates' By Book or by Crook. This first in a new series will either make you want to move there to get a job in the library, or run, knowing the library is the scene of murder, theft, and possibly, ghosts. Lucy Richardson fled to the island after she didn't want to marry the lawyer and family friend she'd been dating for years. Luckily, she is able to leave her job at Harvard Library, and become Assistant Librarian at the Lighthouse Library. She's so excited to be part of the reception where the library board and staff introduces the special exhibit of rare Jane Austen first editions. She isn't so excited when the library board president is murdered during the reception, and Lucy's new boss, Bertie, becomes the primary suspect because she had a loud argument with the victim, and was found with the body. And, it gets even worse when one of the Jane Austen books disappears. It seems not everyone likes Bertie, or the library itself. Eva Gates excels at setting this new series in a delightful small town setting and enchanting library. She introduces a wonderful cast including quirky characters and two possible love interests for Lucy. And, of course, there's a perceptive library cat, Charles (named after Dickens). Lucy herself seems a little naive and young for her thirty years, but considering her background as the only daughter in a wealthy Boston family, it may not be surprising. I'm sure she'll come into her own in the course of the series, and won't let the rival for her job continue to scare her with ghost stories. If you're looking for an enchanting getaway, a mystery to help you escape the winter doldrums, you can't go wrong with this first in a new series, By Book or by Crook. Cats, Jane Austen, books, and a lighthouse library. It doesn't get much more appealing.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    Really, how could this not be a good book? We have a cozy mystery set in a library, in a lighthouse with a hero cat...You just know it's going to be a good read, how can you miss?

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Ks Book Reviews

    With BY BOOK OR BY CROOK, the first book in the Lighthouse Library Mystery series, author Eva Gates is off to a great start to what will be a wonderful series. The setting is this story is stellar. A library in a lighthouse on the Outer Banks? Yes! More please. Protagonist Lucy Richardson is smart and plucky. She, as well as the cast of supporting characters are sure to be favorites to readers. With a suspenseful plot and unexpected twists that kept me guessing until the reveal, this book was har With BY BOOK OR BY CROOK, the first book in the Lighthouse Library Mystery series, author Eva Gates is off to a great start to what will be a wonderful series. The setting is this story is stellar. A library in a lighthouse on the Outer Banks? Yes! More please. Protagonist Lucy Richardson is smart and plucky. She, as well as the cast of supporting characters are sure to be favorites to readers. With a suspenseful plot and unexpected twists that kept me guessing until the reveal, this book was hard to put down. I eagerly await the next installment in this series. Ms. Gates has found a true fan in me.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Carla Johnson-Hicks

    The first in The Lighthouse Library Mystery series. It has everything you would want in a cozy mystery: a library that is housed in a lighthouse, the protagonist living upstairs in the lighthouse, a small town, a murder, some thefts and a bit of a budding romance. Lucy has returned to her summer stomping grounds on Bodie Island on the Outer Banks. She has quit her job of 10 years in the library at Harvard and turned down her boyfriend’s proposal and wants to start a new life. She has been hired The first in The Lighthouse Library Mystery series. It has everything you would want in a cozy mystery: a library that is housed in a lighthouse, the protagonist living upstairs in the lighthouse, a small town, a murder, some thefts and a bit of a budding romance. Lucy has returned to her summer stomping grounds on Bodie Island on the Outer Banks. She has quit her job of 10 years in the library at Harvard and turned down her boyfriend’s proposal and wants to start a new life. She has been hired as Assistant Librarian and is busy with the borrowed Jane Austin books they are exhibiting. When a prominent member of the library board is found dead at the opening night for the exhibit, Birdie, the head librarian is the initial suspect. Lucy wants to help Birdie and does what she can to find the actual murderer. When books start disappearing from the locked library, everyone’s job is in jeopardy. I enjoyed this book, the plot moved relatively quickly and the characters were fun. I loved the quirkiness of Birdie, the head librarian who also teaches yoga. Some of the patrons were annoying and that gave us insight into some of the other characters. Lucy is a bit of a wimp when the story begins, but she develops a backbone as the story progresses and I loved seeing that. Charles the cat stole many of the scenes he was in. He definitely has a personality all his own and it seems he can read Lucy's mind at times. I definitely will continue with this series. I listened to the audio version of this book. The narrator was okay, but I did feel her attempts at changing her voice for different characters was not successful. I will probably listen to the next one though as it was still not a bad narration.

  24. 5 out of 5

    LG (A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions)

    I finished this back in June, so some details are fuzzy. Lucy previously worked at the Harvard Library and is now a new librarian at Bodie Island's public library, which is housed inside a lighthouse. There are a few folks who aren't thrilled that she got the job, but for the most part Lucy loves her new position. She's particularly excited about the Jane Austen first editions the library currently has on loan. That excitement turns to dismay and horror as one of the first editions goes missing I finished this back in June, so some details are fuzzy. Lucy previously worked at the Harvard Library and is now a new librarian at Bodie Island's public library, which is housed inside a lighthouse. There are a few folks who aren't thrilled that she got the job, but for the most part Lucy loves her new position. She's particularly excited about the Jane Austen first editions the library currently has on loan. That excitement turns to dismay and horror as one of the first editions goes missing and the chairman of the library board is found murdered. I tend to be drawn to book and library-themed cozy mysteries, so I snatched this one up when I spotted it in a used bookstore. Unfortunately, it turned out to be terrible. The author's bio doesn't mention any sort of library background, although she thanks a librarian in her acknowledgements, so I assume she spoke to that person as part of her research. Either her research wasn't very thorough or she didn't ask the right questions, because this book was filled with mistakes and difficult-to-believe details. Cozy mystery authors seem to be fond of 30-year-old librarians who somehow already have 10 years of librarian experience under their belts. Library experience would be believable, but becoming a librarian by age 20 would really be pushing it, particularly a librarian at the Harvard Library. You need a bachelor's degree first (approximately 4 years), and then a Master's in Library Science (or Library and Information Science, depending on the school), which can take 1-2 years depending on what sort of course load you can handle. Lucy would have had to graduate early in both high school and college early in order to be a librarian by age 20. But what really bothered me was the author's glaring lack of knowledge about library security. On page 129, there was this discussion between one of the library's employees and a police officer: "'I don't suppose y'all have security on the door?' 'I do some crowd control,' Charlene said. 'Stopping little old ladies from stepping on each other's sensible shoes. I meant like a bar-code detector. Alarm. Things like that.' 'This is a library. Not a jewelry store. And we're in the Bodie Island Lighthouse, not the Bronx. No, we do not have alarms.'" There's so much wrong with this passage that it's hard to know where to start. Yes, there are lots of small libraries out there that don't have much in the way of security - but those libraries would never be loaned a collection of Jane Austen first editions for a temporary display. And libraries that don't have any sort of security systems in place likely don't have them because they can't afford them, not because they think they don't need them - all libraries, even ones in small towns, are better off with some sort of security system in place (alarms, security gates, panic buttons, etc.), for the safety of their users and staff as well as to reduce the likelihood of theft. Charlene saying that this was "the Bodie Island Lighthouse, not the Bronx" struck me as both naive and potentially racist. Also, library security gates are not called bar-code detectors - I'll forgive that one because it was the police officer character who said it. If I remember right, the above passage occurred after the first book went missing. That left five books and a notebook that could still be stolen. In addition to keeping the books locked up and only removing them when a staff member could be on hand to make sure it stayed safe, I'd have bought a webcam or two off Amazon and set them up. Instead, library staff felt that keeping the books locked up as much as possible (with the key easily accessible in the head librarian's unlocked office) was good enough. Considering how the story progressed (more thefts!), the continued library security issues were maddening. Although I was able to figure out the murderer's identity a little early, I did think the murder mystery aspect was decent. It's too bad that everything was overshadowed by the glaringly awful library security details. No one in their right mind would lend a library like this anything even remotely rare and valuable. I very much agreed with the cop who said this: "I wouldn't want y'all guarding my doghouse." (226) Sometimes terrible cozy mysteries can be at least somewhat saved by their characters. That wasn't the case here. Lucy annoyed me. Her views on books and library struck me as being old-fashioned, and she seemed to be very judgmental of everything from other people's tastes in recreational reading to the kind of music they listened to. Her two potential love interests (yes, there's already a love triangle in the works) were both bland and uninteresting. I'm assuming Connor (the guy Lucy had a crush on as a teen, and who is now the mayor) is being set up as the guy who appears to have the best chance with Lucy, while Butch (a local cop) is the guy Lucy's actually going to end up with. If she ever ends up with anyone. I don't plan on reading more of this series. (Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tari

    Oh this was so good! I had started this series pretty much in the middle when I had the chance to review the fourth book...then the fifth that I couldn't resist. But I knew I wanted to get back to the beginning and how it all started. Lucy didn't feel very welcome around certain people at the Lighthouse Library when she first started and was nearly accused of stealing some rare old Jane Austen books the library had on display. Instead, she just wanted to clear her boss Bertie who was accused of Oh this was so good! I had started this series pretty much in the middle when I had the chance to review the fourth book...then the fifth that I couldn't resist. But I knew I wanted to get back to the beginning and how it all started. Lucy didn't feel very welcome around certain people at the Lighthouse Library when she first started and was nearly accused of stealing some rare old Jane Austen books the library had on display. Instead, she just wanted to clear her boss Bertie who was accused of killing the library board chairman. It was interesting to see the characters in the very beginning and admittedly, I did have a heads-up on which ones couldn't possibly be guilty since I read about them in later books. But I still didn't guess the killer and I thought the showdown was awesome! Charles the library cat had a big part in taking down the killer, and Lucy herself was no slouch. The mystery wrap-up was really great and ended with everyone getting together at the library. I'm planning to read the next one very soon!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Terri

    A library in a lighthouse? A murder and rare Jane Austin books stolen? The best part- a big Himalayan cat named after Charles Dickens as your partner in solving the mystery. What else could a cozy mystery lover and the new librarian in town want? Maybe the local mayor and the local police officer in a competition to date you? Great book to start this series- an enjoyable story!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Cathy Cole

    I love libraries. I love lighthouses. When I came across this first book in the Lighthouse Library cozy series, my eyes lit up, and when I discovered that "Eva Gates" is the pen name of one of my favorite authors, Vicky Delany, that was the icing on the cake. North Carolina's Outer Banks seems to be one of the hot settings for cozies, and By Book or by Crook fits right in with its neighbors. I liked Lucy Richardson, even though she didn't win any points by staying in a relationship for ten years I love libraries. I love lighthouses. When I came across this first book in the Lighthouse Library cozy series, my eyes lit up, and when I discovered that "Eva Gates" is the pen name of one of my favorite authors, Vicky Delany, that was the icing on the cake. North Carolina's Outer Banks seems to be one of the hot settings for cozies, and By Book or by Crook fits right in with its neighbors. I liked Lucy Richardson, even though she didn't win any points by staying in a relationship for ten years just to keep her parents off her back. Grow a spine, girl, because I have a feeling that those parents of yours won't be able to leave you alone in your new home! Lucy is surrounded by an excellent cast of secondary characters who are a good mix of supportive and irritating. Fellow librarian Charlene's passion for rap music is a running joke throughout the book, and it's a joke I enjoyed since I personally didn't have to listen to the music. I did find it a tad worrying that Lucy has two prospective beaus. She may not be ready for them yet, but I've learned to treat romantic triangles with a great deal of suspicion, thanks to Janet Evanovich. Lucy's fellow librarians are just the sort of people you'd want to work with, and here's hoping that Louise Jane never ever gets a permanent job in the lighthouse library. Louise Jane is the sort of person you'd just love to slap, and I figure the main reason why she so desperately wants to work in the library is that no one wants her there. (As you can see, this is a wonderful cast of characters because I seem to have gotten emotionally involved with them!) Another perk of the book is that you really get a feel for what libraries have to deal with in this age of constant budget cuts. The author makes it clear that keeping libraries alive depends on the librarians, the patrons, and members of the library board and city government who all realize how vital these places are to communities. The mystery in By Book or by Crook provides both the high and the low points of the book. The high point? The killer is hiding in the best place of all-- right out in plain sight, and I cannot believe I didn't figure out the person's identity. The low point? I had a very difficult time suspending my disbelief when it came to the lack of security in place at the library for the exhibit of priceless first editions of all of Jane Austen's novels as well as one of Austen's notebooks. I could easily go on in more depth about this, but I don't want to slip and give away too much of the story. Lack of security aside, I really enjoyed this book. The author took the rather unfeasible idea of putting a library in a lighthouse and made it work with wonderful descriptive passages, an excellent cast, and an intriguing mystery. I'm looking forward to heading back to the Outer Banks for the next book in the series!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Michelle

    Meh. I didn't love it and I didn't hate it. It was just meh. Which is weird because I just read another series from the same author [using a different name] and L O V E D it, so I was really looking forward to this one. Sigh. HOW does one set of circumstances [love-triangle {WHICH is never okay}, the MC having a cop and a mayor to choose between etc etc] work for one series and NOT for another? Because there are a LOT of similarities between this book and the first book of her other series and w Meh. I didn't love it and I didn't hate it. It was just meh. Which is weird because I just read another series from the same author [using a different name] and L O V E D it, so I was really looking forward to this one. Sigh. HOW does one set of circumstances [love-triangle {WHICH is never okay}, the MC having a cop and a mayor to choose between etc etc] work for one series and NOT for another? Because there are a LOT of similarities between this book and the first book of her other series and while it worked for that one really well [MINUS the damn DARN love triangle. I despise those], it does not for this one. This one felt over-long and at times, tedious [mind you, some of it could be the narrator who REALLY should rethink doing a southern accent. Seriously. Please.]. I will give that I never, ever saw the murderer coming [WOW!] and I learned a ton more about Jane Austen and her books than I expected while reading a cozy, it took awhile to get there. And that made me both yawn and roll my eyes. Multiple times. I have three more to read before I read the one I got from NetGalley. I sure hope that this series gets better or its going to be a L O N G reading month.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Shelley Pearson

    This was okay. I’m probably not the target audience. There was a lot about Jane Austen, who I honestly don’t care about at all (sorry). I felt overwhelmed by how many characters were introduced right off the bat. It was a lot of people to keep track of all of a sudden. And then more kept getting added as the story went on. I liked Charles the cat, even though my experience with cats is that they generally hate tummy rubs, so if a cat is going to be into tummy rubs, I think there should be some a This was okay. I’m probably not the target audience. There was a lot about Jane Austen, who I honestly don’t care about at all (sorry). I felt overwhelmed by how many characters were introduced right off the bat. It was a lot of people to keep track of all of a sudden. And then more kept getting added as the story went on. I liked Charles the cat, even though my experience with cats is that they generally hate tummy rubs, so if a cat is going to be into tummy rubs, I think there should be some acknowledgement that most cats don’t like them, and this is a rare cat who does. JUST A PERSONAL ISSUE. A few things were repetitive, like it was explained a couple of times how cell service in the lighthouse is spotty due to the thick stone walls. But my biggest issue was how no one ever told Louise Jane to shut the hell up. (view spoiler)[Everyone was so polite to her even though she dropped insults left and right. And the narrator kept walking straight into her setups, and acknowledging that she was, but she never stopped! I always thought people on the East Coast were more straightforward. But maybe not in the South? I don’t know. I just kept waiting for someone to say to Louise Jane, “Why are you telling this story? Because it seems like you’re just trying to fuck with us.” or “Can you please stop insulting us to our faces?” But everyone acted like she was being a normal person. I hoped she would end up being the killer, so she wouldn’t pop up in future books, but she was too obviously evil to be the real killer. So she’ll probably be around for the whole series, slagging everyone in a nice tone of voice so they don’t realize they’re being insulted until later. (hide spoiler)] Overall, it wasn’t the worst cozy mystery I’ve ever read, but I didn’t really connect with the characters or the plot like I’d like to.

  30. 4 out of 5

    SOS Aloha

    Books are lighthouses erected in the great sea of time. ~E.P. Whipple Lucy escapes her parents' expectations, and an unwanted marriage proposal, by fleeing from Boston to Nags Head, North Carolina. She finds solace in the Outer Banks, where she spent her childhood summers visiting her maternal aunt and female cousin who is more like a sister. Lucy's getaway turns into an opportunity for a new direction - she is offered a job in the town's library that is housed in the historic lighthouse. The ici Books are lighthouses erected in the great sea of time. ~E.P. Whipple Lucy escapes her parents' expectations, and an unwanted marriage proposal, by fleeing from Boston to Nags Head, North Carolina. She finds solace in the Outer Banks, where she spent her childhood summers visiting her maternal aunt and female cousin who is more like a sister. Lucy's getaway turns into an opportunity for a new direction - she is offered a job in the town's library that is housed in the historic lighthouse. The icing on the cake - she can live in the "cozy" apartment in the upper echelon of the lighthouse. Just as Lucy settles into her new job and new abode, she faces push back from some board members and some town folk who see her as an outsider. Soon they see her as a bad luck charm when the library board president is murdered and one volume of the Jane Austen exhibition is stolen. Lucy find her blue blood backbone to face the criticisms and accusations while investigating both the murder and thefts. BY BOOK OR BY CROOK is a typical cozy mystery - an amateur sleuth, quirky characters, a red herring, and a satisfying ending. What sets this cozy mystery apart is the setting - what's not to love about a library in a lighthouse? Add the excitement of the Jane Austen exhibition, an enthusiastic book club, and Josie's bakery treats for an entertaining escape for the reader (and Lucy) to the sandy shores of the Outer Banks.

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