The Liar in the Library
By: Simon Brett
Published by: Severn House Publishers LTD, Surrey, England, 2017
Genre: Fiction – Crime Fiction/Humor/Golden Age of Crime Fiction/Spoof
When a West Sussex retiree accepts an invitation from an old friend to attend an Author’s Lecture at the local library, Jude has no idea she’s about to be implicated in his subsequent murder. As evidence stacks up against her, Jude must enlist the aid of her prickly neighbor and fellow amateur sleuth, Carole Seddon. Can the two amateur sleuths solve the murder and clear Jude’s name before she winds up in the slammer?
Main Characters (in no particular order)
Jude: Old friend of author Burton St. Clair, retiree, and amateur sleuth (Hi, Jessica Fletcher).
Carole Seddon: Jude’s neighbor, also retired. Also an amateur sleuth. Radiates all the warmth of the Polar Ice Caps.
Burton St. Clair: Smug and obsequious “fifty-something author of waning charms and wandering hands.” The “self-regarding liar” winds up dead as a doornail after his author’s lecture/book promo at the Fethering Library.
Di Thompson: Overworked, under-appreciated and oft-exasperated library director who set up St. Clair’s talk.
Vix Winter: “Barely-there” library assistant who’s more interested in her “mobile” than in books.
Nessa Parks: American university writing professor of the elephantine ego who can’t tell the difference between fictional crime of the novel variety and real-life crime “which the police had to deal with every day.”
Oliver Parsons: A widower and retired film director with a “low threshold of boredom.” Also a member of the library’s Writers’ Group.
Steve Chasen: Peevish science fiction author wannabe who gives two year-olds a bad name. Writers’ Group member.
Eveline “Evvie” Ollerenshaw: A lonely widow who lives next to the Fethering Library and marginally helpful library “volunteer.” Does Evvie know more than she’s telling?
The Crown & Anchor pub: West Sussex’s only pub. Popular meeting place and rumor mill par excellence.
Zosia: Young and desperate, Zosia is an employee at the Crown and Anchor. Her uncle Pawel, newly arrived from Poland, is unemployed, an alcoholic, and in Big Trouble. Has he also disappeared with a certain dead author’s hipflask?
Megan Georgeson: Burton’s delusional ex-wife who nurses bitterness like it’s a fine wine.
After wrapping up a remarkably self-aggrandizing talk on his latest book, Stray leaves in Autumn, Burton St. Clair (aka: Jerk Du Juor) comes on to Jude. She rebuffs him. Next thing you know, St. Jerk is found dead in his Beamer. Jude was the last one to see him alive. Now she’s a prime suspect, thanks to Burton’s bitter “truth-challenged” ex, Megan.
Jude knows she didn’t kill St. Jerk. But if she didn’t do the deed, who did?
This clever whodunit manages to deftly tie in a “libraries as an endangered species in the age of Amazon and e-books” theme with a distinctive and droll nod to the Golden Age of crime fiction.
We found the pacing a bit sluggish in places. But then, so’s Carole. A fun read if you’re looking for a good omelet: Light and fluffy.
September 28, 2022 at 7:23 pm
Fun review, I was wondering how this book was similar to an Omelet. Light and Fluffy!
September 29, 2022 at 2:34 am
There ya go😊