The Bodies in the Library

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 08 Nov 2019

Member Reviews

I enjoyed this biblio mystery.  Hayley is a curator of The First Edition Society in Bath that specializes in Women Mystery Authors of the Golden Age.  This book focuses on Agatha Christie.  When the local Agatha Christie fan fiction writer's group needs a place to meet she offers the library. Unfortunately one of the members is murdered and the body is left in the library.  Hayley decides to become familiar with Agatha Christie books and act like Miss Marple and solve the murder.  The mystery was good and there were enough suspects to make it interesting. The solution made sense. I really liked the library and the characters.  I am looking for word to reading the next book.  Enjoy starting this fun series.
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A great option for a cozy reader, especially someone in the book profession. The main character has my dream job, minus the dead bodies.
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Great start to this new series. I would love to walk through the library at the First Edition Society. So many fun references to Agatha Christie. 

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book, which I voluntarily chose to review.
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This book is so much fun and definitely a cut above the typical cozy mystery in terms of writing, character, plot and pace. Haley, the very relatable heroine, has just accepted her dream job as curator of a private collection of books dedicated to women writers from the golden age of mystery -- Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers and the like. The job is a bit out of her comfort level, partly due to lack of experience, but also due to the fact that she's never read any of these authors! But she is young and energetic and determined to breathe new life into the collection to attract a new generation of supporters. Just as she is getting her feet wet, there's a murder, and Haley is on the case. Recommend this to readers who enjoy the cozy mysteries, as well as to other mystery fans. It is outstanding.
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I loved "The Bodies in the Library"! This was a rich cozy mystery with a delightful twist. The curator of the First Edition Library, which specializes in Golden Age detective fiction, has never read any of the mysteries that the collection is filled with. This was a December 2019 store pick in Sleuth of Baker Street's monthly newsletter.  I also recommended the title in a holiday gift guide list, published on my crime fiction review blog.
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SAdly didn't have the time to finish reading it (the loan from Netgalley was out of date for me), but I enjoyed the settings and characters !
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If you are a fan of Agatha Christie, this book is 100% for you! Hayley Burke has arrived at Middlebank to be the new curator for the First Edition Society. Lady Georgiana Fowling, the founder, built the library and dedicated it to first edition novels from the Golden Age of Mysteries. Hayley has no idea what shes gotten herself into, because shes never read a Christie novel. When a man ends up dead in the library she has to turn to the founders love of mysteries to piece the clues. 

The characters are so diverse and intriguing. I enjoyed the character development of Hayley as she finds someone who understands her. As her love for Christie blossomed in the book, so did her connection with Middlebank. I had trouble connecting with the characters at first but they soon grabbed me. As a reader who loves Agatha Christie, I really enjoyed the mix of a cozy and traditional mystery! What would Agatha do??
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I found the first few chapters rather slow going as I got to know the characters, there seemed to be too many for the plot.  I did enjoy the ending and look forward to more from this writer on Hayley’s sleuthing.
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Hayley Burke, the reluctant sleuth with a secret, is an enjoyable character.

There are genuinely funny moments and the dialogue is believable. The obligatory romance doesn't bog the plot down or annoy.

The references to Christie's work are delightful. Who can resist a heroine who asks, "What would Jane Marple do?".

I'm looking forward to more in this series. A familiar cast of characters and plot are given enough of a twist to feel fresh and I just had to know who really did it.
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The Bodies in the Library was interesting cozy murder mystery that revolved around Hayley’s job as curator of Lady Georgiana Fowling’s First Edition Society at Lady Fowling’s Middlebank House, turned into library containing vast collection of first edition books by women authors from Golden Age of Mystery. It was about fanfiction, maintaining and respecting the legacy, secrets, conflicts, and friendship.

Book was first person narrative. Hayley’s voice was relatable, fun and so very British. Like her, I also haven’t read Christie, Slayers or Daphne books, and similarly I feel so bad for not reading them now. I could see how she felt when her position as curator was questioned.

Hayley’s expertise was 19th century literature. She never read mystery novels, knew nothing about Miss Marple and Poirot. She was lucky to have this job. With job, she was given accommodation in same premises, a grand and beautiful Georgian house. Mrs. Woolger, former secretary and caretaker of society, also lived and worked at Middlebank and didn’t know about Hayley’s lack of knowledge about the Golden Age of Mysteries. She didn’t like Hayleys’ ideas ways of running things. They didn’t see eye to eye. So, Hayley’s constant fear of being taken as fraud and losing her dream job was palpable.

She worked hard to fulfil her job and to spread word about the society, she invited fanfiction writers to society’s library for weekly meet up, but when one of the writer’s dead body was found in the library, that ended up in jeopardizing her job and Society’s reputation.

No clues and many suspects, I was curious to know how Hayley was going to find the murderer. What made the idea even more exciting was, she knew nothing about investigation until she read Christie’s Miss Marple book, The Body in the Library. It was fun to see her growing interest in mysteries and she did wonderful job in gathering clues. We could see how armature she was, not asking questions so subtly, taking risks and not keeping an open mind.

Hayley was great throughout the book. I liked her passion and ideas. Her efforts to keep her job safe. Her relationship with her mother was lovely. I also enjoyed Hayley and Mrs. Woolger contrasting nature in the book and how both could work together when it came to saving Society.

All characters, especially writers, were quirky and inetreting. Author did wonderful job with them. Their fanfiction ideas and stories were fun. It was entertaining to see them inquiring about murder. Each had lot of questions and advise for Sargent who was so frustrated within few days of murder. And did I tell you anything about that cat in the cover. All credit for discovering clues and mysterious things goes to him.

The romance in between murder mystery was sweet. Hayley’s conflicting emotions for Van Moffatt and Wyn Rundle added spice to story. Wyn was really exhausting and I wonder why she liked him in first place. Val was brilliant throughout the book. I didn’t appreciate Val’s behavior in first meeting. He looked a bit jealous but as I knew him more, I liked him better.

What I loved most in the book was modern day setting along with Golden age of Mystery. It created wonderful atmosphere. Description of Middlebank house, the First Edition Society, Bath was mesmerizing. It was interesting to know Lady Georgiana Fowling’s life and her passion. And book cannot be complete without Christie and other mystery writers’ characters.

Suspense was good. I couldn’t guess who the murderer was until last few chapters. And the motive was only cleared in last chapter. End was satisfying and lovely. I can’t wait to see what new mysteries awaits for Hayley in next books.

Why 4 stars-

Everything was perfect but that motive for murder ruined the fun.

Overall, it was promising first book in new series. Interesting writing, atmospheric setting, and cozy mystery makes this book perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and this genre.
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Haley is the first curator of the First Edition Society in Bath, England and is working hard to make it a part of the literary community.  Hosting a local writer’s group is her first success.  Finding the leader of the group dead inside the locked building doesn’t help her cause. Great cast of characters for future books in this cozy series. I received a copy of this arc in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie

What a great first in series! The Bodies in the Library exceeds the novels in this author’s previous series, and those are excellent – making this an absolute winner! The characters are very well-defined, the setting of a First Editions Library in an older British mansion in Bath, classic Agatha Christie mysteries, and the mystery itself make for an absorbing, wonderful read.

Hayley Burke has never read a mystery, yet she is now curator of the library at Middlebank, home of the First Editions Society. It was the passion and dream of the late Lady Georgiana Fowling, also an author of mystery fan fiction, to have this society and collection of books by women authors from the Golden Age of Mysteries for those who love mysteries as much as she did. It has taken three years to settle the estate, mostly due to Lady Fowler’s nephew, Charles Henry Dill. Dill inherited a huge sum of money, and still believes the home should also be his. That his aunt didn’t feel the same didn’t matter – just his desires.

On Wednesday evenings, a writer’s group of folks who are writing fan fiction meet in the library at Middlebank. When Hayley first assumed her new position, she saw a notice that they were looking for a place to meet, and she offered it, thinking that it would please the intentions of the founder. The group is a bit of a challenge, leaving chairs out of place and arguing loudly over their critiques of each other’s work. Mrs. Woolgar, who had been Lady Fowler’s dear friend and personal assistant for decades, disapproves of them and of Hayley.

Hayley makes plans for the future events at the society, including the hope of regular literary salons to meet to include lectures on 1930’s authors and writings, and local entertainment and culture. Adele, her close friend, board member, and the person who suggested her for this position, suggests she get a co-sponsor, perhaps from Bath College, to help with the lectures. Through this suggestion, Hayley meets Val Moffatt, a lecturer in genre fiction and creative writing. A widower, he is intelligent and charming with twin daughters about the same age as Hayley’s daughter.

Before they could get approval from the college or the board, however, a murder occurs that could change everything for the Society. Trist, the leader of the group of writers, is found on a Thursday morning, dead, in the library. Hayley had seen everyone, including Trist, leave last night, locked the door and set the alarm. There are only three people with keys and the alarm code: Mrs. Woolgar, Hayley, and Pauline, of the cleaning service that comes in weekly. Hayley and Mrs. Woolgar have apartments within the home and would have heard if the alarm went off during the night.

Police believe Trist had been murdered outside and identify what his head had hit. Who would have, or even could have, lugged his body inside without leaving any trail – and why inside the library rather than leave him at the post topper where he died?

Hayley’s mother introduces her to Agatha Christie’s novel, The Body in the Library, which is eerily similar to what Hayley has just experienced. She is enthralled with Miss Marple in the first mystery she reads. She wants to read more mysteries, and she wants to find who the murderer(s) could be – not only to save her job, but to get herself and Mrs. Woolgar off the suspect list.

I really like Hayley and her friend Adele. They are both strong, intelligent women who enjoy their chosen literature genres. Adele is the youngest of the five Society members, all of whom were close to Lady Fowler. We even get to know a bit about each person in Hayley’s well-rounded life, including her mum, her daughter Dinah, and Wyn, the guy who is more like an acquaintance than a boyfriend. I am impressed with how well I feel I got to know the characters in this first in series.

The mystery is even more impressive! This is actually the first time I’ve heard about fan fiction, and it sounds fascinating. I couldn’t imagine how exciting it would be to be curator of such an incredible collection and learn about Lady Fowling to see how she would best want her Society to proceed. The mystery is beyond challenging! I enjoyed watching the interactions with the mystery writers, the police, and Hayley, especially as Hayley went from “leaving it to the police” to helping the police with what she learns. There are a few good suspects, even some good motives – but the problem is still who would be able to get the body into the home, into the library.  I highly recommend this awesome new mystery!

*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*
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The Bodies in the Library
A First Edition Library Mystery #1
Marty Wingate
Berkley Prime Crime, October 2019
ISBN 978-1-984-80410-5

Hayley Burke recently started her dream job as curator of a book collection focused on the women authors of the Golden Age, authors such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers. The late Lady Georgiana Fowling’s personal assistant and now permanent The First Edition Society secretary, Glynis Woolgar, views Hailey with suspicion but she hasn’t figured out the curator’s big secret yet—while Hayley has experience with libraries and literature, she knows next to nothing about the Golden Age or, in fact, mysteries and detectives. The two women do NOT see eye to eye on how Hayley is running things, including hosting a fan fiction writing group in the library, and things certainly don’t get better when a body is found in their own locked room mystery. To get to the answers she needs before her position as curator implodes, Hayley reads her first mystery, The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie, and is soon assisting the police with their investigation, whether they want her help or not.

Marty Wingate has been one of my favorite traditional mystery authors for some time although I’ve been seriously remiss about writing reviews. With this new series, she has created an ambience of the very Golden Age mysteries the Society promotes but with a charming modern-day setting and the de rigueur sleuthing works really well. Kudos to the author for what looks to be a clever and appealing new series.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, November 2019.
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This is a fun cozy mystery set in Bath, England. Hayley Burke gets a job as the curator of The First Edition Society, which was established by a wealthy woman to preserve her collection of first editions of books by women authors from the Golden Age of Mystery – Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Margery Allingham and the like. Hayley has a degree in 19th century English literature and has never read a mystery novel in her life. In an attempt to make the Society more relevant to the current day, Hayley allows an Agatha Christie fan fiction group to meet weekly in the Society’s library. When the dead body of one of the fan fiction writers is found in the library, Hayley dives into the books of Agatha Christie to learn about detecting so she can catch the killer and save her job.
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Haley Burke is settling into her new position as curator of the First Edition Society. The First Edition Society is dedicated to Golden Age Mysteries, Haley's background in 19th Century literature is not particularly helpful to her job, but she gamely tries to do her best for the society without anyone discovering that she has never read a mystery. When a body is found in the library of the society Haley decides to help the police solve the case to save the society and her job.

The first in a new series by Marty Wingate. The Bodies in the Library works as a stand-alone novel but left me eager to read more. Great for fans of Hannah Dennison. The Bodies in the Library is a light-hearted cozy mystery with a hint of romance and humor.
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Hayley Burke is the new curator of The First Edition Society, a library dedicated to first editions from the Golden Age of Mysteries. How she got the job, I’m not sure, because she’s never read a mystery, which made me laugh. It’s a sweet position she doesn’t want to lose, but when a member of an Agatha Christie fanfic group is murdered at the library, Hayley’s future there is threatened — she allowed them in, after all.

I loved the setting of Bath, England, and the gorgeous Georgian home that housed the precious books. The murder mystery is definitely Christie-inspired, with many quirky suspects. With her job at stake, as well as the survival of the society itself, I can understand why Hayley would want to launch her own investigation, or at least give the police a gently nudge here and there. I can’t resist a cozy mystery revolving around books, and this one was a quick, fun read. Now I need to catch up on my Christie. 3.5 Stars.
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The Bodies in the Library earns 5/5 First Edition Treasures...Engaging Fun!

Kudos with a capital “K” I am a eager fan of Marty Wingate’s writing style, and her new series doesn’t disappoint with an unique kind of library which will offer volumes of adventures. Hayley Burke is the new curator for The First Edition Society managing the renowned first edition collection of Lady Georgiana Fowling housed in Lady Fowling’s former residence, Middlebank House, in Bath, England. To show herself as “forward thinking and thorough she can be,” she has arranged for a fan-fiction writing group to meet at Middlebank House discussing and brainstorming their “outside the box” work. However, their zealous discussions, furniture mishaps, and twists to Agatha Christie that might be consider sacrilegious put their future meetings at the House in jeopardy. Worse yet, the leader of the writers group ends up dead!

Marty Wingate’s well-written story includes intriguing background and introductions laying out a wonderful set of characters, motivations, and friendships yet weaving in the conflicts that ultimately lead to murder. I greatly enjoyed the first-person narrative from Hayley’s perspective sharing her inner thoughts on family, a long-distance relationship, her ideas for the Society, and thoughts about the other characters. Along with marvelous descriptive language painting pictures, she includes dialogue that illustrates well the varied personalities, tone, and emotions. The mystery leads in various directions revealing several secrets with the local CID as an impediment to Hayley’s own investigation. And the ending is a big Wow!
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Hayley Burke is excited when she lands the position of curator of The First Edition Society’s library. The society is focused on the Golden Age of Mysteries. A subject Hayley knows less than nothing about, but she’s not going to let anyone know this - least of all the library’s secretary, Mrs. Woolgar, or the society’s board members.

Mrs. Woolgar is not happy with the changes Hayley is making. One thing is inviting an aspiring mystery writing group to meet each week. Mrs. Woolgar does not like the mess they leave. She has a point since after one meeting they left behind a dead body.

This is the perfect ammunition to use against Hayley and prove her incompetence. Hayley has no choice but to play amateur sleuth and solve this case. First, she must learn how to investigate crimes. Who better to teach her than Agatha Christie’s Jane Marple? Haylely sets out to read all about the most famous of amateur sleuths and discovers a whole new world.

This is the first book in the First Edition Library Mystery series and it’s off to a wonderful start. It felt like an old-fashioned Christie mystery. A dead body with a long list of suspects. There is also a little romance mixed in, but the mystery storyline is front and center throughout the book.

It took a little time for me to get acquainted with the cast of characters, but once I did, I felt like I knew them well. The storyline moved at a steady pace. I began to guess who the culprit was when Haylely did. It’s a light mystery with quite a few quirky characters. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

FTC Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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This was quite a good start to a new cozy murder mystery series. I am looking forward to more by this author in this series.
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So this book is basically everything I like in a cozy mystery. Haley was such an amazing amateur sleuth and I loved the angle of her working as curator for the First Editions Society while carrying the secret of having never read a mystery novel. The homage to Christie was so well done, and I laughed so hard at the line “Did you just try to out Miss Marple me?” 

The biggest pet peeve I have about cozies is when characters are so outlandish that they seem like caricatures of actual characters. This did not happen in this one! Even Wynn, while strange and quirky, was well-written and written with restraint. 

The mystery was well plotted, and the premise was just excellent. I am all in on this series. 

The only negative and what kept it being five stars is that it started to drag between the 60% and 80% mark. 

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for a free advanced copy!
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