Past Due for Murder by Victoria Gilbert
Published by Crooked Lane Books on February 12, 2019 (expected)
Series: Blue Ridge Library Mysteries, #3
Genre(s): fiction, mystery, romance
Format & Length: e-book, 304
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Has a curse fallen on the small town of Taylorsford, Virginia? After a young woman goes missing during a spring bonfire, library director Amy Webber must wade through the web of lies only to find a truth that she may not want to untangle.
Spring has sprung in quaint Taylorsford, Virginia, and the mayor has revived the town’s long-defunct May Day celebration to boost tourism. As part of the festivities, library director Amy Webber is helping to organize a research project and presentation by a local folklore expert. All seems well at first―but spring takes on a sudden chill when a university student inexplicably vanishes during a bonfire.
The local police cast a wide net to find the missing woman, but in a shocking turn of events, Amy’s swoon-worthy neighbor Richard Muir becomes a person of interest in the case. Not only is Richard the woman’s dance instructor, he also doesn’t have an alibi for the night the student vanished―or at least not one he’ll divulge, even to Amy.
When the missing student is finally discovered lost in the mountains, with no memory of recent events―and a dead body lying nearby―an already disturbing mystery takes on a sinister new hue. Blessed with her innate curiosity and a librarian’s gift for research, Amy may be the only one who can learn the truth.
Past Due for Murder, the third book in the Blue Ridge Library Mystery series, continues to follow the zany cast of characters from the first two books in yet another mystery.
“Fact is fact, and fiction is fiction, and story is often a blend of both.”
While still technically a cozy mystery, this book toes the line a bit, with more frequent action than you’d typically find in the genre. And this plot had plenty going on, keeping the story moving. Although the pacing was a bit inconsistent throughout, the conclusion to the mystery coming sooner than I expected and a wrap up at the end that was a bit slower than I prefer.
The strength in this book really lies in its characters, though. While some aspects of the plot felt slightly forced to keep the story moving, the characters, their relationships and drama, felt realistic and well rounded. The main character, Amy, has been relatable since the first book and has only grown more so with each installment.
Although Past Due for Murder wasn’t the strongest book so far in this series, it was still quite enjoyable and I’d read another if the author continues on. I suppose you could technically read this as a standalone, but you’d miss the longer character arcs as well as several references to the prior books. If interested, I’d recommend starting with book one, A Murder for the Books.
*Thanks to the publisher for providing an arc of this edition via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.