Fans of "Castle"may have a new series to follow. Murder at the 42nd Street Library features a curator of crime fiction who is an amateur detective of sorts. Ray Ambler manages the crime fiction collection, both the books and the donated papers of various authors. He also likes to help out the police by sharing facts with them. And he has even made friends with a detective on the force, Mike Cosgrove. But when a murder takes place inside the library, Ambler becomes much more involved than he could ever imagine.
This case, and the story, has plenty of suspects, lots of complicated relationships, and secrets. What can I say without giving too much away? Hmmmm. There are two biographies being written about a prominent author, while the author himself is dealing with dementia and trouble with his current wife (who's half his age). All these folks are converging on the library along with their wives and assistants, plus the library runners who pull materials from the stacks for them, the curators, and the library's director. So how can it be that no one can describe or identify the murderer, even though the shooting took place in the director's office and the perpetrator walked right past security on the way out of the building?
Along with trying to dig up clues for the police department (whether they want his help or not), Ambler is also helping a friend cope with the death of her mother, dealing with his own son, and worrying about his position at the library being cut. His friend Cosgrove has a strained relationship with his wife and daughter and his partner on the force resents Ambler's interference in the case. Nothing is ever easy, right?
Lehane has come up with a likable character in Ambler. The bits of his history that come up help to add depth to his personality and explain his reluctance to pick up on the advances from a coworker. Each person in the story is more than just a cardboard placeholder; the other characters have their own issues - unhappy marriages, death in the family, moody teenage kids, etc. The description of the library itself is well done and captures the atmosphere of a research library with its massive stacks, requests for materials, and security procedures. The mention of various crime authors adds in another layer of enjoyment for readers who are fond of the genre.
This promises to be an entertaining series, both in the mysteries that Ambler will become involved in and also in watching the relationships between the characters evolve.
I read an e-book provided by the publisher through edelweiss.