Title: The Woman in the Library
Author: Sulari Gentill
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication: 7 June 2022
I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley and Poisoned Pen Press in exchange for an honest review.
The peace of the Boston Public Library Reading Room is destroyed one day when a woman screams and four people are brought together. Freddie, Cain, Marigold, and Whit strike up a friendship that day, and then decide to investigate. Yet, one of them is a murderer.
The start of the book left me a bit confused as it starts with a letter to Hannah from someone named Leo. But it soon becomes clear that Hannah is writing a new book and Leo is a fan of her writing and is beta-reading her newest novel. The story of the scream in the library and Freddie, Cain, Marigold, and Whit’s friendship is all part of Hannah’s story.
Of course, we soon find out that Cain, a writer himself, has served time in prison. He killed his step-dad when he was 15, he claimed it was self-defense, but his step-dad was a decorated policeman. Cain served his sentence and is trying to put his past behind him. The woman who screamed, Caroline Palfrey, later turns up dead and is the granddaughter of the judge who convicted Cain. Then Whit ends up stabbed (he’s fine) and his mom was Cain’s lawyer. It doesn’t look good for Cain, but Freddie, who is in love with him, doesn’t believe he’s guilty of any of this. While it seems naive at times that Freddie still believes him, it also seems that Cain is too obvious a suspect throughout the book.
The twist at the end of who the real killer is was great and made for a good story. But the last chapter didn’t feel like the end of the book. I was surprised by the ending and super annoyed at the same time. I felt like there should’ve been another chapter or two. I also wonder if the ending in Hannah’s story is supposed to mirror her own story of what happens in her world.
Still an inventive story and I’m also up for a good frame story, and I’m curious if she’ll come back to these characters in the future.
Happy Reading Darlings!