Read It and Weep by Jenn McKinlay

Read It and Weepreaditandweep2
by Jenn McKinlay

4th in the series about library director Lindsey Norris in the coastal community of Briar Creek.

Website: www.jennmckinlay.com

Publisher
Back Bay Books
2004

ISBN: 0-316-05996-x (pb)

Briar Creek’s community theater is presenting Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with famous British actor Robbie Vine and former Broadway actress/new director, Violet LaRue. Things are fine, if hectic, until there are attempts on Robbie’s life during rehearsal. It’s a frightening situation that raises problems more complicated than simply finding the right actor to move into his role.

There’s the troublesome critic working for Violet’s ex who is eager for damning information about the production, Violet, or Robbie. There are the overprotective parents of the teens cast in the play. Jealous husbands. And then there are the women in Robbie’s life. A wife, a girlfriend, and, if Robbie’d had his way, Lindsey herself.

As librarian, Lindsey is used to solving problems for her patrons and friends. Now it’s time to solve who would murder a favorite winsome actor and threaten the life of the community theater in the bargain.

Theater projects seem to inspire romance, and these abound, not the least of which is the troubled one between Lindsey and Captain Mike Sullivan, Sully. As the two of them spar their way to what may or may not be a new level of relationship, Lindsey uses her skills to find out who hates Robbie enough to want him dead.

My own mother-in-law was a village librarian. She was friendly, accommodating, knowledgeable, and very much at the center of village life. She was also a shrewd researcher and problem-solver.

As a librarian herself, McKinlay knows her atmosphere and does an excellent job of recreating it. Her story is fast-paced with overlapping plot lines that weave the threads of everyday library life gracefully in and out among those of hardworking community theater life.

There are times when the pace is so fast as to be mildly bewildering; I found myself having to reread passages a few times to make sure I’d caught everything. Also, as the fourth book in the series but the first I read, this book left me a little lost geographically. I’d like to have clearer details about the setting (even if it’s fictional) so that I could place it better. Had cover information and inside blurbs not been there, I might not have realized that this was a saltwater community. Aside from that, Read It and Weep is a fun, tightly written mystery, with an insightful look at relationships in small town life.

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