Murder in the Locked Library (Book Retreat Series #4)

Murder in the Locked Library (Book Retreat Series #4)

by Ellery Adams

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Overview

Welcome to Storyton Hall, Virginia, where book lovers travel from near and far to enjoy the singular comforts of the Agatha Christie Tea Room, where they can discuss the merits of their favorite authors no matter how deadly the topic . . .
 
With her twins, Fitzgerald and Hemingway, back in school, Jane Steward can finally focus on her work again—managing Storyton Hall, and breaking ground on the resort’s latest attraction: a luxurious, relaxing spa named in honor of Walt Whitman. But when the earth is dug up to start laying the spa’s foundation, something else comes to the surface—a collection of unusual bones and the ragged remnants of a very old book. The attendees of the Rare Book Conference are eager to assist Jane with this unexpected historical mystery—until a visitor meets an untimely end in the Henry James Library. As the questions—and suspects—start stacking up, Jane will have to uncover a killer before more unhappy endings ensue . . .
 
“Combines clever clues, a smart and courageous heroine and an interesting setting in a whodunit that will inspire readers to make further visits to Storyton Hall.”
Richmond Times-Dispatch on Murder in the Paperback Parlor

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781496715630
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 04/24/2018
Series: Book Retreat Series , #4
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 48,462
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.60(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Ellery Adams has written over thirty mystery novels and can’t imagine spending a day away from the keyboard. Ms. Adams, a native New Yorker, has had a lifelong love affair with stories, food, rescue animals, and large bodies of water. When not working on her next novel, she bakes, gardens, spoils her three cats, and spends far too much time on Pinterest. She lives with her husband and two children (aka the Trolls) in Chapel Hill, NC. For more information, please visit www.elleryadamsmysteries.com.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

"Don't touch that book!"

Thrusting his index finger out like a rapier, Sinclair, the head librarian of Storyton Hall, waved identical twins Hemingway and Fitzgerald Steward over to the far side of the reading table.

"Why not?" one of the brothers asked in surprise.

"You told us to be curious about what's between every cover in every library," the other brother added.

Sinclair pointed at their dirt-encrusted hands. "What else have I taught you about the proper treatment of books?"

"To make sure our hands are clean before touching a book," Hem said.

"I was going to say that." Fitz frowned, but quickly brightened again. "You also said never fold the corner of a page to mark our place. Civilized people use bookmarks."

Sinclair's stern expression morphed into a smile. "Correct on both counts. Scrub those hands until I can see pink skin and I'll tell you about this book. It holds a secret."

The twins cast matching glances of doubt at the modest leather volume before exiting the library at a speed their mother, Jane Steward, would have referred to as their "power-lurch" pace.

"At least they're not running," she said to Sinclair.

Jane had silently watched the exchange between the head librarian and her sons from the comfort of an oversized wing chair. She never interrupted Sinclair when he was instructing the twins. "It's a daily battle to keep them from knocking into little old ladies, especially when all three parties have their noses buried in books."

"I could think of far worse transgressions," was Sinclair's reply as he placed a wooden book cradle on the large reading table. He then laid two pair of white gloves, a selection of foam wedges, and a book weight next to the cradle.

At the sight of the gloves, Jane arched a brow and whispered, "I thought those were reserved for handling books in the secret library. And for initial contact only. Didn't you say that gloves can be more dangerous than bare fingers because one can't properly feel the pages and might accidentally rip them?"

"I did," Sinclair agreed amiably. "However, your sons and I have a markedly different definition of clean. I love those boys like they were my own flesh and blood, but their stained and jagged fingernails will not come into contact with this book."

Jane couldn't argue against this precaution. The twins had just started a new school year, and after three months of reading, swimming, archery, fishing, martial arts, falconry lessons, picnics, barbecues, and bike rides into the village, they were finding the adjustment difficult. Today, for example, was a Friday afternoon leading into a long Labor Day weekend, and the twins had been home for less than ten minutes. In that short amount of time, they acted like they'd just been released from prison.

Cleanliness had never been high on their priority list, and Jane was constantly reminding her sons to wash themselves and tidy their room. Now, with their earlier bedtimes, homework, and having to wear clothes that weren't riddled with holes or covered with stains, the twins were rebelling by blatantly ignoring their personal hygiene, and today was no exception. Even the handmade soap crafted by Tammie Kota, Jane's future spa manager, couldn't inspire the boys to do more than pass their grimy hands under running water before drying them on what was inevitably a freshly laundered white towel.

When Fitz and Hem returned to the library from the men's restroom in the lobby, Sinclair offered each of them a pair of gloves.

"Are we pretending to be Mickey Mouse?" Hem asked.

Fitz stared at his gloves. "Or girls?"

The twins exchanged horrified glances.

Sinclair deigned to reply. He gazed placidly at the boys until they donned their gloves.

"Now then, I told you that this book contains a secret. I'm going to teach you how to handle a very old book so that we can examine the secret together. When we're done, I'm going to package the book, along with the other eleven volumes in the series, for shipment. The set will be sold at auction. Your mother hopes that it'll fetch enough money to pay for part of the spa construction."

Fitz's eyes widened. He turned to Jane. "Didn't you say that it'll cost thousands and thousands of dollars?"

Jane nodded. "Remember when I showed you the plans? I explained that a spa like ours has to be fancy. We're going to have treatment rooms, a relaxation space, and a boutique selling all-natural botanical products. These rooms are expensive to build, especially when you include water features and custom —"

"And people are going to get wrapped in seaweed," Fitz interrupted.

"Like sushi!" Hem chimed in giddily.

Sinclair cleared his throat and all three Stewards snapped to attention. It didn't matter that Jane was the manager of Storyton Hall Resort and technically, Sinclair's boss. Her position as manager carried little weight in the Henry James Library. The library was Sinclair's domain. In this cavernous room, with its reading tables, soft chairs, oil paintings, globes, mammoth fireplaces, and shelves upon shelves of books, only one person was in charge.

"The proper way to examine a rare book is to place it in a cradle like this," Sinclair explained to the twins. He gently transferred the book, which was about the length of his hand, to the cradle.

"What are those pieces of foam for?" Hem asked, reaching for one.

"I'm delighted you asked, Master Hemingway," Sinclair said. "Observe. When I open the cover, I meet with resistance when I get to ... here. An angle of approximately one hundred and twenty degrees."

Closing the book, he looked at his pupils. "Would you like to try?"

Both boys did. Very carefully, they took turns opening the cover.

"I think I hear a little crack," Fitz said. "Like it's telling me to stop."

Looking pleased, Sinclair gestured at the foam blocks. "You have correctly interpreted the book's needs. Would you like the honor of placing this foam on the cradle and opening the cover again?"

His face shining, Fitz shot his brother a triumphant glance before doing as Sinclair directed.

Ignoring Fitz, Hem pointed at Sinclair's hand. "Why aren't you wearing gloves?"

"Excellent question. The answer is that it's best to turn the pages with clean hands. Completely clean hands. Now. Allow me to show you the first copperplate, which is opposite the title page."

The boys flanked Sinclair and bent over the book in anticipation. Sinclair revealed the illustration, which depicted a ship in wild seas, a wooden barrel being tossed by a rogue wave, and a formidable fish.

The boys released a stream of questions.

"Is there a storm?"

"What's in the barrel?"

"How can the fish be on top of the water?"

"Who's Jonathan Swift?"

Sinclair focused on the last question. "Among other things, Swift wrote Gulliver's Travels."

The twins were advanced readers for their tender age, which was no surprise considering they'd grown up surrounded by books and book enthusiasts. And while they'd yet to conquer Gulliver's Travels, they had seen an animated film adaption of Swift's famous tale.

"How old is this?" Fitz asked in a reverent tone.

Sinclair gingerly turned pages until he came to a copperplate of a map. "One of the reasons this book is so rare is that it's part of a series published between 1703 and 1740."

"Whoa, that's old!" Hem exclaimed, after a brief pause in which he seemed to be performing calculations in his head.

"Indeed," Sinclair said. "Most owners lost some of the books in their series. Or books were damaged. It is very unusual for the entire set to be together like this. And in such excellent shape. Look at the Moroccan calfskin binding of this volume. It's in sublime condition."

Fitz, who'd seen countless examples of leather-bound books, was indifferent as to its appearance. "What's the secret?"

"Ah, the secret is actually part of the book. It's literally been glued into the binding between the end paper and the back cover." Sinclair turned to the place in question and unfolded a sheaf of paper.

The twins stared at it in confusion.

"It's hard to read," Hem complained. "The writing is so curly. Is it cursive?"

"Wait. Is this about people getting married?" Fitz's voice was laced with indignation. The twins disliked any subject pertaining to romance. They were at "that phase" of their development, as Mrs. Pimpernel, the head housekeeper, tended to say. Mrs. Hubbard, the head cook, simply referred to it as a "three-year-long case of the cooties."

Sinclair chuckled. "I'm sorry to disappoint, but yes. This is a certificate of marriage between Jonathan Swift and Esther Johnson. See? Here's his signature. And hers. This third signature belongs to a man who witnessed what must have been a very small, very secret ceremony. His name is Alexander Pope. He's another famous author."

Because the boys were starting to fidget, Jane decided to add her two cents. "People have always wondered if Mr. Swift married Ms. Johnson. It's been one of history's mysteries." She grinned at her unintentional rhyme. "Mr. Swift definitely acted like he loved Ms. Johnson. He even made sure he was buried next to her. But until now, no one could prove that they were married."

Fitz was still unimpressed. "Last year, our teacher taught us about a man who went to jail for printing fake money. Can't people make fake letters too?"

"Absolutely," Jane said. "But this is the real deal. A close relative of Jonathan Swift gave these books to your great-grandfather after Mr. Swift's death. Mr. Swift's family didn't want anyone to know that he'd secretly married. For whatever reason, they believed Esther was the reason Jonathan wrote some ... well, some strange things."

"I like strange things," Hem said.

Fitz looked at him. "Me too. People think wizards are strange. That's why wizards call nonmagical people Muggles."

It was obvious to Sinclair that the twins weren't exactly captivated by the book in the cradle, so after thanking them for their attention, he told them they were free to carry on with whatever they'd been doing before they'd wandered into the library.

"Where should we put these?" Fitz asked, pulling off his gloves.

Sinclair smiled. "Why don't you keep them? All great wizards own at least one pair of gloves, don't they? For handling toxic plants and such."

After mulling this over, Fitz said, "I guess so" and tucked the gloves in his pocket.

Jane threw him a stern look. He added a hasty "thank you," which was echoed by Hem.

The clock on Sinclair's desk chimed and the boys spun on their heels. They cried "teatime!" and bolted for the door.

Jane opened her mouth to chastise her sons for running indoors, but she wasn't fast enough. They were halfway to the kitchens before she could utter a syllable.

"I can't really blame them," she said to Sinclair as he began to wrap the Jonathan Swift book in tissue paper. "Even though the official Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Walt Whitman Spa isn't until tomorrow night, Mrs. Hubbard has been cooking as if she was serving royalty since Monday."

"Our guests have certainly been delighted by the tea offerings this week," Sinclair said. Having cocooned the book in tissue paper followed by an additional layer of white kraft paper, he was now securing the valuable volume in bubble wrap.

"Undoubtedly due to all the chocolate-themed treats," Jane said. "Apparently, the arrival of the earthmover and the mountain of dirt it created has inspired Mrs. Hubbard to bake platters of treats containing one or all of the following ingredients: chocolate cookie crumbs, chocolate shavings, chocolate chips, or nuts. I guess the nuts were meant to represent rocks."

Sinclair paused in his work. "Reminds me of a certain Halloween party from three years ago. The twins created a ghastly cake featuring chocolate pudding, crushed chocolate wafers, gummy worms, and red icing."

Jane laughed. "It didn't taste as bad as it looked."

Sinclair sniffed. "I wouldn't know. I don't eat food served in a litter box."

As if summoned by the mention of an object used by millions of his fellow felines, Muffet Cat plodded into the Henry James Library.

The rotund tuxedo made a beeline for a reading chair facing the window. A sunbeam lit the cushion, and though Jane couldn't blame the cat for wanting to doze in such a cozy spot, she had to prevent him from claiming it. Storyton Hall was currently hosting a very persnickety guest who'd blow her top should she encounter Muffet Cat a second time.

Mrs. Eleanor Whartle and Muffet Cat had first met in the lobby moments after Mrs. Whartle had disembarked from one of Storyton Hall's vintage Rolls Royce sedans. Upon entering the luxurious main lobby, the powdered and perfumed octogenarian had been greeted by Butterworth, the butler. As was his tradition, Butterworth offered Mrs. Whartle a glass of champagne. However, Mrs. Whartle had the distinction of being the only guest in Storyton Hall's history to help herself to two flutes of bubbly from Butterworth's silver tray.

"I just buried my husband of thirty-eight years," she'd declared, as if she'd dug the grave herself. "After putting up with that odious man for as long as I did, I deserve his champagne too."

Butterworth had inclined his head and stoically replied, "Yes, madam."

Mrs. Whartle had drained the first glass and was raising the second glass to her mouth when Muffet Cat appeared from beneath a nearby sofa. Blinking groggily, he brushed Mrs. Whartle's calf with the length of his furry body.

This was atypical behavior for Muffet Cat. An aloof feline at best, he avoided mingling with guests unless they were dining alfresco. In that case, he made it clear that he'd like to sample choice tidbits from their plates. If a generous guest complied, the ungrateful feline would gulp down whatever morsels he'd been given and scamper off, surprising the guest with his agility, for Muffet Cat was approaching eighteen pounds.

Muffet Cat ignored most of the staff. He tolerated Jane and the boys. There was only one person he truly loved, and that person was Jane's great-aunt Octavia. Aunt Octavia was the equivalent of the dowager queen of Storyton Hall. In lieu of fur-trimmed robes, she wore voluminous housedresses in bold colors and wild designs and carried a bejeweled walking stick. Aunt Octavia's footwear was also unique. Following her diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, she'd taken to wearing orthopedic Mary Janes that produced a unique squeaking sound when the rubber soles met the lobby's polished marble floor tiles.

Mrs. Whartle's orthopedic shoes were identical to Aunt Octavia's, so it was no wonder that Muffet Cat mistook her for his favorite human. Not only that, but both women had a similar build. To Muffet Cat, Mrs. Whartle's calf looked just like Aunt Octavia's. Therefore, he assumed that if he rubbed said calf, he'd receive a treat.

Instead of pulling a piece of dried chicken or salmon from her pocket, Mrs. Whartle had screamed and hurled her champagne flute at Muffet Cat.

The coddled feline fled up the main staircase in a streak of black and white fur. When he reached the landing, he paused to cast a menacing glare down at the creature who'd splattered his coat with a foul-smelling liquid.

The broken champagne flute had been cleaned up within seconds, and Butterworth had apologized to Mrs. Whartle for the distress Muffet Cat's abrupt appearance had caused. However, it took several complimentary cocktails to finally appease her. Anyone within shouting distance of the Ian Fleming Lounge could hear Mrs. Whartle's tale of the wild animal in the lobby that had mercilessly attacked an old lady.

When Jane had phoned her room that evening in an attempt to repair the damage, Mrs. Whartle had made it very plain that she expected Muffet Cat to be banished from the house and grounds until the conclusion of her visit.

"I'll have her banished!" Great-Aunt Octavia had bellowed the following morning when Jane repeated the conversation she'd had with their flustered guest.

Great-Uncle Aloysius had pushed his fishing hat higher on his brow and murmured soothingly, "There, there, dear. Not everyone shares your affection for Muffet Cat."

"If that woman knew what a traumatic kittenhood that poor animal endured, she might not be so cold-hearted," Aunt Octavia had said. "I'm going to invite her to tea and tell her the moving tale of how Muffet Cat came to join our family."

Mrs. Whartle had thoroughly enjoyed the lavish tea, especially since it hadn't cost her a penny, but she'd yawned widely and often during Aunt Octavia's theatrical narrative of the stormy night when Muffet Cat had appeared on the doorstep, half drowned and no bigger than a man's fist. Mrs. Whartle didn't even crack a smile when Aunt Octavia explained that he'd been named Muffet Cat because everyone assumed that he was a she until the vet made his gender clear.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Murder in the Locked Library"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Ellery Adams.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Murder in the Locked Library 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
ChapstickJunkie More than 1 year ago
I received a free copy of this book from the author for an honest review. Finally! I was so excited when I found out the series was continuing, and this book did not disappoint! The imagery painted throughout the book is just amazing. Whether it's food, a book or scenery, it just comes across so beautifully. I love Ellery's ability to not just write the story, but to paint it with emotions! As always, I loved all the bookish quotes throughout the book. I never like when book snippets do not tell you who dies, cause then I end up thinking "Is it him? No her. Just please don't be that person!" Sadly, in this story, it was "that" person that I had grown a fondness for. (Listen, the snippet didn't give it away and neither will I!) I loved that we get to see more involvement of the secret library in this book. The villain was a total shock to me until Jane announced it. (I love mysteries that suprise me, don't you?) I can't say enough about each of the Fins relationships with Jane and the twins. I also adored seeing Sinclair with a crush and I wonder if she will make an appearance in a future book. The worse thing about being able to read an advanced copy, is having to wait twice as long for the next book in the series.
dnw23233DW More than 1 year ago
Welcome back to Storyton Hall...I've missed Jane Steward and the many character at the resort. Murder in the Locked Library is the fourth book in Ellery Adams Book Retreat Mystery series and it is not to be missed. As with Ms. Adams previous books in the series, she keeps building on her characters personalities and of course adding new characters to the mix. As with any good murder mystery Ms. Adams combines clever clues and many twists and turne. I found I didn't want to put the book down, it was a page turner. I've fallen in love with Storyton Hall and all the characters in the book/series. I hope you will too....enjoy!
Alisha24C More than 1 year ago
Murder in the Locked Library by Ellery Adams is the fourth book in the Book Retreat Mystery Series and they just keep getting better! Jane is finally able to break ground on her dream of a luxurious, relaxing spa when a body and the ragged remains of a very old book is dug up. There is also a Rare Book Conference going on and attendees are excited about assisting Jane with identifying the book. Unfortunately one of the members is killed. Now it's up to Jane to solve both mysteries. I highly recommend this book to anyone that has or has not read anything by Ellery Adams. It's always like coming home to friends when you open the pages of any of her books.
KTempleton More than 1 year ago
Storyton Hall is simultaneously hosting a Rare Book Conference and breaking ground on luxurious spa addition to the resort. While digging ground the crew unearths a skeleton that was buried with a book. In hopes of finding a clue to why the skeleton and the book were buried on the property Jane and the Fin’s enlist the help of some of the Rare Book guest. While viewing the book one of the guests suddenly dies. Are the two mysteries related somehow? I loved, loved loved this book. Author Ellery Adams is a gifted storyteller. This is only my 2nd book in the series, although this is the 4th book, and is fast becoming one of my favorite series. The book grabbed me from the beginning and never let go. Both mysteries (one from the past and one from the present) are full of twist and turns until the big reveal. Usually, I have an idea of who the murder is and why they committed the murder but I was completely surprised at who the killer was and why. Jane, her twin sons, family, friends, and the Fins are well-developed and complex characters that are very enjoyable to read about. Almost like reading about your friends and family. I also really love this setting. Storyton Hall would be my idea of a great vacation spot, well maybe minus the murders unless it’s a murder mystery weekend. I would definitely recommend this book to all mystery lovers. I received this book in hopes I would give a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and have no way been influenced. (
TarynLee More than 1 year ago
With the boys back in school Jane is looking forward to the new addition being built at Storyton Hall, a spa. While the space where the spa will be built is being cleared Jane's boys notice a skeleton and all work has to stop. How long has it been there and who could it be? A specialist is called in to figure out just that. When removing the bones a box is found and inside a book in not so great condition. Both Jane and Sinclair try but fail to figure out the identity of the book, luckily Storyton has a Rare Book Conference going on and Jane knows just the group that can help. Bart Baylor from the group recognizes something from the book and in the end figures out just what book it is. It's a book with quite a history, and while telling that history to Jane and Sinclair, Bart seems to have a reaction to something and dies. What looks like an accidental death ends up being murder. Who would want to kill such a nice man? Does the book have something to do with his death? Jane must figure that out and more. Can she find the answers she needs before anything else bad happens? Adams delivers a very intricately weaved mystery filled with an inventive story line which always has me coming back for more. I can't wait to see where the next book leads Jane and how she will take it on!
TarynLee More than 1 year ago
With the boys back in school Jane is looking forward to the new addition being built at Storyton Hall, a spa. While the space where the spa will be built is being cleared Jane's boys notice a skeleton and all work has to stop. How long has it been there and who could it be? A specialist is called in to figure out just that. When removing the bones a box is found and inside a book in not so great condition. Both Jane and Sinclair try but fail to figure out the identity of the book, luckily Storyton has a Rare Book Conference going on and Jane knows just the group that can help. Bart Baylor from the group recognizes something from the book and in the end figures out just what book it is. It's a book with quite a history, and while telling that history to Jane and Sinclair, Bart seems to have a reaction to something and dies. What looks like an accidental death ends up being murder. Who would want to kill such a nice man? Does the book have something to do with his death? Jane must figure that out and more. Can she find the answers she needs before anything else bad happens? Adams delivers a very intricately weaved mystery filled with an inventive story line which always has me coming back for more. I can't wait to see where the next book leads Jane and how she will take it on!
chefdt More than 1 year ago
Murder In The Locked Library is the fourth book in the A Book Retreat Mystery series. I love this series and have been a fan of Ellery Adams writing for a number of years. I am very happy that this series has found a new publisher and hope that there will be many more to come. I would say that this is best one in this series so far. Truly, a series for book lovers, what with all the different libraries at Storyton Hall and the very knowledgeable staff who are eager to serve their guests. The one the thing that Jane Stewart has felt that Storyton Hall has needed is about to come to fruition, that being a spa, which will be named the Walt Whitman Spa. Heavy equipment is in place and excavation is about to begin and Jane’s twin sons, Hem and Fitz couldn’t be happier. They have front row seats to watch the earth mover jockey into position, lower its claw begin the excavation work. After just a few buckets or dirt are removed, Fitz and Hem get the equipment operators attention to stop digging as they have spotted a skull and some bones fall from the last load. Sheriff Evans shuts down the site and is able to get an anthropologist, Dr. Celia Wallace, to come and collect the remains of the unknown victim. Also found with the bones was a box containing a mysterious book that appeared to be a cookbook. From the book and a couple coins that were also found, Wallace feels that the body had been buried since the 1800’s. The Robert Harley Rare Book Society is having their annual meeting at Storyton Hall, as the bones are being discovered. Jane enlists the help of Bart Baylor, leader of the society, to find more of the history of the book and hoping that it might provide information about the person whose bones had been found. When Baylor returns his finding, he is able to relay that it is indeed a cookbook whose recipes had tainted foods used that caused many deaths. He also reports that there had been a fire at the publisher and all the books had burned, but the author had received 5 copies. Baylor proceeds to put on a pair of latex gloves to tell more of the history of the book, he experiences severe breathing difficulties. Thinking that he was having a reaction to the gloves they administer an epi-pen, but to no avail. Jane and her staff, Sinclair, Sterling, and Lachman must sort through what information they have learned who was buried at Storyton Hall and who wanted Baylor dead. When there is another death they are sure that these recent deaths are indeed related to the bones that had been dug up. Ellery Adams is a wonderful storyteller and this is a well-plotted story with a believable cast of well-developed characters. I would love to live in the village of Storyton and be able to visit with the residents all the time. I can’t wait for the next book in this exciting series.
Cozy_Cup More than 1 year ago
Lock me in Storyton Hall and never let me out! This is book 4 in the entertaining series and I feel it is the best one yet. In all of Ellery Adams' stories, her characters develop so well and the settings are fabulous...just look at this series-a resort catering to readers = heaven! I also learn from her work while being entertained. In Murder in the Locked Library, Sinclair recalls to Jane, "Isn't our main aspiration to provide a haven for readers? For those seeking an escape from the incessant buzz of technology-saturated, overscheduled life?" Yes!! This is Storyton Hall's purpose, but also Ellery's. She provides a fictional haven for readers right in Storyton Hall. Returning to this resort is always a delight. The plot moved swiftly and we met new intriguing guests. Characters (friends to me) from previous books in the series were not as front and center this time, which only left me desiring to read the next book. If you call yourself a booklover, I do not know how yo u could not love this book. Beginning with the dedication, you will know you are among your own kind. Now, lock me up in Storyton Hall and throw away the key!
PPriest More than 1 year ago
This is a magical series set in an amazing place that I love, and people that are just wonderful. An old book and old secrets are dug up, and all heck breaks loose. If you love books and mysteries, you must read this series.
KPrince697 More than 1 year ago
Ellery Adams is one of my favorite authors for a number of reasons. She consistently delivers satisfying mysteries that keep the reader turning pages and guessing whodunit until the end. She also offers rich characters with emotional depth, including guest characters, who are on stage for just one book. In reading her mysteries, one can tell she loves reading as much as her fans. “Murder in the Locked Library,” Adams’ fourth in her Book Retreat Mysteries, meets all of the above reasons for a great read. Jane Steward, the heroine and guardian of Storyton Hall, where the series is set, has her hands full with multiple murders – one from the past and two, current day, as well as the whereabouts of her frequently absent love interest. As for emotional depth, a favorite scene of this reader involves one of the guest characters quoting from “A Ship of Fools,” by Sebastian Brant. The Fool of Useless Books boasts of his many volumes unopened, which he is keeping “from the flies.” My reaction to this scene surprised me because it made me think of books that I’ve kept from the flies – one in particular – and made me grieve the time I rendered it useless. When the speech has a strong effect on Jane’s friend, Eloise, Jane, understanding her reaction, tells her, “We’re among our kind. We’re with book people.” When I delve into Adams’ books, I too, am among my kind. Buy this book, but whatever you do, don’t render it useless. Delve in. Your fellow booklovers await you.
AWilcox777 More than 1 year ago
Ellery has done it again. Her writing style is so unique and intriguing. I love the way she describes a setting and makes you feel apart of the story. This book was amazing! I had a hard time putting it down and really didn't want it to end. The mystery was fabulous and had me guessing until the end. History and the present meet in this well written escape from reality. I eagerly await another installment of this series.
CozyMarie More than 1 year ago
An exciting page turner from beginning to end, Murder in the Locked Library will leave you with a deeper appreciation for the magical world that can be found within the pages of a good book. There is so much I adore about this series. The magical and wonderful world of Storyton Hall makes you wish it was a real place that one could go and relax for a weekend of books and great food. I think my favorite thing about this book is the protagonist, Jane. Jane is inspiring as she balances life as a mother, business owner, and Guardian of Storyton Hall. Jane is strong in spite of her fears and insecurities and that is refreshing. If I can recommend one cozy mystery author, Ellery Adams is always at the top of my list. Her books have such emotion and depth to them that I always leave their pages feeling more refreshed than when I went in.
csrsvivr More than 1 year ago
This is the 4th. book in the “Book Retreat” series. For me the book was a bit slow in the beginning, however it picked up and flowed ideally after that. The theme of this series is set in Storyton Village, VA; what one imagines to be a small quaint village where everyone knows everyone and trusts them. Trust can be deceiving sometimes and those you trust may not bee who they represent. The main character, Jane Steward has a set of twin boys, a great aunt, great uncle and many staff living under one roof. She is the Guardian of the special rare books and a secret library. I even learned something about recipes vs. receipts. Worth picking up!
Abby-F More than 1 year ago
Ms. Adams has once again written a book that seperates itself from other books in the genre. She has a way of creating stories, of fully immersing you in a place, that while fictional, feels anything but. It is great that Jane has the Cover Girls who always have her back. They are a great sounding board for Jane. Even though she can't divulge all of the details to them, they always lend a listening and caring ear. I love Jane's relationship with her sons. Her love for them radiates off of every page. Jane went through a lot in this book. We got to see a lot of emotion from her, which I loved. She has so much going on, yet the moments she savors most are the ones spent with her loved ones. And books. Let's not forget about all of those books! Storyton Hall is a truly magical place. It has everything a book lover could possibly want. Mrs. Hubbard, the head chef, is always cooking or baking up something delightful. There are multiple reading rooms packed to the gills with, you guessed it, books. I wish I could have grabbed one of the delicious confections Mrs. Hubbard makes during tea time. They always sound delightful. I adored the Rare Book Conference theme. What's better than a book about books? This series is literally all about them. One of the things I love most about series is the character growth. They are always evolving and adapting to their situations. Some of the best moments in the book are shared between Jane, Sinclair, Butterworth, Sterling, and Lachlan. They all have a certain bond that is lovely to read. It is almost like soldiers. They go to war together and trust each other with their lives. There is a lot at stake when it comes to solving this mystery. I have to say, I didn't see the ending coming. Not even a little. It was one of the best reveals I have ever read. There are many twists, yet it works. It always feels natural. It takes a real talent to keep the balance between believable and too out there; Ms. Adams does it masterfully. I have read all of the books so far in this series, and while it would be all right to start with this book, I highly reccomend starting from the beginning. It will help you better understand the intricacies of the story. Plus, who would want to miss all of that character growth? I received a free copy of this book. I am voluntarily leaving a review. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.
Bobbie Kirkland More than 1 year ago
I received a free copy of Murder in the Locked Library by Ellery Adams in exchange for an honest review. This is number four in the Book Retreat Mystery series. In this book, Jane Steward is on the verge of realizing her biggest dream for Storyton Hall, adding a spa to the resort. New buildings on undeveloped land require new foundations. When the earth is disturbed in the area designated for the new spa, Jane’s twin sons discover human remains and other artifacts, which include a rare book. Jane enlists the assistance of a resort guest who is an expert in repairing tomes. When the guest is murdered, Jane and her loyal staff have to find out if and how the guest’s death was linked to the gruesome surprise at the spa. I am a fan of Ellery Adams’ works and enjoy this series. This series combines the love of books, the gothicism of a crumbling family manse, the intrigue of spy thrillers, the comfort of family, and the support of a close-knit community into murder mysteries. I liked this book and appreciate how it set up an adventure to come. I recommend this series and this book to those who enjoy cozy mysteries. #MurderInTheLockedLibrary #NetGalley
ArizonaJo More than 1 year ago
Murder in the Locked Library by Ellery Adams is the fourth book in the Book Retreat series and was worth waiting for (even if it did seem like forever). I would love to spend a few days at Storyton Hall, Virginia with Jane, her family and the Fins. I could probably spend a month there and never get bored. Jane is one strong and dedicated woman who doesn't hesitate to act when her loved ones are in peril. The recent murder has Jane and the Fins looking at many of the attendees of the Rare Book Conference; but there is also an additional cold case that also must be resolved. The swiftly paced plot kept me turning the pages with so many twists and turns, two murders, a kidnapping and a missing Templar. All of these events led me along on one of the best adventures that I have had this year. Oh, and the ending, has me hanging by a thread for the next book. All of the characters have now been established; but there always seems to be more to learn about each one. I enjoy seeing the layers being peeled back as these new insights are revealed. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from Kensington via NetGalley. All of the above opinions are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Murder in the Locked Library by Ellery Adams is the fourth in the Book Retreat series and was probably my favorite of them all. Storyton, Virginia is a place I would love to spend some time with Jane and the Fins. It's such a charming little town with enjoyable characters to pass the time with. Murder in the Locked Library starts with an intriguing cold case when skeletal bones turn up buried on the Storyton Hall property with a rare book. While hosting a Rare Book Conference, Jane and the Fins seek help in researching the unusual book, but one of the conference attendees dies before he can share everything he knows about it. The fast-paced plot kept me turning the pages late into the night. With so many plot twists, two murders, a kidnapping and a missing Templar, there was no shortage of action (or suspects). This book kept me hanging on to every word until the end. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from Kensington. All of the above opinions are my own.
Kuzlin More than 1 year ago
Excited to begin the excavation for the new luxury spa at Storyton Hall, Jane and the twins are shocked when the bulldozer unearths an unidentified skeleton and tattered remains of a book, wrapped in cloth and stored in a padlocked box. But as experts attempt to identify the human remains, Jane seeks advice from rare book experts, currently at Storyton Hall for a convention. And when murder hits too close to home, Jane realizes she needs to get to the bottom of this mystery before danger appears at her own doorstep. This was a really enjoyable read, from the various clues, suspects and motives, to the interesting details provided during the convention. I loved the Word Search game, as well as the typesetting class, detailed in the story. As Jane gets more comfortable in her role as Guardian, her relationship is solidifying with the Fins, as well as with the Cover Girls. I also like that she still has time (as do the other staff at Storyton Hall) to spend with her twin boys, both for recreational as well as educational purposes. I look forward to the next book in this series...especially with the teaser at the end of this book. Disclosure: I am voluntarily reviewing this book received through Net Galley.
CozyMysteryLover1 More than 1 year ago
When the team of workers breaking ground for the new spa dig up a shovel full of bones, Hem & Fitz are the first to notice. The discovery of the bones leads to an investigation, which involves an old book and family rivalry. Murder in the Locked Library by Ellery Adams will take you on an exciting adventure that will keep you looking over your shoulder! Ms. Adams writes a clear, concise story, while creating a vivid picture in the reader's mind, providing the opportunity to escape into the story. Reading a book by Ellery Adams is always a great experience. I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the author.
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
Murder in the Locked Library by Ellery Adams is the fourth tale in A Book Retreat Mystery series. Jane Steward is excited that the construction is beginning on the Walt Whitman Spa. The groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for the next evening. After the digging begins, it looks like the festivities will have to be postponed. Bones were uncovered by the excavator along with a padlocked box and a farthing. Inside the box is the remains of a badly deteriorated book. It so happens that the Robert Harley Rare Book Society is attending a conference at the Storyton Hall and they are happy to help discern the books title. Bart Baylor identifies the book and then expires in the Henry James library. Jane, with the aid of her trusted, employees delves into the lives of the members of the Rare Book Society to pinpoint the culprit before the conference ends. How does the skeleton relate to Bart’s death? Jane is also worried about Edwin Alcott. There has been limited communication and the recent postcards people have been receiving seem unusually chatty (for Edwin). As the investigation into Bart’s murder heats up, her concerns about Edwin will have to take a backseat. Time is of the essence. They need to work quickly or something very precious could be lost. I love the concept for A Book Retreat Mystery series. As a booklover, I would love to visit (let’s face it—live at) Storyton Hall. If you are new to the series, I suggest starting with Murder in the Mystery Suite. There is more to Storyton Hall than a beautiful book themed inn. Jane is the latest Guardian who safeguards a hidden library filled with priceless (and rare) books and manuscripts. Jane’s role and that of her staff (the Fins) is explained in the first book. Murder in the Locked Library is well-written, but it does have a slower pace. I did not mind the pace because the story drew me in from the very beginning. Storyton Hall with its beautiful book themed rooms were brought to life for me courtesy of the author’s descriptions. The characters are established and engaging. There is a cast of regular characters that include Mr. Sinclair, Mr. Butterworth, Hem and Fitz (Jane’s twin boys), and the Cover Girls (Jane’s friends which make up the female book club). I like the boys are portrayed as mischievous and curious. Jane loves them dearly, but she does get frustrated with them at times (which is realistic). I like how the three storylines come together in the end. The mystery was compelling and complex. I do wish, though, that it had been harder to identify the guilty party. Two little pieces of information gave it away to me (this is the only weak part of the book). The why did not become apparent until much later in the book. I am glad that the sheriff works with Jane and her group on the investigation. They have resources that are not available to the local police. At the end of Murder in the Locked Library, we get a glimpse of what will be happening in the next A Book Retreat Mystery (which I am eager to read). My rating for Murder in the Locked Library is 4.5 out of 5 stars.
momelaine More than 1 year ago
I like this series. The idea of a secret library of very rare books and manuscripts is exciting and it needs to be guarded. She has a lot of help from her staff. Her twin boys are so normal and fun. The ending is a real cliff-hanger. I think if someone wasn't reading this series in order, they might get a little lost with this one. On to the next one in the series!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love to read. I have an eclectic taste in literature covering many genres. I want to like this book. Unfortunately, I do not. I don't know, or care to know, about the mystery, because the overly twee writing had me giving up by page 19. It gave me a mental image of the genuinely kind and wonderful Mr. Rogers telling the author, "Get a grip, already!" Then, I had one with those sweet little Disney animals from "Snow White" and "Cinderella" holding their necks and making "gag me" faces. Seriously. While these images may mark me as odd (not enough money to be eccentric), they do not change the fact that the, too, precious writing feels awkward and superficial. I would have given this book a "0 Star" rating, but I like the idea of a village like Storyton and it's library so I threw in a star. If the writer had let the charm of the village develop naturally through a well-paced and intelligent story with believable characters I would have happily read past the saccharine-sweet quagmire that is the first 19 pages.
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
I took a little break from this one and finally got around to finishing this. It is one of the better cozy mystery series ones. And love that setting. Another interesting mystery that Jane and the staff of Storyton Hall have to solve. What makes this series work is not only the setting,, but the pacing, writing style and of course the many characters. Also that ending. Looking forward to the next mystery Jane and co have to solve next.
rokinrev More than 1 year ago
No one is innocent” Jane Steward, manager of Storyton Hall, where she lives with her family and “family of choice”, runs into a situation when a skelton is found while breaking ground on the new spa she is creating. And with that discovery, a mystery of epic proportions begins. The Rare Books group is coming in for their yearly meeting and Jane hopes they can help figure out why an old, deteriorated book was buried with the body, and what its connection to Storyton Hall is. As the mystery broadens to include another murder, Jane’s way of life is wrapped in the clues that could solve the mystery, or become part of it. This is my first visit to Storyton Hall, but it definitely will not be my last. Ms. Adams’ knowledge is what sparks your curiosity and her sense of humor and plot twists will keep you coming back. Highly recommended 5/5
BeckyMcF More than 1 year ago
Once again, the Book Retreat series continues to give readers a great mystery, very interesting book world knowledge, enticing food and celebrations, and much to keep our minds occupied. All of the main characters are part of the activity and important to the story. It is all right to have this be your first trip to the Book Retreat, because Ellery Adams does tie in the past books well.