Fleeing a disastrous love affair, university librarian Amy Webber moves in with her aunt in a quiet, historic mountain town in Virginia. She quickly busies herself with managing a charming public library that requires all her attention with its severe lack of funds and overabundance of eccentric patrons. The last thing she needs is a new, available neighbor whose charm lures her into trouble.
Dancer-turned-teacher and choreographer Richard Muir inherited the farmhouse next door from his great-uncle, Paul Dassin. But town folklore claims the house’s original owner was poisoned by his wife, who was an outsider. It quickly became water under the bridge, until she vanished after her sensational 1925 murder trial. Determined to clear the name of the woman his great-uncle loved, Richard implores Amy to help him investigate the case. Amy is skeptical until their research raises questions about the culpability of the town’s leading families… including her own.
When inexplicable murders plunge the quiet town into chaos, Amy and Richard must crack open the books to reveal a cruel conspiracy and lay a turbulent past to rest in A MURDER FOR THE BOOKS, the first installment of Victoria Gilbert’s Blue Ridge Library mysteries.
A MURDER FOR THE BOOKS author, Victoria Gilbert, stopped by The Big Thrill to discuss her new release:
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
I hope they fall in love with the characters as much as I have and want to follow them on more adventures! I also hope that they enjoy trying to unravel the intertwined mysteries — both historical and contemporary — that are the heart of the story.
How does this book make a contribution to the genre?
As a librarian with over 30 years of experience, I like to think my descriptions of contemporary library work and my librarian protagonist are among the more accurate depictions in the genre. I also have a different type of romantic interest who breaks the stereotypes — a male dancer and choreographer. In addition, I have set my mystery series in a small historic town at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, and again worked to break the stereotypes of “mountain” or rural people. (Something I know a lot about, having grown up in just such a town.)
Was there anything new you discovered, or that surprised you, as you wrote this book?
My wonderful editor and copy editor helped me with the accuracy of some of the action, which was a great learning experience. For instance — the best way to hit someone and incapacitate them without irreparably harming them, and the preferred drug to knock someone out!
No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?
One of the central revelations in my book was based on an experience my husband had just before we met. I can’t go into details (spoilers!) but his experience is actually the seed for the entire book, because it made me ask “what if this had happened in the past?” and that led me into the historical portion of the plot.
What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?
Mystery authors: Josephine Tey, Ruth Rendell, P.D. James, Agatha Christie, Patricia Highsmith, and Dorothy L. Sayers.
I feel that these authors were able to combine great writing with psychological insights, exciting plots, and intriguing characters. They created complex worlds that feel real yet also take the reader to new and interesting locales, and fascinating characters who continue to intrigue readers over the years. I would like to be able to write books that reflect even a small portion of their talent.
Victoria Gilbert, raised in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, turned her early obsession with reading into a dual career as an author and librarian. She is represented by Frances Black at Literary Counsel, and is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers.
Victoria has worked as a reference librarian, research librarian, and library director. When not writing or reading, she likes to spend her time watching films, gardening, or traveling. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and some very spoiled cats.
To learn more about Victoria, please visit her website.