I rarely will pick up a mystery to read. For some reason, I will watch murder mysteries on television--in fact, I'd choose it over a chick flick even though I'd rather read chick flick type material. But, I picked up Whispers in the Reading Room--maybe I didn't realize it was a mystery at first, or I thought the romance that was woven into the story would be enough to overcome the mystery involved. I was right--the mystery was just enough to keep the plot moving, and the romance was all that it could be.
Lydia considers herself to be nothing more than a well-read, mousy librarian, but she has a favorite patron. She only knows he comes in to read and then he leaves. He doesn't talk to anyone, he doesn't check out any books, he just comes in most afternoons to read for a couple of hours and then he leaves. Little does Lydia know that he is the owner of a gambling spot in the slums of Chicago, but the elite of the elite frequent his club.
Sebastian Marks (aka Samuel Marx) comes to the library to watch Lydia more than to read. He finds her fascinating and he wants to know her better. Nothing is beyond his ability to find out, because money will buy a lot of information.
Thus the romance begins. The mystery involves Lydia's former fiance. When he winds up at Sebastian's club door, stabbed to death, the whodunit begins. After everyone in the club is eliminated as a suspect, except for Sebastian, his maid, his assistant, and Lydia; it takes all night for them to be questioned and then released. After that Lydia's reputation is shot, so Sebastian steps in to offer her marriage.
I have a picture to describe this book:
It really is hard to put down. The plot moves along at a fast enough clip to keep the reader involved until the book is finished. The characters have a realness to them that makes them believable, relatable, and even likable. Even the settings in the book make the story more readable. While the author, Shelley Shepard Gray, used the romance novel formula, it fits the tale quite well and makes for enjoyable reading. Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a brand-spanking new library card.
My thanks to Zondervan for allowing me to read and review this book.