Silence in the Library
by Katharine Schellman
July 12 - August 6, 2021 Tour
Regency widow Lily Adler has finally settled into her new London life when her semi-estranged father arrives unexpectedly, intending to stay with her while he recovers from an illness. Hounded by his disapproval, Lily is drawn into spending time with Lady Wyatt, the new wife of an old family friend. Lily barely knows Lady Wyatt. But she and her husband, Sir Charles, seem as happy as any newly married couple until the morning Lily arrives to find the house in an uproar and Sir Charles dead.
All signs indicate that he tripped and struck his head late at night. But when Bow Street constable Simon Page is called to the scene, he suspects foul play. And it isn't long before Lily stumbles on evidence that Sir Charles was, indeed, murdered.
Mr. Page was there when Lily caught her first murderer, and he trusts her insight into the world of London's upper class. With the help of Captain Jack Hartley, they piece together the reasons that Sir Charles's family might have wanted him dead. But anyone who might have profited from the old man's death seems to have an alibi... until Lily receives a mysterious summons to speak with one of the Wyatts' maids, only to find the young woman dead when she arrives.
Mr. Page believes the surviving family members are hiding the key to the death of both Sir Charles and the maid. To uncover the truth, Lily must convince the father who doesn't trust or respect her to help catch his friend's killer before anyone else in the Wyatt household dies.
Praise for Silence in the Library:
“Schellman’s gracefully written whodunit is equally a tale of 19th-century female empowerment and societal conventions…More than a clever murder puzzle, this is an immersion in a bygone era.”
“The fast-paced, engrossing story has a climactic confrontation worthy of Rex Stout or Agatha Christie.”
—Library Journal, starred review
I enjoyed this entertaining and informative historical mystery. It did get off to a slow start as the murder does not happen until well into the story. Then there is a good balance of reflecting the society of the day and the amateur sleuth investigation. Lily is an interesting heroine, an unusual woman for her day, determined to solve the mystery. I was a bit surprised that, while she was determined to be involved in the murder investigation, she felt ill when the murder blow was described. (1548/4516) But then, it was a time when women took to their bed when hearing disagreeable news. Schellman did a good job showing how women were thought weak and pretty much mindless during that time. The view was exemplified by Lily's father, my least favorite character in the novel. I was glad to see the reasonable Constable Page willing, although reluctantly, to let Lily help in the investigation. He was not afraid of a competent woman.
Schellman also gave us a good idea of how the upper class felt about policemen and how they should be above being questioned by such lowly people. I also appreciate Schellman creating a character we would now say was on the autistic spectrum. It was sad to see how the condition was misunderstood and how families would hide such a person, concerned more about the family's public image than the afflicted person.
The plot was crafted well. There were a number of suspects presented which kept me guessing. This is a good mystery for readers who like a deep dive into the society of the day along with their mystery.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
Genre: Historical Mystery
Published by: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: July 13th 2021
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 1643857045 (ISBN13: 9781643857046)
Series: Lily Adler Mystery #2 | The Lily Adler series are stand alone mysteries but even more fabulous if read in sequence
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookShop | Goodreads
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Twitter - @katharinewrites
Facebook - @katharineschellman
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