Australian author, Sulari Gentill, has written a murder mystery that was published earlier this year called The Woman in the Library. Sulari has an easy writing style that I enjoyed, and if you like murder mysteries, I’d suggest putting this on your reading list. It is well written and has a creative twist.
The novel begins with an email from Leo, a fan, to an author named Hannah – an Australian author who is writing a new novel – but more on Leo and Hannah later. In the opening chapter, we are introduced to our main character and narrator, Winifred “Freddie” Kincaid, a writer who has recently relocated from Australia to Boston thanks to a fellowship. We find her procrastinating in the Boston Public Library’s (BPL) Reading Room (shown above). She is suffering from an acute case of writer’s block, and rather than focusing on her novel, she is mostly looking at the ceiling and wondering about the three people sitting at the communal desk where she is seated: Freud Girl, Heroic Chin, and Handsome Man. When suddenly there is a blood curdling scream from somewhere in the library.
When security asks everyone to remain in the library, while a search is conducted, the four pass time chatting and learning more about each other. When they are allowed to leave they decide to grab a coffee in the library’s Map room and the opening chapter concludes, “And so we go to the Map Room to found a friendship, and I have my first coffee with a killer.” From this point forward, we know what Freddie’s new novel will be about.
In the days that follow, the four form an unlikely bond, and friendships develop. As the story unfolds, we come to learn more about each person – their history, personality, motivation – and realize not is all as it seems. As the mystery unfolds Sulari weaves a story within the story, with the correspondence Leo shares with Hannah. Initially his emails provide helpful comments about places in Boston that Hannah is describing and American vernacular, but as the novel proceeds Leo’s interest in the book escalate. I won’t go into anymore detail, other than to share this was a really fun read and one that I would recommend.
If you’re interested in purchasing this book and open to supporting local bookstores, try one of the links I’ve shared. You’ll be able to order it online in just a couple of clicks. Alternatively, you can check your local library for a copy of this book. Here is a link to the BPL copy for The Woman in the Library.