Silence in the Library
May 24, 2021

Book Review

Silence in the Library

Katharine Schellman

reviewed by Gail Byrd

In this second book in the Lily Adler series, Lily is constantly brushing up against her father who has moved into her home for an unspecified length of time without telling her. Their relationship has always been tense.

Mr. Adler makes no bones about preferring Lily’s young friend Frank over Lily and finds fault with everything she does. His first complaint is that Lily has put aside her mourning and begun to wear color again. Mr. Adler, who has worn mourning clothes for his dead wife, Lily’s mother for more than twenty-five years feels that two years is nowhere near long enough for Lily to dress in somber attire.

He also takes issue with Lily’s friendship with Jack, a naval captain who is half English and half Indian. Although Jack’s father, and Jack himself, both belong to the upper classes, Mr. Adler cannot get over Jack’s multi-racial status. Mr. Adler is rude in the extreme to Jack, as well as Lily and while Lily has to fight to control her anger, Jack appears to take it all with a sense of humor.

The situation becomes more strained when Lily receives word of the death of Frank’s father, an old friend to Mr. Adler, while she is making a social call on his new bride. It falls to Lily to inform her father, a task she dreads. Things really heat up when Simon Page, a member of the Bow Street Runners, precursors to London’s police force, is called to the scene. Lily, Jack, and Simon all come together at the Wyatt home and while talking, Lily finds the murder weapon hidden in the fireplace. This discovery begins an investigation of the death, with Lily taking an active part. It is imperative that Lily do this without her father’s knowledge since not only would it add stress to Lily’s relationship with her father, she can’t be sure he won’t share any information obtained with Frank.

All the members of Lord Wyatt’s family are suspects, including Frank, Pearcy, a nephew who was dependent upon Lord Wyatt for an allowance, and Lady Wyatt, Lord Wyatt’s second wife. Lord Wyatt’s body was found on the floor near his desk in the library; but Lily, Simon and Jack quickly deduce he was actually killed close to the fireplace. Who had enough strength to move the dead body across the room? Frank has an alibi, as does Percy who has been dependent on Lord Wyatt for his allowance. Suspicion falls briefly on Lady Wyatt, his recent bride, but she is deemed too small to overpower the much larger Lord Wyatt and not strong enough to move a dead body across the room.

Simon knows the family will refuse him the opportunity to fully investigate the death so he reluctantly asks Lily to obtain some information for him. She is happy to do some investigating, even though she is investigating her friends. It is Simon’s hope that Lily will obtain the information he needs then withdraw from further investigation, but Lily is determined to stay involved. She soon learns about Arthur, Lord Wyatt’s second son, who has undiagnosed psychiatric problems, and lives at home cared for by a maid. When the maid is killed, the three become more concerned about catching the killer before anyone else is murdered.

As Lily’s investigation continues, she overhears a chance comment made that causes her to reexamine the relationships of the principal suspects in the case. Further investigation reveals the truth to Lily, but now she must obtain a confession which will require the assistance of her father. Will he be willing to help considering how fond he is of the Wyatt family and how upset he is with Lily and her cohorts? Lily can only hope that stressing how important discovering the truth will be to Arthur will persuade her father to assist.

Silence in the Library is a well-plotted, steady moving cozy mystery that will satisfy most readers. The references to the Regency period are just enough for the reader to have a flavor of the period without feeling they are reading a history book. Pacing is good and, even if the reader is able to determine who they will need to read carefully to find the clues sprinkled throughout that reveal the how and why of the murder.

My thanks to Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book for review. The opinions expressed her are entirely my own.


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