In The Cruellest Month, the death of a librarian in Oxford's New Bodleian library stirs Sheila Malory, whom readers first met in Mrs. Malory Investigates, to probe the victim's past. Sheila's godson Tony, who works at the library, finds Ms. Richmond crush
The death of a decidedly unpleasant librarian in Oxford's New Bodleian stirs Sheila Malory, first met in Mrs. Malory Investigates , to probe the present and her personal past. Sheila's godson Tony, who works at the library, finds Gwen Richmond crushed under some collapsed bookshelves. There are indications that Gwen may have been a blackmailer and murder is a distinct possibility. Among the suspects--all once threatened by Gwen--are the girl Tony is in love with, who stole, then returned a valuable book; and a woman don who took an important artifact from an archeological dig. Sheila reencounters Trinity don Rupert Drummond, who had significantly influenced her life when she was an Oxford student; he also had unhappy ties to the dead woman. But it is the past as recounted in Gwen's diary about her farm work as a Land Army girl during WW II that provides the key to the murder and forces Sheila to reexamine what she had considered a happy time in her life. Holt's civilized and tantalizing mystery evokes both modern Oxford and rural wartime England. (May)
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April 19, 2010
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