So May is Mystery Month! I decided to start with a book I recently discovered while perusing the bookstore shelves in an attempt to avoid studying. I was hooked by the title as I have spent most of my life with my nose buried in a book and I was excited to discover the book involved mystery at a literary agency.
After receiving her first pink slip at the age of forty-five, former newspaper journalist Lila Wilkins is desperate for work, even if it means taking a pay cut. After combing through the classifieds, Lila accepts an internship at A Novel Idea, a thriving literary agency in the utopian town of Inspiration Valley, North Carolina.
Lila can’t imagine anything better than being paid to read, but with a crew of quirky co-workers and a sky-high stack of query letters, she doesn’t exactly have time to discover the next great bestseller—especially when a penniless aspiring author drops dead in the agency’s waiting room. No one else seems too concerned about the man’s demise, but when Lila uncovers a series of threatening letters, she’s determined to uncover what—or who—killed the man’s dreams of literary stardom…
Lila Wilkins is a quirky, driven woman who is adjusting to a life that has been turned upside down. Her story progressed at a nice speed and I was pulled in by her tenacity and kindness. Lila is a middle age woman who puts all her energy in finding the murderer of a homeless man, an endeavor that becomes an interesting way to avoid focusing on her son’s typical teenage stupidity and lack of a future, losing her job, working as an intern, and moving back in with her mother. But it is obvious that Lila has a good heart, and she attacks the mystery, and her new job, with energetic confidence. It is fun to follow her around as she investigates the town on her bright yellow scooter.
I would have liked to see more character development in the supporting characters. The literary agents alone are a treasure trove of crazy personalities just waiting to be discovered. Marlette is the most developed supporting character and he is killed off in the first ten pages! There is a lot of lost potential when it comes to the literary agents at Novel Idea, Sean, and the Amazing Althea.
The same goes for the villains of the story. I’m not going to give anything away, but I think detailed backgrounds on the individuals would have inspired more distrust for me towards the villains. Instead, I was more annoyed with the sporadic behaviors of the killers.
The prose could get complicated at times, but these flowery excerpts were few enough to avoid bogging down the story. Buried in a Book (A Novel Idea Mystery #1) is written by Lucy Arlington who is actually the writing team of Sylvia May and J.B. Stanley. I have yet to read anything by either of these women, so I may have to fix that in the next few weeks.
Just remember not to take Buried in a Book too seriously! The story is cliche but in all of the right ways! Yes, Lila getting a job after immediately losing the journalism position she’s held for over twenty years is unrealistic. Yes, the town is just a tad bit too perfect and it’s insane that Lila managed to sell her house within a week, but these details did not diminish my enjoyment of the story. Cozy mysteries should be a tad bit cliche.
Buried in a Book is a fun mystery. The romantic aspects may be a tad awkward, but its worth joining Lila on her journey. I’m excited to see what the next few books hold; I immediately picked them up upon finishing this one!