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Aurélien Arkadiusz

Mysteries Set in Libraries or Bookshops

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As READERS we spend a significant part of our lives in libraries and bookshops - new and second-hand - and at booksales. Since many WRITERS do the same it is not at all surprising that some mysteries have such settings.

 

And then there is that special breed of mystery writers who either are or have been LIBRARIANS.....and what mystery-reading librarian has never daydreamed of mayhem in the bookstacks, of slaughtering one or more of their most obnoxious borrowers, colleagues, bosses or library committee members....?

 

We can all think of Mysteries set in Libraries or Bookshops, both stand-alone books and even entire series. Occasionally :) they are even readable. For example, retired librarian Margaret H. Judd (1906 - 1995), who wrote five stand-alone murder mysteries, set in different parts of small-town New England, in each of which at least one of the major characters was a librarian:

 

'MURDER - FIRST EDITION' (as Truman Garrett) - 1956

 

'HUSBAND OF THE CORPSE' - 1958

 

'MURDER IS A BEST SELLER' - 1959

 

'GOSPEL OF DEATH' - 1960

 

'MURDER MAKES ITS MARK' - 1961

 

Mrs Judd, who had been a librarian in Springfield, Massachusetts before her marriage, released her first book under a pen-name - presumably so her former colleagues wouldn't sue her or have her assassinated.

 

In her writing Margaret H. Judd drew upon both her experience of working in libraries and her knowledge of librarians as they then were, in those days of card catalogues and blatantly underpaid women librarians, to craft very readable murder mysteries centred on the world of books.

 

But the action is not confined just to libraries and bookshops. One of the real pleasures in reading her books arises from Mrs Judd's enthusiastic appreciation of old houses, antique furniture, and other items of Americana. Reading them, one becomes drawn into a real world with believable characters and motives.

 

After the passing of half-a-century, Margaret H. Judd's books have taken on a charming period flavour. They deserve to be reprinted as near-classics of their age.

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