A Cryptic Clue by Victoria GilbertA Cryptic Clue by Victoria Gilbert
Narrator: Carrington MacDuffie
Series: Hunter and Clewe #1
Published by Dreamscape Media on July 11, 2023
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Mystery
Length: 8 hrs 32 mins
Pages: 319
Format: Audiobook
Purchase at Bookshop.org or Audible
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A retired librarian gets back to the books—and into a devilish murder case—in acclaimed author Victoria Gilbert’s new series, the perfect literary adventure for fans of Kate Carlisle and Jenn McKinlay.

Sixty-year-old Jane Hunter, forced into early retirement from her job as a university librarian, is seeking a new challenge to keep her spirits up and supplement her meager pension. But as she’s about to discover, a retiree’s life can bring new thrills—and new dangers.

Cameron “Cam” Clewe, an eccentric 33-year-old collector, is also seeking something—an archivist to inventory his ever-expanding compendium of rare books and artifacts. Jane’s thrilled to be hired on by Cam and to uncover the secrets of his latest acquisition, a trove of items related to the classic mystery and detective authors. But Jane’s delight is upended when a body is discovered in Cam’s library. The victim, heir to a pharmaceutical fortune, was the last in line of Cam’s failed romances—and now he’s suspect number one.

Cam vows to use his intelligence and deductive skills to clear his name—but with a slight case of agoraphobia, rampant anxiety, and limited social skills, he’ll need some help. It comes down to Jane to exonerate her new boss—but is he truly innocent?

Jane Hunter was forced to take early retirement from her job as a University librarian. Needing to occupy her time and supplement her pension, she takes on the job of cataloguing the mystery collection of wealthy collector Cameron Clewe. Cam is thirty-three and attractive, but does not have many social skills. He also deals with anxiety and is agoraphobic. It’s not surprising that his romantic relationships rarely work out well. But, Ashely Allen is the first to end up dead in his library. Convinced he will be the main suspect in the murder investigation, Cam convinces Jane to help him do a little sleuthing, in addition to her regular duties.

I liked Jane. She’s 60 and having to start over, but she’s doing it with grace and humor. The story is told from her viewpoint, but she is the sidekick. She’s smart and good at talking to people and understanding body language, but it’s Clewe who can put all the clues together. I listened to the audiobook and the narrator did a good job bringing Jane to life. As an audio it worked well, but it may have been a bit slow in print. The author takes a lot of time describing and explaining.

Cam is likeable too, in his own way. He’s awkward and can be dismissive and insulting, but he is trying. I think his friendship with Jane is a good basis for the series, if rather Sherlock and Watson-esque.

I did guess who the killer was but not the why. I felt like the motive was sprung on us at the end. Yes, we had some of the clues, but I don’t think we could have put them together without Clewe’s “inside” information, which he failed to share with Jane until the last minute.

There’s some talk between Jane and Cam about solving more mysteries together, a couple of them dealing with Cam’s past. I hope the series doesn’t get too caught up in family mysteries, rather than present day ones.

About Victoria Gilbert

Victoria Gilbert, raised in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, turned her early obsession with reading into a dual career as an author and librarian. She writes both traditional and cozy mysteries. She’s also written fantasy and science fiction.

Victoria has worked as a reference librarian, research librarian, and library director. When not writing or reading, she likes to spend her time watching films or TV, gardening, or traveling. She loves animals, chocolate, and all the arts.

Victoria is represented by Frances Black of Literary Counsel, NY, NY, and is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers.

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