Cover image for Murder off the page
Title:
Murder off the page
ISBN:
9781250317926
Edition:
1st ed.
Physical Description:
viii, 323 pages ; 22 cm.
Summary:
A note from bartender Brian McNulty, Raymond Ambler's friend, confidant, and sometimes adviser, sets the librarian sleuth off on a murder investigation, one that he pursues reluctantly until a second murder upends the world as he knows it. The second victim is a lady friend of McNulty's-and the prime suspect is McNulty himself. As Ambler pursues his investigation, he discovers that the murdered woman had a double life. Her intermittent visits to the city - a whirlwind of reckless drinking and illicit liaisons with men she met in the cocktail lounges - had their counterpart in suburban Fairfield County Connecticut where, as Dr. Sandra Dean, she practiced dermatology and lived in a gated community with a doting husband and a young daughter. While Ambler looks into the past of Dr. Sandra Dean to understand the murder of Shannon Darling in the present, NYPD homicide detective Mike Cosgrove investigates the men in Shannon Darling's life. She might have been murdered because she frustrated the wrong man. It could have been a jealous wife. In fact, any number of people might have murdered Shannon Darling. Or, as Ambler suspects, did someone murder Dr. Sandra Dean? Yet, no matter which way he turns, McNulty emerges as a suspect. Ambler's dilemma seems insurmountable: Should he keep searching for the truth behind the murders if the deeper he probes, the more evidence he finds that points to the morally rumpled bartender as a murderer? --
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Summary

Summary

The third book in an amazing series that features crime à la library at America's most famous institution of higher reading.

A note from bartender Brian McNulty, Raymond Ambler's friend, confidant, and sometimes adviser, sets the librarian sleuth off on a murder investigation, one that he pursues reluctantly until a second murder upends the world as he knows it. The second victim is a lady friend of McNulty's--and the prime suspect is McNulty himself.

As Ambler pursues his investigation, he discovers that the murdered woman had a double life. Her intermittent visits to the city--a whirlwind of reckless drinking and illicit liaisons with men she met in the cocktail lounges--had their counterpart in suburban Fairfield County Connecticut where, as Dr. Sandra Dean, she practiced dermatology and lived in a gated community with a doting husband and a young daughter.

While Ambler looks into the past of Dr. Sandra Dean to understand the murder of Shannon Darling in the present, NYPD homicide detective Mike Cosgrove investigates the men in Shannon Darling's life. She might have been murdered because she frustrated the wrong man. It could have been a jealous wife. In fact, any number of people might have murdered Shannon Darling. Or, as Ambler suspects, did someone murder Dr. Sandra Dean?

Yet, no matter which way he turns, McNulty emerges as a suspect. Ambler's dilemma seems insurmountable: Should he keep searching for the truth behind the murders if the deeper he probes, the more evidence he finds that points to the morally rumpled bartender as a murderer?


Author Notes

Con Lehane is a mystery writer, living outside Washington, DC. Murder at the 42nd Street Library is the first in his series featuring Raymond Ambler, curator of the 42nd Street Library's (fictional) crime fiction collection. He's also the author of the novels featuring New York City bartender Brian McNulty. Over the years, he (Lehane, that is) has been a college professor, union organizer, labor journalist, and has tended bar at two-dozen or so drinking establishments. He teaches fiction writing and mystery writing at The Writer's Center in Bethesda, Maryland.


Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

Lehane's complicated third 42nd Street Library mystery (after 2017's Murder in the Manuscript Room) opens with Raymond Ambler, curator of the Manhattan library's crime fiction collection, helping Shannon Darling research the personal papers of mystery writer Jayne Galloway. Shannon seems like a sad and vulnerable woman, so Ray is taken aback when she disappears with Ray's bartender and sometime actor friend, Brian McNulty (the star of Lehane's other series), after a man is found dead in her hotel room. When Shannon herself is murdered, Brian becomes the prime suspect in both deaths. Determined to help clear Brian, Ray and his fellow librarian and secret love Adele Morgan discover that Shannon was actually Sandra Dean, mother to a six-year-old daughter and wife of a wealthy and influential husband. Ray's worries and personal problems muddle the plot rather than add depth to the story. The atmospheric setting compensates in part. Those who love New York City and libraries will be rewarded. Agent: Alice Martell, Martell Agency. (Nov.)


Kirkus Review

A third case for crime fiction curator Raymond Ambler (Murder in the Manuscript Room, 2017, etc.) offers still more arguments for throwing a dragnet around Manhattan's 42nd Street Library.At least this time the cops aren't stringing crime-scene tape around the library itself, though that's where the trouble begins. Shannon Darling, a novice researcher who's interested in the fiction of veteran mystery writer Jayne Galloway, installs herself in Special Collections long enough to draw the attention of Ambler, who's especially alert when he sees his old friend Brian McNulty, the bartender at the nearby Library Tavern, escort her off the tavern's premises after she has one or two too many. The next time McNulty and Darling are linked is when private security agent Ted Doyle is shot dead in Darling's hotel room and the bartender and the researcher go AWOL. Detective Mike Cosgrove, the NYPD Homicide cop who'd like to talk to them both, doesn't buy Ambler's weak pleas to move on because there's nothing to see here. The first of the two fugitives to turn up is Darling, killed in another hotel room in Stamford, Connecticut. By the time he gets the news, Ambler has already convinced himself that the fake researcher is Dr. Sandra Dean, the dying Jayne Galloway's real-life daughter, whose inquiries now take a deeply sinister turn. As Ambler tries to come up with a good excuse to question Sandra's husband, architect Simon Dean, Cosgrove is pursuing the long list of men Sandra marked for one-night stands in her journal. The two sleuths inevitably clash over Brian McNulty, whom Cosgrove naturally regards as the murderer and Ambler as an old friend who couldn't possibly have killed anyone, especially since he's already anchored a series of his own (Death at the Old Hotel, 2017, etc.).This heartfelt dive into a troubled woman's past makes the victim more interesting than any of the sleuths or suspects. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

In this third in the 42nd Street Library series (following Murder in the Manuscript Room, 2017), librarian Raymond Ambler, who runs the famed library's crime-fiction collection, is up against several problems. His friend, a bartender at the nearby Library Tavern, is accused of murder, which then becomes double murder; Ambler's son is in prison, and Ambler despairs of affording the fees it will take to change that; and last is his fumbling attempts to revive his on-again, off-again relationship with his lover. Readers will see Ambler putting distractions to the side to help his accused friend, and, in the process, solving an archives-tinged mystery that involves academic dishonesty, a double life, and a look inside a marriage to an abuser. While Ambler sometimes has too-easy access to the information gathered by the police officer on the case, fans and new readers will enjoy solving Ambler's latest puzzle along with him. An apt choice for bibliophiles and those who like a New York City setting.--Henrietta Verma Copyright 2010 Booklist


Library Journal Review

In Lehane's next in-the-stacks mystery, librarian Raymond Ambler gets a note from bartender buddy Brian McNulty, urging him to investigate the murder of a lady friend. It turns out that New York party girl Shannon Darling was also Dr. Sandra Dean, a dermatologist living sedately in Connecticut with her family. Who's the victim here, Shannon or Sandra? Of course, NYPD homicide detective Mike Cosgrove joins the fray.