39. Overdue – Richie Tankersley Cusick
This book is seventeen years old. That means I’m old. Dude. I mean, I knew I was old mentally with my luddite tendencies when it comes to television, phones, cassette players, and the stone wheels on my horse cart, but still. Because this book is technically a mystery it doesn’t seem appropriate to let anyone in on who the killer is without saying “Spoiler Alert,” but really this book is old enough that I shouldn’t have to. It’s a dilemma that took up a whole paragraph.
Anyway, the killer is my favorite part because, as one might guess from the title, this book is about a library (sort of) and finally, finally, the librarian is the killer! And really she only killed one employee and some girl who wasn’t very nice to begin with and maimed or injured several others. I did take issue with her reasoning – an unrequited love from like forever ago with narrator Kathleen’s father. Kathleen also happens to be a library employee who never should have been trusted with minding the library while the killer librarian was “gone” but still in town setting up elaborate maiming scenarios that she marked with copies of Anna Karenina and The Phantom of the Opera.
Kathleen is a traditional Richie Tankersley Cusick heroine, she and Martha from Trick or Treat could be best friends who scream and fly into histrionics every time something happens in the shadows or they lose track of the male who is supposed to be in the same building. Kathleen spent an awful lot of time not doing anything library related while in the library. She wandered around scaring herself, she didn’t shelve anything, she barely checked out any books, she went to the hospital and let a non-employee mind the building, she had no concept of time, she let some random college student behind the counter, and she never had the keys to the door. Frankly, the librarian could have murdered her for being a terrible employee alone. I was honestly surprised that the maiming and murder was not part of an elaborate attempt to get Kathleen to quit. I’ve watched a lot of Deadly Women, it wouldn’t surprise me; but Miss Finch, librarian, was not given much of a personality and then she walked into the library after she set it on fire. Nobody respects libraries enough.