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I love libraries and I love ghosts who haunt them. That is why I’m excited about Alison Brook’s latest novel in her Haunted Library Series, Dewey Decimated. Have you ever seen a ghost? If you did, do you think you could have a conversation with it? That’s what Carrie Singleton and the ghost that haunts her library are going to do with their new friend, Charlie.
More about Dewey Decimated
Librarian Carrie Singleton is back on the case, alongside library ghost Evelyn, in the sixth installment of Agatha Award nominee Allison Brook’s Haunted Library mysteries.
Carrie Singleton is just off a hot string of murder cases centered around the spooky local library in Clover Ridge, Connecticut. She could really use a break—but no such luck, as she; Smoky Joe, the resident cat; and Evelyn, the library’s ghost, are drawn into another tantalizing whodunit.
First, a dead body is found in the basement of the building attached to the library, and it turns out to be Carrie’s fiancé’s Uncle Alec, who Dylan hasn’t seen in years. But Alec has no intention of truly checking out, and his ghost makes itself at home in the library, greatly upsetting the patrons. Carrie and Evelyn work hard to keep Alec out of sight, but what was he doing in Clover Ridge to begin with? And why was he killed?
Meanwhile, the town council, of which Carrie is also a member, is embroiled in a hot-headed debate over the fate of the Seabrook Preserve, a lovely and valuable piece of property that runs along Long Island Sound. Turn it into an upscale park? Sell it to a condo developer? Or keep it as protected land?
As the dispute rages, there’s another murder, this time involving a council member. Could the two murders be connected? And could Carrie be next on the hit list?
Excerpt: Dewey Decimated
I’d no sooner stepped out of my office when a strong breeze tousled my hair. A man in his mid-fifties came stumbling towards me. He wore a tan blazer, beneath which his striped shirt hung outside his pants. His clothes were wrinkled and soiled. What’s more, one of his shoes was missing.
I approached him cautiously, not certain what I was about to say or do. If he was drunk, I needed to find Max. If he was ill . . .
“Can I help you?” I asked when I was a few feet from him.
He kept on walking. I stepped aside, afraid he would run into me and was grateful when he suddenly halted. Closer, I noticed his eyes darting from side to side.
The air current had grown strong enough to turn the pages of a book propped open on a shelf.
Is he causing this?
“Where am I?” he asked.
“In the Clover Ridge Library,” I said, doing my best to remain calm.
“How did I get here?”
“I have no idea. I suppose through one of the doors.”
As he moved past me I felt a chill. It was the kind of sensation I felt when Evelyn came too close to me. No! He couldn’t be . . .
I covered my mouth to keep from shouting “stop!” as he wandered into the reading room, bumping into chairs and brushing by people. A magazine fell to the ground. Then another. Patrons stared after him as he passed, expressions of puzzlement or fear on their faces. I realized that they couldn’t see him, but they felt the air current he was causing, sensed an eerie presence that disturbed their peace of mind.
So this was the ghost that Buzz Coleman had encountered! I had to stop him from wreaking havoc in the library. I also wanted to help him, but I hadn’t the slightest idea what to do.
Panic was building inside me as the apparition only I could see bumbled toward the circulation desk where several people stood waiting to have their books, movies, and tapes checked out. It was impossible to grab hold of him and lead him away. And calling to him would make people think I’d lost it. From the way patrons touched their ruffled hair and stared at papers fluttering to the ground, I knew they were wondering what on earth was happening.
What to do! What to do!
Suddenly Evelyn appeared. I’d never been so happy to see her! I watched as she took hold of the ghost’s arm and, a finger to her lips, urged him to turn around and walk towards me.
“Carrie, is your office empty?” she whispered when they came closer.
“Let’s go there now and figure out what to do with Charlie over here.”
“His name is Charlie?” I asked.
She rolled her eyes. “It is for the time being.”
* * *
“I still can’t figure out how I ended up in your library,” Charlie said for the eighth time. Or was it the twelfth? I had no idea since that was how he responded to every question Evelyn and I asked him, even after we’d explained repeatedly that we were assuming he belonged to the body recently discovered next door, and that he’d entered the library through the break in the wall.
He was either dazed at having found himself in unfamiliar surroundings or had suffered some form of amnesia. Which was a big disappointment. I’d expected Charlie to tell us who he was and how he’d ended up in the house next door. And while I appreciated the way Evelyn had managed to convince our visitor to accompany us to my office, she wasn’t any more successful than me. Didn’t all ghosts function on the same level? Observe the same protocol? Clearly this wasn’t the case, judging from her lack of results.
“Charlie,” I began. “Can we call you Charlie until we find out your real name?”
He nodded. “Okay. I guess. Why not?”
I exhaled loudly. He seemed calmer. Still very confused but definitely calmer. And the gusts of wind had died down. “Okay. Our library bought the building next door so we could expand. The building has been abandoned for years. Last week a body wrapped in a blanket was discovered in the basement. They think it’s been there at least five, maybe eight years. Recently, one of the workers broke through the adjoining wall. We think that’s how you came to wander into the library.”
Charlie nodded as he thought this over. “And you think that body is—was me?”
“It could be. Do you remember entering that building?”
“What do you remember?” Evelyn asked.
Charlie stared at her. “You’re like me, aren’t you?”
Evelyn, who had been perched on the corner of my assistants’ desk, came to stand in front of him and drew back her shoulders. “If you mean that your body and mine have both left this corporal plane, the answer is yes. Other than that, we are worlds apart.”
“Sorry,” Charlie said quickly.
“No need to apologize,” Evelyn said, her tone warming. “Carrie and I want to help you get where you belong.”
“Much appreciated,” Charlie said. “As to your question, I wish I had a good answer for you. My mind is fuzzy when I try to remember my life. My history. I get flashes of places I recognize, people I knew, but nothing more.” He sighed. “I can’t even tell you my name.”
“That’s all right,” I said quickly. “Just tell us what you can remember.”
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About The Author
A former Spanish teacher, Marilyn Levinson writes mysteries, romantic suspense, and novels for kids. Her books have received many accolades. As Allison Brook she writes the Haunted Library series. DEATH OVERDUE, the first in the series, was an Agatha nominee for Best Contemporary Novel in 2018. Other mysteries include the Golden Age of Mystery Book Club series, the Twin Lakes series, and GIVING UP THE GHOST.
Her juvenile novel, RUFUS AND MAGIC RUN AMOK, was an International Reading Association-Children’s Book Council Children’s Choice. It will soon be reissued, followed by three more books in the series. AND DON’T BRING JEREMY was a nominee for six state awards.
Marilyn lives on Long Island, where many of her books take place. She loves traveling, reading, doing crossword puzzles and Sudoku, and chatting on FaceTime with her grandkids
Where to Catch Up With Marilyn Levinson/Alison Brook
Book Bub– Allison Brook