Thursday, February 05, 2015

Guest Blog by Eva Gates: Lighthouses - Review and Giveaway of By Book or By Crook - February 5, 2015

Please welcome Eva Gates to The Qwillery. By Book or By Crook, the 1st Lighthouse Library Mystery, was published on February 3rd by Signet.

by Eva Gates

Lighthouses are marvellous things. My new series, the Lighthouse Library Mysteries from Obsidian, is set in the historic (and real) Bodie Island Lighthouse on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Because I live in the middle of a continent, and always have, lighthouses to me were never more than scenic buildings on windswept shores. As I’ve worked on the books, I’ve learned some of the history of lighthouses in general and the Bodie Island Lighthouse in particular.

The first lighthouses were nothing more than buckets of flaming pitch hauled up to the top of a tall pole, to show fisherman or sailors the way home. These lights were essentially to help your family or villagers find their way home at night. But over the years the primary purpose of a lighthouse became to protect people one might never even meet. A ship, simply passing in the night.
Imagine being on a leaky, creaky sailing ship. A dark night, a terrifying storm. A near, but not visible, coastline, dangerous currents and sharp rocks.

And then, visible though the dark, a brief flash of light telling you where you are, and what dangers to avoid.

These days, with satellite navigational systems and coasts lit up enough to be seen from space, a lighthouse is little more than a quaint relic of the past. But they are marvellous places to visit, a reminder of the past, and I believe a true marker of civilization.

In By Book or By Crook, the first book in the Lighthouse Library Series, Lucy Richardson is having dinner with an old friend.
“A lighthouse,” Connor said at last, as the Roanoke light flashed, “is a truly marvelous thing.”

“Beautiful,” I agreed.

“So much more than that. At the Currituck Light they have a saying on the wall I always remember, ‘to Illuminate the dark space.’ That doesn’t seem so important in today’s world, where there are so few truly dark spaces. Particularly along most of the coast of North America. Lights on the eastern seaboard are so bright some cities scarcely have night any more. But in the old days, the days before electricity? Imagine being out to sea, in a warship powered only by wind or a small fishing boat on a cloudy night, no radio, no satellite guidance, a storm raging all around. And then, in the distance, that flash of light. And you would know you were not alone.”

“I see what you mean.” I smiled as I remembered my fourteen-year-old self. Part of the reason I’d liked Connor was that he didn’t seem at all like the boys back in school. Even then, Connor McNeil thought about things like lighthouses almost as much as he did baseball or fishing. Nice to see he hadn’t changed.
 By Book or By Crook by Eva Gates

By Book or by Crook
A Lighthouse Library Mystery 1
Signet, February 3, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 Pages

Get bound up in murder in the first Lighthouse Library mystery!

For ten years Lucy has enjoyed her job poring over rare tomes of literature for the Harvard Library, but she has not enjoyed the demands of her family’s social whorl or her sort-of-engagement to the staid son of her father’s law partner. But when her ten-year relationship implodes, Lucy realizes that the plot of her life is in need of a serious rewrite.

Calling on her aunt Ellen, Lucy hopes that a little fun in the Outer Banks sun—and some confections from her cousin Josie’s bakery—will help clear her head. But her retreat quickly turns into an unexpected opportunity when Aunt Ellen gets her involved in the lighthouse library tucked away on Bodie Island.

Lucy is thrilled to land a librarian job in her favorite place in the world. But when a priceless first edition Jane Austen novel is stolen and the chair of the library board is murdered, Lucy suddenly finds herself ensnared in a real-life mystery—and she’s not so sure there’s going to be a happy ending….

Jennifer's Review

By Book or by Crook is the first book in the new Lighthouse Library Mystery Series. The story follows Lucy Richardson, who has fled her upper class family and a failed relationship in Boston, to move to tiny Bodie Island, a place she knows well and adores, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. She happily spent every summer vacation of her childhood on the island with her beloved Aunt Ellen, Uncle Amos and Cousin Josie. She has landed the position of assistant librarian at the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library, due to her college degree and experience in the library at Harvard. Lucy’s happiness in her new position is threatened when an odious library board member is murdered on the premises and the library staff are all suspected in his death and in the subsequent thefts of priceless and rare first edition Jane Austen novels that were on temporary loan to the little library.

As a character, Lucy is fun to read. She is definitely intelligent and capable, but suffers from some self doubt, probably brought on partly by her sheltered and privileged New England upbringing, and partly by the less than warm welcome she receives from many long time island residents. She has ruffled the feathers of a local girl named Louise Jane, who expected to obtain Lucy’s position on the library staff. Louise Jane and her satellite, Poor Andrew, a totally hopeless character that follows the object of his adoration around in a truly pathetic manner, try many different tactics to get Lucy to quit her job and leave the Outer Banks. Lucy also has trouble with the widow of the murder victim, who harbors a deep-seated and irrational jealousy towards the library and its staff. Aside from these somewhat nefarious characters, Lucy has two possible romantic interests in Connor, the town’s mayor, and Butch, a local police officer. The library staff consists of the head librarian, Bertie, who is the prime suspect in the death of Mr. Uppiton, and two other employees, Charlene and Ronald. The foursome, along with library cat Charles, make up an excellent staff and each character has quirks and interests, yes, even Charles the cat, that set them apart from the others. One other notable supporting character is Theodore, a pretentious local book collector who is so campy the reader can’t help but find him likeable.

The book mystery unfolds at a bit of a slow pace, but does include some excellent action scenes that are somewhat unexpected and make the plot pop even more. The characters are all realistically drawn. Each one has a solid base that can certainly be expanded upon in future novels. Setting the library in a historic lighthouse gives the library itself a character of its own that helps to set this series apart from other cozy mysteries of its class and gives it the potential to stand out. This book was a fun introduction to what I think will prove to be an interesting and, hopefully, long lived series.

About Eva
(from the Berkley Prime Crime website)

Eva Gates is the pen name of popular mystery and suspense author Vicki Delany. Eva writes a new cozy series for Pengiun Obsidian, the Lighthouse Library Mysteries, set on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The first book in the series, BY BOOK OR BY CROOK, will be released Feb 3rd.

Website  ~  Twitter @evagatesauthor  ~  Facebook

The Giveaway

What:  One entrant will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of By Book or By Crook by Eva Gates from the publisher. US ONLY

How:   Log into and follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below.

Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a US mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59 PM US Eastern Time on February 13, 2015. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. It looks great; thank you for the chance to win it :)

  2. I like the unique setting of a lighthouse library. Thanks for the contest.

  3. Sounds great! Love lighthouses! Thanks for the chance!

  4. it looks good! I look forward to reading it

  5. Sounds like a great read.

  6. Can't wait to read this one!
    Sarah2323 at gmail dot com

  7. Thanks for the giveaway! The book sounds fantastic!

  8. I love the thought of a library in a lighthouse. I've often thought how quaint it would be to live in a lighthouse and enjoy the sounds of the water.

  9. This books sounds fabulous! I love lighthouses and the beach~might have to move away from the cold mountains of West Virginia! Thank you for the great contest!

  10. I love lighthouses. I've always found them to be so fascinating. Can't wait to read this book.
    Angie Young

  11. This book is captivating and wonderful. Beaches, lighthouses and a library sound unique and intriguing. Thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  12. I cannot resist Light Houses...Please enter me.
    Marilyn Watson

  13. Looks like great cozy mystery.

  14. I SO want to read this one! patucker54 (at aol dot com)

  15. Would love to win! I love cats, books, and lighthouses. Haven't been to any lighthouses. The cover is great.

  16. Yay ! Love lighthouses !

  17. Thanks everyone. I hope you enjoy reading the book as much as I did writing it! And thanks so much for the review, Jennifer.