Book Review: Silence in the Library (Lily Adler Mystery #2) by Katharine Schellman

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre: Historical mystery
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: July 13th, 2021
Pages: 352, hardcover
Source: NetGalley

Regency widow Lily Adler didn’t expect to find a corpse when visiting a family friend. Now it’s up to her to discover the killer in the charming second installment in the Lily Adler mysteries.

Regency widow Lily Adler has just started to feel settled into her new London home when her semi-estranged father arrives, intending to stay with her while he recovers from an illness. To placate and avoid him, she takes his place in a social visit with Lady Wyatt, a woman Lily doesn’t know. But when Lily arrives for her second visit, she finds the household in an uproar: Sir Charles, Lady Wyatt’s much older husband and a friend of Lily’s father, is dead in his library. All signs indicate that he tripped and struck his head on the mantelpiece. But when Bow Street constable Simon Page is called to the scene, he suspects that Sir Charles was murdered.
Mr. Page was there when Lily caught her first murderer, and he trusts her insight into the world of London’s upper class. With the help of Captain Jack Hartley, they piece together the reasons that Sir Charles’ wife, sons, and nephew might have wanted him dead. But everyone who might have profited from the old man’s death seems to have an
alibi. With no clear suspect, the trio nearly conclude that the death was an accident after all… until Lily receives a mysterious summons to speak with one of the Wyatts’ maids, only to find the young woman dead from poison when she arrives.
Mr. Page believes the surviving family members are hiding the key to Sir Charles’ death, and it isn’t long before Lily realizes that her father may know what it is. To uncover the truth, Lily must convince the father who doesn’t trust or respect her to help catch his friend’s killer before anyone else in the Wyatt household dies.

Silence in the Library is the second book in Katharine Schellman’s Lily Adler mystery series. The book opens with Lily returning to her London home to find her father paying an unexpected and unwelcome visit. Her overbearing father manipulates her into calling on his friend and country neighbor, Sir Charles Wyatt, to congratulate him on his recent remarriage.

Lily and her friend Jack Hartley call upon the Wyatts. Sir Charles’ son, Frank, and his nephew, Percy, are also present, and there is some unpleasantness involving missing money that Lily quickly sorts out. Sir Charles’ wife, Winifred, invites Jack and Lily to ride with her the next morning, but when they arrive at the house, they discover that Sir Charles has been murdered.

Readers may figure out the motive and “whodunnit” fairly early on, but the story is strong, and the relationships between the characters are interesting. I’m not entirely convinced of how sympathetically many of the book’s inhabitants treated the neurodivergent characters, given that this was the Regency period, but did find it believable that Lily and her friends would not be prejudiced against someone who was different in some ways.

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