The Woman in the Library

Sulari Gentill

The Woman in the Library
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The Woman in the Library

Sulari Gentill

‘And then there is a scream. Ragged and terrified. A beat of silence even after it stops, until we all seem to realise that the Reading Room Rules no longer apply.‘

Hannah Tigone, bestselling Australian crime author, is crafting a new novel that begins in the Boston Public Library: four strangers; Winifred, Cain, Marigold and Whit are sitting at the same table when a bloodcurdling scream breaks the silence. A woman has been murdered. They are all suspects, and, as it turns out, each character has their own secrets and motivations - and one of them is a murderer.

While crafting this new thriller, Hannah shares each chapter with her biggest fan and aspirational novelist, Leo. But Leo seems to know a lot about violence, motive, and how exactly to kill someone. Perhaps he is not all that he seems…

The Woman in the Library
is an unexpectedly twisty literary adventure that examines the complicated nature of friendship - and shows that words can be the most treacherous weapons of all.

Review

Under the soaring dome of the Boston Public Library, four people meet. Whit, studying to become a lawyer and doing his best to fail; handsome novelist Cain; tattooed Harvard student Marigold; and our protagonist, Freddie, who has arrived in America from Australia on a writing fellowship. Their connection is still tentative and new when they hear someone scream nearby, but the discovery of a body in the library the next day causes them to get closer. Bonded by their shared experience, they attempt to piece together the mystery of the woman in the library, but there are secrets in everyone’s pasts that even the very best of friends would not want to share. And their search, which begins with the bright delight of new friendship, will soon become very dangerous indeed…. a standalone literary mystery that is delightfully self-referential: it constantly reminds you of its fictional scaffolding while making you, somehow, even more invested in the story.

But that’s just a story, isn’t it? A mystery being written by famed Australian writer Hannah Tigone just before the pandemic grips the world. And her most ardent admirer, Leo Johnson, is writing her letters in response to the chapters she sends him, explaining Americanisms, offering advice. Helpful, really. And the Leo in Hannah’s story, Freddie’s neighbour – he’s helpful too.

Sulari Gentill – author of the excellent Rowland Sinclair series – has written a standalone literary mystery that is delightfully self-referential: it constantly reminds you of its fictional scaffolding while making you, somehow, even more invested in the story. This is a clever, twisting piece of meta-crime writing that will have you scouring layers for clues and finding in the pages the joy of a truly original read.


Fiona Hardy is from Readings Doncaster and is the author of three bestselling children’s books.

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