Monday, April 30, 2018

Book Review: Better Off Read: A Bookmobile Mystery by Nora Page

Septuagenarian librarian Cleo Watkins won’t be shushed when an upstart young mayor threatens to permanently shelve her tiny town’s storm-damaged library. She takes to her bookmobile, Words on Wheels, to collect allies and rally library support throughout Catalpa Springs, Georgia.

However, Cleo soon rolls into trouble. A major benefactor known for his eccentric DIY projects requests all available books on getting away with murder. He’s no Georgia peach, and Cleo wonders if she should worry about his plans. She knows she should when she discovers him bludgeoned and evidence points to her best friend, Mary-Rose Garland.

Sure of Mary-Rose’s innocence, Cleo applies her librarian’s sleuthing skills to the case, assisted by friends, family, and the dapper antiquarian bookseller everyone keeps calling her boyfriend. Evidence stacks up, but a killer is overdue to strike again. With lives and her library on the line, Cleo must shift into high gear to close the book on murder.

It always seems like I'm always drawn to the feisty older ladies in the cozies I read, so one with a 75 year old bookmobile-driving protagonist is a real treat. Cleo Watkins is busy drumming up support to save her beloved storm-damaged library when she delivers a stack of true crime books to the eccentric Buford Krandall. She questions why he's reading so much about how to commit murder and unsolved mysteries in their area, and then Buford becomes a murder victim himself! Cleo's best friend Mary-Jane, owner of a pancakes and pie shop, is the main suspect since she had been feuding with Buford over his contaminating the fresh spring water that runs between their properties. There's no shortage of suspects however, and Cleo aims to use her book smarts and southern charm to catch a killer.

I enjoyed this book, although it did take me some time to get into the story and connect with its characters. Two of my favorites were the bank manager's crotchety mother (the scene where she takes the bookmobile for a joy ride is hysterical), and true crime author Priscilla Pawpaw whose books seem to be the catalyst for the murder. The star of the show though is Cleo's beloved orange Persian, Rhett Butler. Poor Rhett isn't looking his best when we first meet him, having recently tangled with burdock necessitating a shave from Cleo's hairdresser. It didn't go well. In spite of questioning looks from the people around him he is Cleo's constant companion on the bookmobile and off. He even manages to save the day (with the help from a few of his friends) when she's confronted by the killer!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. As members of the Amazon Associates affiliate program, if you click on our links and buy something Mudpie gets a little money for her piggy bank!


  1. This sounds like a good book - I'll have to add it to my list! Any book with an orange cat has to be good, right? :)

  2. This brings back memories of the bookmobile I used to visit all the time as a child. Well, except for the whole murder part. And Rhett Butler sounds like the purrfect feline companion. Gotta love those orange boys! My to-read list gets longer every time I read one of your reviews, but I wouldn't have it any other way!

  3. Mom REALLY needs to get back to many fun books!
    Allie says thank you for helping her celebrate her birthday!

    The Florida Furkids

  4. What's not to like about librarians and cats?

  5. Why do cat authors always have the best book titles!??

  6. Sounds like a fun read cats and librarians!

  7. This sounds like a really fun read!