A former Spanish teacher, Marilyn Levinson writes mysteries, romantic suspense, and novels for kids. As Allison Brook she writes the Haunted Library mystery series. Other mysteries include the Golden Age of Mystery Book Club series and the Twin Lakes series. Learn more about Marilyn and her books at her website.
In Read and Gone, it's mid-December in Clover Ridge, Connecticut, where my sleuth, Carrie Singleton, lives. The temperature is falling and the days are growing shorter, but Carrie doesn't mind. For the first time in as long as she can remember, her life is close to perfect. She's living in a charming cottage near the river, has a great job in the Clover Ridge Library as head of programs and events, and has a loving boyfriend. And then in the early morning hours, after celebrating her thirtieth birthday, Carrie is awakened by her father, whom she hasn't seen in years.
Handsome, charming Jim Singleton is a thief by trade. Growing up, Carrie adored her father and missed his presence because even when he wasn't in prison, he usually stayed away from the home she shared with her mother and older brother. Jim has returned to the town where he grew up for a reason. He wants Carrie to help him retrieve his half of a heist that Benton Parr, the local jeweler and his partner-in-crime, has been holding. Carrie is both shocked and outraged and refuses to help her father. Jim takes off but calls Carrie a few days later. Parr has been murdered and Jim is Suspect Number One. Carrie doesn't approve of her father's life style, but of one thing she's certain—that Jim Singleton would never kill anyone—and she sets out to prove his innocence.
When the police release Jim for lack of solid evidence, Carrie allows him to stay with her. She's surprised and secretly pleased when her father buys a Christmas tree and ornaments to celebrate the holiday, something he was never around to do when she was younger. But true to form, instead of trimming the tree as he promised, Jim leaves on one of his "secret missions," which lands him in the hospital. Carrie is unaware that Jim is trying to find Parr's killer. Exasperated and disappointed, she refuses her father's overtures to mend their relationship. She insists on calling him "Jim" and not "Dad" as he wants her to. But over time he manages to prove that he really loves her. Moreover, he is willing to make huge changes in his lifestyle. In the true spirit of the holiday, Carrie allows her father into her life.
Read and Gone
A Haunted Library Mystery, Book 2