The author seems to choose protagonists with offbeat professions. In a prior series, the protagonist was a bartender (who appears in a minor role in this novel). Now, in the first in a new series, it is Raymond Ambler, a librarian who is no less a curator of the crime fiction collection in the world-famous 42md Street Library in New York City. It is not clear why the selection, however, since his employment plays no part in his role, although he does interact with a detective to solve crimes.
Apparently the setting is chosen because the various victims are literary individuals, including a best-selling author whose collection of papers is obtained by the library, and the first of several murders takes place in a second floor reading room (the second occurs just outside, in the adjoining Bryant Park), The various suspects are all associated with each other from a time when they taught at an upstate college and are involved some way in reading the papers in preparation for writing a biography of the aforementioned author.
Unfortunately this series gets off to an uneven start, with a convoluted plot and cumbersome writing. In fact, it is questionable whether the reader can even discern which character is the actual murderer. It is an interesting idea for a librarian-protagonist. Perhaps in future additions to the series, we will find Mr. Ambler applying his skills to uncovering clues though the resources of a library, rather than his own intuition, which rarely is explained.
Having thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Lehane’s writing in the past, we look forward to the next in this new series....Continua