Mystery Book Reviews

Book Review: The Library Paradox by Catherine Shaw

By Angela Youngman Jun 8, 2006, 0:43 GMT

Book Review: The Library Paradox by Catherine Shaw

March, 1896. Motherhood and work as a private detective don?t easily go hand-in-hand, but Vanessa is determined to give it a try. Being a wife and mother has meant that she\'s had to give up her beloved teaching job, but Vanessa has been kept busy by a string of requests asking for her help in solving troubling cases. It is not often, though, that her investigations involve violent death? When ...more

An interesting and thought provoking story set around the time of the Dreyfus trial.  Vanessa Duncan is  making something of a name for herself as a private investigator.  Called in by a  Professor of Kings College to solve a closed room mystery, she finds herself embroiled in anti-semitism, the Dreyfus case as well as mathematics!  Professor Ralston dies in mysterious circumstances within a University library. 

The problem is that the only suspect left the building seconds before a shot rang out, and eye witnesses testify that no one else was in the building at the time.  How did the killer escape - and who was it?  As Vanessa investigates, it becomes clear that Professor Ralston was not exactly the pleasantest of characters and not exactly popular with his colleagues.  Quite a lot of people would have liked to  seen him dead.

Some interesting insights into the life of Victorian women - even how difficult it was for them to get lunch while out and about in London!  The plot line is well worked out, and keeps you guessing.  Characterisation is a bit thin at times, but this is balanced out by the strong story line.

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