The New York Times bestselling author of Dying for a Cupcake returns with a new mystery filled with lost family, hidden treasure, and long-buried secrets.
Shadow Bend’s library closed years ago, so when a wealthy benefactor offers to reopen it, everyone, including Dev, is thrilled. But Dev’s excitement wanes when she realizes the mysterious donor is actually her runaway mother Yvette’s latest husband, Jett Benedict.
After Jett is murdered and Yvette is declared the prime suspect, Dev is in a bind. Setting the record straight could prove her mother is a killer. But doing nothing might get her mother booked for a crime she didn’t commit…
Below, read Swanson’s letter to librarians.
As a writer, I know the importance of libraries. But before I ever dreamed of becoming a published author, I was a little girl living in a small town. An only child, living on a farm with no neighbors within walking distance, I suffered panic attacks if I didn’t have a pile of books waiting for me to read.
Which was why, when I heard about all the libraries being closed due to lack of funding, I decided to focus the plot of my next Devereaux’s Dime Store mystery on the offer of a philanthropist to reopen the Shadow Bend Library.
Like me, my sleuth Dev grew up on a farm outside of town, so she too would have depended on the library for entertainment, knowledge, and companionship. Knowing that it was important to the story that she feels conflicted about the library re-opening, I decided that the philanthropist would turn out to be her stepfather. A man she’d never met, married to the woman who had abandoned Dev and run off seeking greener pastures.
Next, I took a good hard look at what libraries meant to their towns in the twenty-first century versus what they had been when I was growing up in the late sixties and early seventies. I found out that in this ever increasing digital world, the role of libraries is undervalued. Many public officials have no idea that libraries are the community and cultural centers and when there’s a shortfall in the budgets, libraries are among the first institutions to suffer.
From my research, it was clear that municipal governments often don’t understand how much libraries can strengthen a community’s bond. Libraries, especially in small towns, are one of the few remaining places where folks from diverse backgrounds can gather to interact. One of the few places that remain centers for the arts. And one of the few safe places for children and adolescents to socialize and learn how to appropriately interact.
With that in mind, I wrote Between a Book and a Hard Place. It saddened me that because of the way the plot developed, I was going to have to deprive Dev’s hometown of the library they were counting on regaining. But rest assured, sometime in the near future, like the next book, Shadow Bend will get its library and it will be bigger and better than ever. Because as we all know every town needs a good library.
I hope you’ll read Between a Book and a Hard Place, and if you enjoy it, recommend it to your patrons. They of all people understand the value of a library.