Book Review | By Book or by Crook by Eva Gates

Title: By Book or by Crook

Author: Eva Gates

Publisher: Berkeley Books

Release Date: 15th January 2017

Source: Own Copy
For ten years Lucy has enjoyed her job poring over rare tomes of literature for the Harvard Library, but she has not enjoyed the demands of her family's social whorl or her sort-of-engagement to the staid son of her father's law partner. But when her ten-year relationship implodes, Lucy realizes that the plot of her life is in need of a serious rewrite. 

Calling on her aunt Ellen, Lucy hopes that a little fun in the Outer Banks sun--and some confections from her cousin Josie's bakery--will help clear her head. But her retreat quickly turns into an unexpected opportunity when Aunt Ellen gets her involved in the lighthouse library tucked away on Bodie Island. 

Lucy is thrilled to land a librarian job in her favorite place in the world. But when a priceless first edition Jane Austen novel is stolen and the chair of the library board is murdered, Lucy suddenly finds herself ensnared in a real-life mystery--and she's not so sure there's going to be a happy ending....

I have a thing for lighthouses, always have!  Call me crazy but there is something I find mysterious about them, the isolation, the waves crashing in to them, the fact that some of them are on little islands by themselves and nobody can pop over uninvited.  This lighthouse in this book is truly my ideal lighthouse because it’s also a library.  Perfect!  

Lucy starts a new job as a librarian at the Bodie Island lighthouse situated in the Outer Banks, it’s a far cry from her previous position in the Harvard library and her family and their demands.  Bodie Island is her favourite place in the world having visited from an early age and working in the lighthouse is a dream come true.

The lighthouse has a small staff and they make her instantly welcome.  The extra pair of hands is going to be a huge help to them as they are about to exhibit some rare Jane Austen first editions and they are guaranteed to bring in the crowds.  However at the launch party the library chair is found dead and all fingers point to the chief librarian not only that as Lucy and her new friends come to terms with this horrific event one of the precious first editions goes missing.  Who is out to sabotage the lighthouse?

This was a highly enjoyable cosy crime and the beginning of what I hope to be a good series.  The Outer Banks setting was perfect, the cast of characters delightful and there is also an adorable cat.  There are quite a lot of characters to take in which means the murderer in their midst takes a while to pin down.

I enjoyed this and I’m looking for to reading further in the series.


  1. What a great setting! Although I'm not sure such a damp environment would be ideal to store collectible Jane Austen books, just saying😉

  2. I agree, there's something special about a lighthouse. My mind instantly went to Shutter Island. This one sounds a bit lighter than that, but still sounds like a fun read.

  3. An island, a lighthouse, rare books and a mystery? I'm in! :D

  4. I've read a more recent book in this series and really enjoyed it but even though I own this one I still haven't read it! Thanks for the reminder! I need to get it off the shelf.

  5. Aww, I love these pun-ish book titles. I could never do them myself, but they're so much fun to collect, haha. And a lighthouse that's also a library -- sounds like a dream come true.
    ~ Lex (

    1. I’d love to visit a library in a lighthouse, it sounds magical.

  6. A lighthouse on an island, the dream !

  7. I hope the series turns out to be a good one for you.


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