Jude, the main character, a librarian who is on the run from what she believes is the accidental death of her ex-husband’s new girlfriend which she is certain will cause her to be put on trial for murder
Lowell Glen, the older man who owns a book store in Wigtown, Scotland, where Jude ends up after she flees the scene of the accident
Eddy Preston, Lowell’s daughter whom he had no knowledge of until she shows up unannounced on his doorstep the same week that Jude arrives, who is eight months pregnant
T. Jolly, deceased, who left clues to who committed several murders before he died
Lowland Glen bookstore, owned by Lowell Glen, but in sad shape until Jude’s arrival, She is on the high end of obsessive compulsive and cannot help herself from tidying.
“Who runs away to a bookshop?” But that is exactly what ‘Jude’ does when her world collapses after the death of both her parents. A horrible accident takes both their lives and after the funeral Jude flees to an old book store in Wigtown, Scotland she had visited with her husband during happier times. By now she’s divorced and her ex is married to a co-worker he had been seeing during her marriage. When she arrives at the book store, Lowell Glen immediately remembers her and has in fact saved a book she had been looking for in a drawer until her return. She shows up at the door of Lowland Glen bookshop exhausted and emotionally broken, having fled London with nothing but the clothes on her back, her passport and a small mount of cash. She is afraid of using her credit cards, for fear that the police are looking for her and will arrive to take her away if she so much as swipes the magnetic strip. We don’t know why the police are looking for her until much later in the story. But Lowell takes her in, his old-fashioned gentleman style encouraging her to rest at his house until she feels better. The small town seems perfectly safe and Jude takes him up on his offer. Soon, she is working at the bookshop, and being a librarian with obsessive compulsive disorder, she is almost in heaven creating order out of the towering stacks of books, cleaning each one as she goes. Within a few days, more drama comes to the quiet little shop in the form of a teenage daughter that Lowell never knew he had. Eddy Preston’s mother Miranda has just died after a long illness and Eddy is eight months pregnant. She tells Lowell and Jude that the baby is Lowell’s grandchild and the reader gets the impression that Eddy’s story is calculated to force Lowell into taking her in. Not knowing how kind and mannerly Lowell is she didn’t need any story at all, merely having her show up was enough for him to be smitten with her. He remembers a night eighteen years ago when she could possibly have been conceived and takes it on trust that she’s his own daughter. But Jude sees some cracks in the story and doubts that Eddy is even really pregnant, what with the false wombs available now days. When Eddy refuses to have the baby at the hospital and demands that it be born at Lowell’s family home, Jamaica House, where she herself was conceived, Jude’s suspicions grow. But soon Eddy has figured out who Jude really is and the two of them form a pact of secrecy.
Once Eddy arrives she takes over the upstairs bedrooms that Jude had tidied up for herself, but Lowell offers her an old cottage at the edge of a graveyard, where T. Jolly had lived out his final years. There she finds some notes written in the back of books he had ordered for his membership in a local book club. It turns out there had been some scandal involved with Lowell’s father, the local doctor and several of his patients before he died, but the clues are scattered now, buried in the back of the bookshop in books relegated to the dead room which contained dozens of bags of books donated by the community. As Eddy’s due date grows nearer strange happenings occur. Jude receives ominous messages and the cottage is set on fire. The clues almost add up but Jude still needs to search out the final notes in one of the book club entries which still lies hidden somewhere in the bookshop.
An enjoyable read with good characters will keep you guessing.