Eva Gates pens the Bodie Island Lighthouse mystery series.

Set alongside the Atlantic Ocean in eastern North Carolina, she uses the real Bodie Island Lighthouse as a focal point for her works, which feature librarian Lucy Richardson.

Latest in the series is Read and Buried.

The Bodie Island Lighthouse Library Classic Novel Book Club members are reading Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne. As they prepare for their discussion, workers continue to dig into the earth around the lighthouse foundation to repair a widening crack. In doing so, they unearth a battered tin box containing a Civil War-era diary. Tucked inside the diary is a hand-drawn map of the Outer Banks and a page written in an indecipherable code.

News of the discovery electrifies the community, and rumors of lost Civil War gold, buried pirate treasure, and fabulous jewels hidden from the Yankees abound.

Within hours, people overrun the library, demanding to see the artifact. Eventually Lucy and her co-workers manage to clear the library of the curious, lock the discovery away, and leave for the night.

Later that evening, Lucy and her growing love-interest, Mayor Connor McNeill, discover the body of historical society member Jeremy Hughes inside the library. Obviously a struggle has taken place, and more obviously he wasn’t alone: the map and the coded page are missing.

In the following days, suspicion turns to Louise Jane McKaughnan, Lucy’s nemesis who still resents the fact that Lucy got the librarian’s job Louise Jane wanted, and who confesses to having entered the library after closing time in order to sneak a peek. But Louise Jane vehemently denies having seen Jeremy or anyone else and most certainly states she didn’t kill anyone.

Lucy also learns that fellow librarian Charlene once had an affair with Jeremy, a married man, but claims the liaison ended two years earlier.

More suspects wash up as the days pass. There’s Jeremy’s not-so-grieving widow, who claims they had an open marriage, a pair of unscrupulous college professors who would dearly love to get their hands on the diary and publish, Jeremy’s current amour, who claims he was about to leave his wife and marry her, and even a fellow claiming to be a descendant of a Civil War hero.

All have motives, all have means, and all had the opportunity.

With Settlers Day celebration approaching quickly, Lucy, who has vowed never to get involved in another murder investigation, finds herself forced to abandon that plan and work to solve in the case.

When the code is finally broken, readers learn just what tragedies followed the failed Freedmen’s Bureau after the Civil War and learn that old secrets can indeed stretch across the centuries to affect the living today.

Stokely Memorial Library now has Read and Buried, along with Gates’ other works in the series.

They are well-researched with good character development and highly challenging to mystery lovers who want to solve the case before the detectives do.

Located at 383 East Broadway, Stokely Memorial Library is open Mondays—Saturdays from 10-5 and may be reached by telephone at 423-623-3832.

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