The Librarian: Meet the Characters of Magnolia Bluff
November 10, 2022
Review: There are several murders, and … is that a ghost? And in the end, just how well do you really know your good friends?
Caroline McCluskey is prim.
She’s still young.
She’s a widow.
Her husband died fighting a war on land she would never see.
She’s a librarian, and Magnolia Bluff is her personal domain.
She watches over the town.
She worries when her friends are in trouble.
And she doesn’t have an enemy as far as she knows.
But what doesn’t she know?
In Dewey Decimal Dilemma, book seven of the Magnolia Bluff Crime Chronicles, Caroline is about to find out in the most unexpected of ways.
Death stalks the streets.
It’s walking close to her neighborhood.
Caroline entered the double doors to LouEllen’s Lounge, an upscale bar for a Texas Hill Country community. It took Caroline a few minutes for her vision to adapt to the dim lighting. A pianist played a slow, romantic song. A small dance floor graced the front of the stage where several couples clung to each other while moving gracefully to the rhythm of the music. A wave of jealousy washed over Caroline.
Eighteen years. Had Robert been dead that long? He died way too young, having enlisted shortly after 9-11. Caroline took a deep breath to push away the last memory of her husband as he, along with the rest of his military unit, climbed aboard the bus bound for San Antonio. She had put on a fake smile and bravely waved at him until the bus was out of sight. Fifteen months later, she waited at Lackland Air Base for his flag-draped coffin to be brought home.
To keep her grief at bay and to keep from going crazy, she had forced herself to finish college, earning a B.A. in English. After teaching for ten years, Caroline entered the graduate program at Burnet College and earned her library science degree. Caroline loved her job as head librarian and felt blessed that the city’s manager offered her the position three years ago.
Buck up, ole girl. Life is good, and you are a happy person. Professor Michael Kurelek said so. For the past several months, Caroline had visited with the psychology professor out at the college. She had developed a healthy respect for the man’s wisdom, not to mention his being an outdoorsman and bow hunter which had done no harm to his strong, athletic physique.
Glancing around the lounge, the sight of former crimson hat members reminded Caroline that it was ladies night. Mentally, she complimented the owner of the lounge. Thursday nights were always crowded. The members of the Junior Service League as well as those from other Magnolia Bluff clubs liked to bring their husbands or significant others to LouEllen’s on Thursdays. Heaven forbid if their husbands ever darkened LouEllen’s Lounge without them. The good, God-fearing Sunday school teachers didn’t trust their spouses without them when LouEllen was in the room.
It was not a surprise to see Magnolia Nadine sitting with Terresa Brown and Pauline Tidwell. Her husband was never home, so if Ms. Nadine wanted to imbibe in a quiet, upscale establishment, she had to do so alone or go with a friend from one of the women’s groups to which she belonged.
Nor was it a surprise to see raven-haired Terresa Brown who was one of the town’s mysteries. Caroline liked the widowed and rich Terresa and ignored the rumors about how her husband died in an airplane crash on his way to the resort he had developed in Mexico. It was rumored that he left her a multi-million dollar estate. While Terresa could be arrogant to others, she was always friendly to Caroline who couldn’t help wondering why Terresa skipped out of the critique group’s meeting. She had always been devoted to the group and had missed only one session which occurred the week of her husband’s death.
Pauline Tidwell sat beside her.
Hmm, Caroline thought, I didn’t know Pauline was a member of the Junior Service League. She needed to rush over here to meet with Magnolia and our truant member Terresa, who hopefully is giving her fifty ways to be rid of an abusive husband.
Caroline waved at the ladies and searched for Thurgood and LouEllen. She recognized them sitting in the far corner of the bar. Thurgood waved to her. He walked over to her and offered his hand. “Let’s dance our way back to the table.”
Before Caroline could react, he pulled her into his arms and expertly maneuvered their return to pass by the table where Magnolia Nadine and the other ladies of the Magnolia Bluff Junior Service League sat.
“You just couldn’t resist it, could you?” Caroline said, laughing.
Thurgood chuckled. “Uh, no,” he said, making a sweeping move as he deposited Caroline in a chair with her back toward the dropped jaws of the women who had wistfully watched the most mysterious and handsome man in Magnolia Bluff dance with the town’s prim and proper widowed librarian.
Please click HERE to find Dewey Decimal Dilemma on Amazon.