Thursday, February 21, 2019

Book Review: Permanently Booked by Lisa Q. Mathews (Ladies Smythe and Westin #2)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Strong mystery, fun characters
Cons: A couple minor issues.  Note I said minor
The Bottom Line:
Corpse in library
Dorothy, Summer back on case
Second book is fun

Who Help the Librarian Check out Permanently?

Last year, I had the pleasure of meeting the mismatched Ladies Smythe and Westin.  Sadly, it took me this long to get a chance to read their second adventure, but I’m glad I finally made the time since I enjoyed being Permanently Booked.

This series features Dorothy Westin and Summer Smythe.  They live in a senior only facility located in Florida.  While Dorothy belongs there, Summer has wormed her way into taking over her grandmother’s unit even though she is several decades younger than the minimum age.  The two are very different, but that worked well when they encounter a dead body in the first book, and it works just as well for them here.

This time, it’s a trip to the Hibiscus Pointe library that brings them into contact with a dead body.  Summer has recently been cleaning out the books in her grandmother’s condo, and they are taking boxes of books down to be donated.  However, when they find the room dark, they begin to investigate.  That’s when they find the body of Lorella, the librarian, on the floor between the stacks, a heavy bookend lying nearby.

Lorella has recently been working to restart a book discussion group for the residence of Hibiscus Pointe.  Dorothy agrees to take it over, certain that the killer might be hiding in the group.  Summer is not much of a reader, but she is certain she already has a line on the killer based on an odd encounter they had before they found Lorella.  Is she right?  Or does the book group hold the key to finding Lorella’s killer?

Naturally, as the book progresses, Dorothy and Summer begin to find other suspects.  These suspects lead us on a merry chase as this duo work to uncover motives and clues.  Of course, all those clues make sense when they’ve pieced things together at the end, and the climax is a lot of fun.  I did think one or two minor things were left open, but the majority of things were wrapped up.

One reason this series is so much fun is the over the top characters.  Dorothy is fairly grounded, but Summer is a young twenty-something that hasn’t quite grown into being a grown up yet.  Still, she’s normal compared to some of the other people we meet in these pages, both series regulars and suspects.  Yet they work in this book to keep us engaged and guessing just who could have done it.

Summer and Dorothy really are co-leads in the book, we even spend equal time in their limited third person points of view.  Don’t worry, it’s always clear when we are switching points of view.  I enjoyed this since it allowed both of the characters to drive the investigation at various times.  We didn’t see quite the depth to them here that we did in the first book, but again, that’s a minor issue.

Obviously, I tend to gravitate to cozies that are fun, and Permanently Booked definitely fits that bill.  If you are looking for a light mystery, be sure to check this series out.


  1. This does sound fun and I've really been enjoying the JC Eaton series that involves a retirement community. I'm adding this to my TBR.

  2. Thanks so much for booking some of your valuable reading time with Summer and Dorothy, Mark! Greatly appreciate the review.