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Virtual Book Club – October Pick – The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill


Join library staff and fellow book lovers on October 20th from 5:30-6:30 p.m. via Zoom to discuss The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill! Check our events page to register. In this suspenseful novel, a mystery writer is working on her latest book in which four strangers are united by a scream one day in the Boston Public Library. Which one of the four is the murderer? And does author Hannah Tigone’s helpful fan really have good intentions behind his helpful suggestions?  Copies of the book are available from the library through the catalog, Libby (eBook and eAudiobook) and Hoopla (eBook and eAudiobook). You can register for the program at our event page. 

Notable Book Reviews   

In a starred review, Bookpage describes The Woman in the Library as a “smart, engaging novel that blurs genre lines” and will “delight suspense fans looking for something bold and new.” The New York Journal of Books enjoyed the labyrinthian plot of the book, noting that it reads like “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” The mystery-focused book review website Criminal Element agrees, championing the novel as “a delightfully meta-textual examination of writing in the 21st century” and praising its ability to tackle “complex literary issues with both wit and panache.”   

Overview of the Author 

Before becoming an author, Sulari Gentill studied astrophysics and practiced corporate law. She was born in Sri Lanka, learned English in Zambia, and has spent most of her life in Australia, where she currently lives. In addition to our book club pick, she is also the author of many other novels, including her award-winning Roland Synclair Mysteries series.  

Additional Content  

Gentill says that she was inspired to write this mystery novel about strangers bonding through unsettling circumstances after she was evacuated from the 2019-2020 bush fires in Australia to a refugee house, where she lived with three other families. The experience showed her how there could be “a kind of a special bond that was built up by that shared distress.” You can hear Gentill speak more on the genesis of The Woman in the Library in this interview with NPR 

List of Readalike Suggestions 

‘Check out’ these five biblio-centric and library themed readalikes for The Woman in the Library for more murder, mayhem and mystery in the stacks. 

Book cover of The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections by Eva Jurczyk

The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections by Eva Jurczyk, 2022. 

The director of the University of Toronto Library suffers a stroke as he was about to retrieve a rare book from a safe. Liesl Weiss, now interim director, has been called in from her sabbatical to open the safe that should contain the book. But the safe is empty…and now a library staff member has also gone missing. 

This title is available in print from the catalog, as a Libby e-Book and a Hoopla e-Book. 

The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd

The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd, 2022. 

Former New York Public Library cartographer Dr. Nell Young discovers a strange map in her deceased father’s desk. She soon discovers that the map is incredibly valuable and very rare – a mysterious collector has been hunting down and destroying every last one, and killing people in the process. She eventually discovers the maps’ importance and its connection to her own family. 

This title is available in print from the catalog, as a Libby e-Book, and as Libby e-Audio. 

Book cover of The Archivist by Rex Pickett

The Archivist by Rex Pickett, 2021 

After university archivist Nadia Fontaine apparently drowns, Emily Snow is hired to finish the job she started – organizing and processing the papers of Raymond West, a famous Pulitzer Prize winning author. As Emily begins, she realizes that several items have gone missing from the collection. Surreptitiously accessing a restricted digital archive, she discovers intellectually and erotically charged correspondence between Raymond West and the late Nadia Fontaine. 

This title is available in print, as a Hoopla e-Book and as a Hoopla e-Audio. 

Book cover of The Last Equation of Isaac Severy by Nova Jacobs

The Last Equation of Isaac Severy: a Novel in Clues by Nova Jacobs, 2018. 

Receiving a cryptic letter from her famous mathematician grandfather just before his suicide, adopted granddaughter Hazel, the owner of a struggling bookstore in Seattle, is charged with tracking down and protecting a dangerous equation before dangerous enemies can exploit it. 

This title is available in print from the catalog, as a Libby e-Book and as a Libby e-Audio. 

Book cover of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan, 2012. 

Former web designer Clay needs a job. He stumbles into Mr. Penumbra’s bookstore and lands himself a job as the night clerk. The bookstore is an odd place, with its limited selection of books to sell. Yet, just behind the commercial section, the shelves reach high toward the shadowy ceiling, crammed with a staggeringly large collection of books: a lending library for a small, peculiar group of people. 

This title is available in print, as a Libby e-Book and as a Libby e-Audio.

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