Sun, Sand, Surf, Murder

Years ago, my husband and I lived in North Carolina and we took a trip to the Outer Banks. We went in the off season and I immediately fell in love. The coast was different from any I had ever visited, beautiful and wild in own unique way. The dunes were fascinating and the almost constant wind was a refreshing change for me, having grown up going to the gulf coast of Florida for most of my vacations.

Photo: Getty Images/wbritten

We went back several times, always closer to the off season as I like it best when it is a more solitary place. My husband took hang gliding lessons, although it was not a sport he decided to pursue. Later, when our children had reached their teen years, we went back for a family vacation and it was just as magical, although a different type of magic as I watched them ride their boogie boards in the shallow surf. It was such a treat to share this coast and this experience with them.

Fast forward to all these years later, I’m retired, the children are gone, and I live too far away to physically visit the Outer Banks without making complex vacation plans. That’s when I’m so delighted to find books that take me places, like Read and Buried by Eva Gates. There’s just enough Outer Banks activity my mind can fill in the rest and once again, I’m walking the sands and feeling the wind on my face. Here’s my review of the book, and I will add that the one’s I’ve read in the series have all taken place on the Outer Banks, which is a major plus for me.


The sixth book in Eva Gates Lighthouse Library Mystery series is again set on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. This novel opens with work being done to shore up the historic library and a coordinating children’s construction zone where the young library guests can practice their digging skills and pretend to be part of the construction project. Lucy, the protagonist of this series is in the library when the construction foreman comes in to announce all the library staff needs to follow him outside. As it turns out, all the digging has uncovered a small tin box which contains a diary another sheet of nonsensical writing, and a map. Speculation abounds as to whether or not it is a treasure map or something else relating back to the “War Between the States”.
The library staff and uninvited members of historical society have crowded into the director’s office, all intent on examining the contents of the box. As soon as the director sees the document and the lack of any buried treasure, she announces the book will be locked until their rare documents specialist can examine it, as she is the only one who is trained in handling old documents without destroying them.
Later that night, Lucy discovers someone has broken into the lighthouse and one of the people who were in the office earlier in the day is dead, clearly murdered. Lucy vows this time she is not going to get involved in the search for the killer and is going to focus her efforts on trying to break the code that will reveal the message from the author of the boxes contents. As expected, circumstances and her natural inclination toward solving puzzles keeps pulling Lucy back into the investigation.
There are some regular secondary characters including Louise Jane, a local storyteller and sometimes Lucy rival for the library position, Conner, the mayor and Lucy’s boyfriend, Sam Watson, the chief investigator for the police department as well as the library director, the rare documents specialist, and some town residents who appear briefly, but help round out the reader’s knowledge of the community. 
Throughout the book there are two mysteries, first is who is the murderer and second is what is the significance of the coded message found in the box. The two investigations intertwine nicely and help to pull the reader through the book at a steady pace. Both investigations reach a satisfying conclusion. There were both reasonable clues and some good red herrings that help keep the reader on their toes. After the mysteries are solved, there is a nice, short wrap-up that helps tie off any loose threads.
The book works well as a stand-alone, however if the reader plans on reading the series, there are some secondary storylines that build as the books develop and it might be more enjoyable to read the series from the beginning. This series is a good cozy series, with some interesting glimpses of life on the wild coast of the Outer Banks which also adds to the book itself. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys cozy mysteries and who might enjoy a virtual trip to the coast. My thanks to Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for providing me an Advanced Digital Read copy in exchange for an unbiased review.


I’m so glad to have found a series that allows me to visit the Outer Banks whenever I’m wanting some sun, sand, and breeze. If you are wanting to travel and find you can’t get away at the moment, maybe books will do the same for you. I recommend this series for anyone wanting a quick trip to the Outer Banks and a good mystery to round out the visit. Happy Reading.