The Stolen Blueby Judith Van Gieson
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Claire Reynier is thrilled when her old friend Burke Lovell donates his collection of valuable books to the university where she works as a librarian. But the morning after she arrives at his ranch in the remote region known as "the Blue" to collect the bequest, Burke is found dead. His daughter Mariah--recently discovered--admits to helping the ailing man commit suicide. Mariah has also been named his principal heir, much to the shock of his other children. Upon Claire's return to work, a box of valuable titles from Burke's collection is stolen, and Claire realizes that the theft may hold clues to a much more sinister mystery…
Meet the Author
Judith Van Gieson is the author of a children’s book, a collection of poetry and short stories, and thirteen mystery novels. Her first mystery series features female Albuquerque attorney/sleuth Neil Hamel, with rights sold around the world. The Lies That Bind was a finalist for the Shamus Award for best detective novel. Her second acclaimed series stars librarian Claire Reynier. Among other awards and accolades Van Gieson’s work has received,The Stolen Blue was a finalist for the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award. Judith lives in Albuquerque’s North Valley and is currently working on a travel memoir.
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I was initially taken by this book from reading the cover. The story was so much more entertaining than I thought. I am not usually into mysteries, but Van Giesen does such a nice job of telling a story full of southwestern flavor and making you feel like you are there. The character development might not be up to some people's standards but I enjoyed the men and women that came from her creative mind. Seems as if some were 'under' developed, while others were over embellished. All in all it was a good read and worthy of a look.
Librarian Claire Reynier heads up the Collection Department for Southwest research at the University of New Mexico. Her children are gown and left the nest and her divorce is final from her philandering spouse. Claire feels free not having to answer to anyone. Claire accepts an invitation from her former mentor Burke Lowell to come to his ranch alongside the Blue River to pick up his valuable collection that he is donating to the university. Claire witnesses Burke sign his will that leaves the ranch to Mariah Geraty, whom he recognizes as his long lost daughter. While Claire goes to sleep, an ailing Burke goes outside in the freezing weather to die. As the executor of Burke¿s will, Claire fights with his other children to defend what he wanted done. They feel Mariah coerced their father onto his action and refuse to believe that she is his child. Someone steals one of the books from Burke¿s collection. Claire soon realizes that book, 'The History of the Blue', has also been filched from every other known location in the area. Claire feels the will and the thefts connect so she begins investigating, not realizing the danger that will soon surface. STOLEN BLUE is a beguiling mystery filled with fascinating and likable characters. Judith Van Gieson has created an admirable protagonist who at the crossroads of her life thrives on her new independence. The audience will want to know what happens to Claire in future installments of this charming series. Readers will obtain a genuine feel for the Southwest, especially the beauty of the land and the strength of the people who live there. Ms. Van Gieson proves she is a powerful storyteller with this interesting mystery. Harriet Klausner