A Murder that Looks Back into History in “Murder in the Museum”

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In Murder in the Museum by Karen Shughart, the police chief of the small town Lighthouse Cove, New York, gets a call from a man who serves on the board of the local history museum. Someone has broken into the museum and ransacked it, but even worse, the purse and coat of Emily Bradford sit on the coat rack, but there is no sign of Emily. Could the thieves have killed her when they broke into the museum? Then, just as the police chief is starting off, his second-in-command rushes out. She received another phone call from Edmund deCleryk, the retired police chief of Lighthouse Cove and a former Navy SEAL, that he has found the body of Emily at the bottom of a bluff where the ocean is getting close to covering the body. The resulting case, where deCleryk ends up serving as a paid consultant, leads nowhere. But deCleryk is determined not to let the case drop altogether.

Murder in the Museum has interesting details in the plot, but the book slows down as it progresses. I was disappointed that it didn’t maintain its drama, let alone build it up as good mysteries do. The basic premise was promising, and I did like a point that came towards the end of the book, but I felt that the author could have made much more of the interesting features from history. However, the solution of the mystery did provide a surprise and an interesting angle.

I did like some of the characters, but others were less easy to connect to, in either a positive or negative way. Ed DeCleryk and his wife, Annie, are sympathetic people whom we appreciate and like. But not many others really spoke to me. I wonder, however, if I might have connected to other characters if someone else was narrating.

John diLeonardo performs the audio edition of this book. Unfortunately, I was disappointed in the quality of the narration. Many of the voices used for different characters come across as annoying or even grating. Further, the pacing of sentences seemed unnatural, with unusual extra pauses between words. I tried playing the book at a faster speed, but the words themselves were read at a normal pace, so listening at a faster pace didn’t work well either. The quality of the book and high recommendations from friends with similar reading tastes kept me listening to the book, but I did not like the performance.

I found myself enjoying Murder in the Museum, but I suspect I would have much preferred it with a different narrator with whom I connected better. The plot had its good points, but I would have liked more development throughout, especially of the historical details. Though I didn’t connect strongly with the book, I think that was largely an issue with the narration, so I give the book four stars.

To purchase this book for yourself, click here on Amazon.

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Murder in the Museum
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