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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

A Cryptic Clue

Series: A Hunter and Clewe Mystery #1

Narrator: Carrington MacDuffie

ISBN: 9781666637175

Publisher: Dreamscape Media

Crooked Lane Books

Publication Date: 07/11/2023

8 Hours, 32 Minutes

Format: Audiobook

My Rating: 4 Stars (ARC)

Sixty-year-old Jane Hunter, forced into early retirement from her job as a university librarian, is seeking a new challenge to keep her spirits up and supplement her meager pension. But as she’s about to discover, a retiree’s life can bring new thrills—and new dangers.

Cameron “Cam” Clewe, an eccentric 33-year-old collector, is also seeking something—an archivist to inventory his ever-expanding compendium of rare books and artifacts. Jane’s thrilled to be hired on by Cam and to uncover the secrets of his latest acquisition, a trove of items related to classic mystery and detective authors. But Jane’s delight is upended when a body is discovered in Cam’s library. The victim, heir to a pharmaceutical fortune, was the last in line of Cam’s failed romances—and now he’s suspect number one.

Cam vows to use his intelligence and deductive skills to clear his name—but with a slight case of agoraphobia, rampant anxiety, and limited social skills, he’ll need some help. It comes down to Jane to exonerate her new boss—but is he truly innocent?

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My Review

Victoria Gilbert, author of the popular Blue Ridge Library Mysteries, delivers the first in a new series, A CRYPTIC CLUE (A Hunter and Clewe Mystery #1)—A retired librarian finds a new literary position and gets caught up in a murder case, getting more than she bargained for in this cozy new mystery series.

A Glamorous Estate

Family Secrets

Hidden Crimes

A Wealthy Genius

A Puzzling Murder

A Slew of Prospects

Jane Hunter, age 60, is forced into early retirement from her position as a university librarian. She needs another job to supplement her retirement pension. She is delighted when she finds an archivist position to inventory rare books and artifacts.

Cameron "Cam" Clewe is a wealthy young eccentric 33-year-old collector. He rarely leaves the mansion, rich, handsome, agoraphobic and socially awkward. He loves classic mystery and detective authors. Due to his lack of emotional and social skills, he is not good at relationships with women.

There is plenty to keep Jane busy, and she is thrilled to work at the prestigious manor. But Cam has a lot of rules and is very eccentric. Also, not only has he collected many first editions of the Golden Age but has letters and clippings from newspapers and magazines of the books and writers.

Barely into the job, Jane discovers a body in Cam's library the day after the elegant fundraising event held at his home the previous evening. The victim, Ashley Allen, is an heir to a pharmaceutical fortune. She was the victim of Cam's latest failed romance and was last seen arguing with him. Now he is the number one suspect.

Cam is innovative and wants his name cleared, but he needs help and chooses Jane. Cam recruits Jane and Lauren (his personal assistant) charged with investigating Ashley's past. She has a lot of enemies. Jane is now an amateur detective/sleuth, along with her other duties. He will pay her so she is on board.

However, is he innocent? There is a list of suspects and motives.

Hunter & Clewe are an unlikely pair; however, they complement one another, each with their own set of skills. A delightful new series with relatable characters, ideal for book lovers, with an array of classic books, literary references, humor, and a cozy murder mystery. My first book by the NC author, and I look forward to the next in the Hunter and Clewe Mystery series.

As a NC native, I enjoyed the Winston-Salem, North Carolina mentions since I lived there for years and my grown sons currently reside there. I enjoyed reading about the author from the Blue Ridge Mountains.

If you enjoy entertaining cozy mysteries with a reclusive millionaire and a witty retired sidekick, A CRYPTIC CLUE is for you!

AUDIOBOOK: I listened to the audio version narrated by Carrington MacDuffie for an engaging performance.

Thanks to Dreamscape Media for the author intro and a gifted ALC via NetGalley. All opinions expressed here are my own.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

Pub Date: July 11, 2023

My Rating: 4 Stars


“A booklover’s delight, A Cryptic Clue captivated me from the start. Credible characters, an absorbing mystery and fine writing make this a novel to put straight on your wants list.”

—Peter Lovesey, award winning author of the Peter Diamond series

“The care taken in crafting the scenes, in describing the world, and in building the relationships between the characters, is impressive. While remaining inviting and fast-paced, A Cryptic Clue manages to offer the same tone as the classic mysteries it is clearly built up. This is a modern example of the golden age mystery tradition done right.”

– Odin Halverson for The Strand Magazine

“A successful series sure to delight traditional cozy readers for years to come.”

—First Clue

“A Cryptic Clue brings Golden Age style detectives into the twenty-first century with a manor house, a reclusive millionaire, a body in the library, and a gaggle of suspects. Agatha Christie has some stiff competition in this new traditional mystery series by Victoria Gilbert. Move over, Miss Marple—make way for Hunter and Clewe!”

—Joyce Tremel, author of The Brewing Trouble Mysteries

“A charming new series from the always-entertaining Victoria Gilbert! Librarian Jane Hunter is a force to be reckoned with, and I can’t wait to see what mysteries she and her enigmatic boss Cameron Clewe investigate in the future.”

—Gigi Pandian, USA Today bestselling author of the Secret Staircase Mysteries

“When Jane Hunter, sixty-year-old former university librarian turned archivist starts a new job working for thirty-something Cameron Clewe, who is as agoraphobic and socially awkward as he is rich and handsome, she expects to find an interesting collection waiting to be cataloged. Instead she finds a body in the library. The victim is Cam’s ex-girlfriend, which puts her new employer at the top of the suspect list. Having little faith that the police will look farther afield, Jane and Cam join forces to find the killer. With an interesting new crime fighting duo, a nice supporting cast and wide suspect pool, this well-paced and well-plotted mystery is sure to entertain.”

—M.E. Hilliard, author of the Greer Hogan Mystery series

About the Author

Victoria Gilbert, raised in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, turned her early obsession with reading into a dual career as an author and librarian. She writes both traditional and cozy mysteries. She’s also written fantasy and science fiction.

Victoria has worked as a reference librarian, research librarian, and library director. When not writing or reading, she likes to spend her time watching films or TV, gardening, or traveling. She loves animals, chocolate, and all the arts.

Victoria is represented by Frances Black of Literary Counsel, NY, NY, and is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers.







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