Sulari Gentill’s The Woman in the Library

Congratulations to Sourcebooks/Poisoned Pen Press author Sulari Gentill. Her latest novel, The Woman in the Library, is the top pick on the June list for LibraryReads. You can order a copy in hardcover or paperback through the Web Store.

LibraryReads’ website says, “LibraryReads is the monthly nationwide library staff picks list for adult fiction and non-fiction. Our goal is to help connect readers to as many books as possible, while drawing upon the incredible power that public library staff has in helping to build word-of-mouth for new books, and the important role that libraries play in creating audiences for all kinds of authors.

“Rather than picking “the best” of anything, LibraryReads represents collective favorites—the books library staff loved reading and cannot wait to share.”

For June, The Woman in the Library tops the list. Since I wrote the starred review for Library Journal, let me share that review.

 Writer Freddie Kincaid studies the people sharing her table at the Boston Public Library, naming them “Freud Girl,” “Heroic Chin,” and “Handsome Man.” They hear a scream and learn that a woman has been murdered—that’s when Freddie says one of them is a killer. The subsequent story is Freddie’s account of her growing friendship with those three, attacks on two of them, and the growing awareness that one is attacking the others. But Hannah Tignone, a best-selling Australian author, is actually writing the story of Freddie and her new friends. The story within a story alternates Hannah’s writing with letters written to her by a wannabe author, Leo, who suggests changes to Hannah’s plot and characters. Freddie’s account of trying to discover which of her new friends is a killer is an engrossing mystery. At the same time, Hannah’s communication from the FBI allows the reader a glimpse into the life of a writer with a fanatical correspondent.

VERDICT Ned Kelly Award winner Gentill (Crossing the Lines) presents a complex, riveting story within a story. The fictional story of an author writing about another writer with messy, complicated friendships and suspicion is an innovative literary mystery.

Reviewed by Lesa Holstine , May 01, 2022

Here’s the summary of The Woman in the Library.

In every person’s story, there is something to hide…

The ornate reading room at the Boston Public Library is quiet, until the tranquility is shattered by a woman’s terrified scream. Security guards take charge immediately, instructing everyone inside to stay put until the threat is identified and contained. While they wait for the all-clear, four strangers, who’d happened to sit at the same table, pass the time in conversation and friendships are struck. Each has his or her own reasons for being in the reading room that morning—it just happens that one is a murderer.

Award-winning author Sulari Gentill delivers a sharply thrilling read with THE WOMAN IN THE LIBRARY, an unexpectedly twisty literary adventure that examines the complicated nature of friendship and shows us that words can be the most treacherous weapons of all.

After setting out to study astrophysics, graduating in law and then abandoning her legal career to write books, SULARI GENTILL now grows French black truffles on her farm in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains of Australia.

Gentill’s Rowland Sinclair mysteries have won and/or been shortlisted for the Davitt Award and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and her stand-alone metafiction thriller, After She Wrote Him won the Ned Kelly Award for Best Crime Novel in 2018. Her tenth Sinclair novel, A Testament of Character, was shortlisted for the Ned Kelly Best Crime Novel in 2021.