cover image The Woman in the Library

The Woman in the Library

Sulari Gentill. Poisoned Pen, $16.99 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-4642-1587-2

This thrilling excursion into metafiction from Australian author Gentill (Crossing the Lines) wittily examines the writing process itself. Australian mystery writer Winifred “Freddie” Kincaid has come to Boston after receiving a prestigious writers’ fellowship. While she’s seeking inspiration in the Boston Public Library, a woman’s scream breaks the silence. Freddie seizes on this incident as the ideal start for her new opus, which involves “a group of people united by a scream.” Each chapter of Freddie’s book includes a letter written to famous Australian author Hannah Tigone by a dedicated fan, Leo Johnson, a fellow writer in residence who offers to be her beta reader. Hannah is writing the story of Freddie Kincaid, who’s writing the story of the murder in the library. Leo’s emails influence Hannah’s view of her characters and subsequently Freddie’s story. Leo’s emails shift from sycophantic to profoundly disturbing when his novel is rejected by Hannah’s agent. The agent dies a few days later, and murders in the two realities begin to multiply. This elegantly constructed novel is intelligent, funny, and profound. Who could ask for more? Agent: Jill Marr, Sandra Dijkstra Literary. (May)