Karen’s Killer Book Bench: BETTER OFF READ, A Bookmobile Mystery by Nora Page

 読書KAREN’S KILLER BOOK BENCH: Welcome to Karen’s Killer Book Bench where readers can discover talented new authors and take a peek inside their wonderful books. This is not an age-filtered site so all book peeks are PG-13 or better. Come back and visit often. Happy reading!


A Bookmobile Mystery


When her best hope of saving her storm-damaged library is found murdered, senior librarian Cleo Watkins hits the road in her bookmobile in search of justice. 

Septuagenarian librarian Cleo Watkins won’t be shushed when an upstart young mayor threatens to permanently shelve her tiny town’s storm-damaged library. She takes to her bookmobile, Words on Wheels, to collect allies and rally library support throughout Catalpa Springs, Georgia.

However, Cleo soon rolls into trouble. A major benefactor known for his eccentric DIY projects requests all available books on getting away with murder. He’s no Georgia peach, and Cleo wonders if she should worry about his plans. She knows she should when she discovers him bludgeoned and evidence points to her bestfriend, Mary-Rose Garland.

Sure of Mary-Rose’s innocence, Cleo applies her librarian’s sleuthing skills to the case, assisted by friends, family, and the dapper antiquarian bookseller everyone keeps calling her boyfriend. Evidence stacks up, but a killer is overdue to strike again. With lives and her library on the line, Cleo must shift into high gear to close the book on murder in Better Off Read, the charming Bookmobile series debut by Nora Page.


A Bookmobile Mystery


Chapter 1

In all her seventy-five years, Cleo Watkins had never harmed another human being. Not intentionally, and certainly not in anger. Cleo considered herself a proper, well-mannered Southern lady. She’d never harmed a book. Cleo was a librarian.

Now, however, Cleo considered the hardback in her purse. Zen and the Art of School Bus Maintenance had a fine, firm spine. It was compact, perfect for carrying along to appointments . . . and for winging at the man in the plaid purple shorts. Cleo steadied her stance in the overgrown lawn. She rolled her wrist and stretched her elbow. In a younger decade, she’d played South Georgia amateur softball. She bet she still had a good pitch left in her, and there’d be no missing Mayor Jebson “Jeb” Day and his smug, pink cheeks.

Catalpa Springs’ new mayor stood a few yards away, too busy smirking to notice Cleo’s ire. He plucked a dandelion, sun glaring off his prematurely thinning crown. Bermuda shorts revealed more pale leg than Cleo cared to see.

She smoothed her blouse and patted her soft white curls, half-expecting them to be as spiky as her emotions. She turned her mind and gaze to nicer things. The azaleas in the side garden were lovely this spring, flashy magentas against powdery pink crabapples. A cardinal flitted among the blooms. Cleo tried to follow the bird. However, her gaze kept catching on the horrible sight beyond: her beloved library, wounded.

Mayor Day straightened, beheading the dandelion with a flick of his thumb. “Yep,” he said. “Like I was saying, Catalpa Springs has more important needs than a library. I can’t authorize any repairs at present. You understand.”

Cleo most definitely did not understand. She couldn’t comprehend how this man—immature in years and character, not to mention lacking in manners and long pants—could be mayor of her charming town. She didn’t want to understand his words.

“More important?” she said, her drawl lengthened with aghast. “The Catalpa Springs Library is an institution. A historic landmark. A community treasure.” She waved toward the elegant folk Victorian structure, sorrowfully shrouded under blue tarps and wrapped in caution tape.

Several weeks ago a violent storm had brought down the great live oak that had stood beside the library for over a century. The trunk shattered the graceful curved porch. Branches pierced the roof, inviting in rain, hail, and an unhappy possum. The stately wood-paneled reading room suffered a soaking, as did many of its reference materials, including irreplaceable genealogies and local archives.

Cleo had wept at the damage. She could shed a tear now, but reminded herself again of important mercies. The oak had waited until after hours to give up its ghost. No patrons or employees had been present. The possum survived unharmed, as did the bulk of the collection. Only the roof needed fixing. And some soggy reference materials. And the porch and steps and entire east wing and staff room and possibly the electric and floors . . . and, most of all, their mayor’s attitude.

Cleo stood to her full five foot three. “We must repair our library. Why, without a library, what are we?”

Meet Author Nora Page…

Nora Page enjoys rainy weather, the perfect biscuit, and quiet evenings in with her husband and cat. You can often find her in the company of books.


Links to Nora’s website, blog, books, etc.

Better Off Read by Nora Page, published by Crooked Lane Books (May 8, 2018), http://www.crookedlanebooks.com/titles/better-off-read/

Please stop by and visit Nora at her website, https://www.novelmystery.com/, or on Facebook and Instagram: https://www.facebook.com/NoraPageAuthor/ and https://www.instagram.com/norapageauthor/

Better Off Read is available for order from your favorite local bookstore or online at

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Nora-Page/e/B077YNCMFK/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/better-off-read-nora-page/1127120532?ean=9781683316435

Indiebound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781683316435


**SPECIAL GIVEAWAY: Nora is giving away a hardback copy (U.S. Only) of BETTER OFF READ to one person who comments on her **Author Peek** Interview or Karen’s Killer Book Bench blogs.

Thanks, Nora, for sharing your book with us!

Don’t miss the chance to read this book!

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20 Responses to Karen’s Killer Book Bench: BETTER OFF READ, A Bookmobile Mystery by Nora Page

  1. Lori H says:

    Rainey days are wonderful days to read a great book! I really enjoyed the blurb and I’m looking forward to reading this author’s books 😊

  2. Debbie Price says:

    A bookmobile would be so much fun! I hope this is a long running series!

  3. This sounds like such a great book, Nora. Thanks for posting and thanks for sharing this new mystery with us, Karen! Can’t wait to read it.

  4. Karen Docter says:

    Good morning, Nora, and welcome to Karen’s Killer Book Bench. I really enjoyed your excerpt. Such vivid imagery! Thanks for sharing your new release with us today!

  5. Mary Lou Wylie says:

    I’m looking forward to reading the book–I have fond memories of the Bookmobile.

    • Nora Page says:

      Thanks, Mary Lou! How lovely to have bookmobile memories. I spent lots of time at my small-town library as a kid, but we didn’t have a bookmobile.

  6. Love the excerpt and this series…thanks Karen and Nora!

  7. Jane B. says:

    I am enjoying your wonderful book, Nora! Love the artwork on the cover, too.

  8. bn100 says:

    interesting blurb

  9. Helen Drake says:

    I definitely want to read this book, Nora. I like the premise and the use of a bookmobile. I also enjoy reading about more mature women who solve mysteries like Miss Marple. Just from your excerpt, I’m ready to do serious amage to the upstart mayor!

  10. Eileen AW says:

    I remember visiting the bookmobile when I was a kid. Especially in the summer.

    This book sounds wonderful and I’m looking forward to reading it. I do love reading cozy mysteries. Thanks so much for joining us and sharing your book.

    • Nora Page says:

      Thanks, Eileen. I’m envious of your summer bookmobile memories. My small town never had one, but I’m sure I would have loved it. Thanks for visiting and commenting!

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