Whispers In The Reading Room by Shelley Gray is a fabulous end to the Chicago World’s Fair Mystery series. It is a compulsive read that had me hooked from the start. It can be read as a stand-alone as there were just references to previous crimes, and the reader once again meets the two detectives from book two.
Lydia earns her living as a librarian and loves her job. Every day a mysterious man spends a couple of hours in the library reading. At first, neither speak to each other but both are watching the other. Whispers In The Reading Room deals with the theme of escapism. Lydia escapes from the reality of her life with her widowed mother by hiding behind her books. Likewise, Sebastian (the mysterious gentleman) hides behind his books. He wants to escape from his past. Both will be stuck in a void if they cannot face reality.
Lydia’s mother, too, refuses to face reality. She hides from the world, as she no longer has a fortune. Her only hope is that Lydia will marry well, and rescue them both from a life of poverty. Money motivates. Lydia’s mother is not so much concerned with a man’s character, but more with the size of his wallet. A fortune is to be pursued even at the risk of her daughters welfare and happiness.