In 1913, Jack and Laura Lyons and their children Pearl and Harry live at the New York Public Library. Jack is the library’s superintendent, and the library provided an apartment in the building for the family. Laura is studying journalism at Columbia while raising her family. (Eventually Laura becomes a leading feminist essayist of her time.) Sadly, a rare first edition book has been stolen from the library. In the early 20th century the main branch was for research only. No items were allowed for check out. The disappearance of a rare title was a disastrous event, and Jack is considered the prime suspect in the theft.
80 years later, Pearl’s granddaughter, Sadie, works as curator of the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library. Again, rare books are disappearing and Sadie is a suspect in the thefts. Thanks to Grandma Pearl eighty years after the initial theft, that old mystery is solved along with the current one. Neither Jack, decades earlier, or Sadie are guilty.
It’s interesting to note that when the main library and its branches were built over a century ago, the buildings were heated by coal. Each had a custodian who lived on the premises in an apartment often with his family to keep the fires burning. In the novel Jack Lyons was the superintendent, not a custodian.
A strong historical novel for book lovers!