After Tina Barr is attacvhed in her apartment, Alex Cooper is called in to help her. As the Assistant District Attorney over New York City's crimes against women unit, she is uniquely qualified to help. But Barr refuses help. Although she was attacked and tied up for several hours, she never saw her attacker's face. Nor was she sexually molested. She claims she doesn't know why someone broke into her apartment.
Cooper, Eddie Chapman, and Mercer Wallace follow up. Barr had been working at the New York Public Library before going freelance. She's a librarian with an expertise in restoration of old, valuable books. Recently she had been working with the Hunt collection. The Hunt family own half of the real estate in Manhattan and are very wealthy. Jasper Hunt collects some of the rarest books in the world that are priceless. Much of his collection has been donated to the Library, but not all. Now he is dying and his children are fighting over the collection - and everything else.
The next day another woman's body is found in Barr's apartment. There's a rare book covered in precious jewels under the body. This is yet another link to the Library and the Hunt collection. When Barr's body is found the following day, Cooper and her friends learn more about the world of rare books and maps. In the search, can they find out why two women were murdered, and why?
Linda Fairstein has been using her mysteries set in New York City to highlight historic aspects of the city. Lethal Legacy is a fascinating look into the New York City Library, the legacies it contains, and the world of unique books. Because they are investigating the upper, wealthy realms of collectors, rare maps are also involved. Collectors are a funny bunch. People who collect old books don't care much about other things like maps. People who collect maps usually don't get excited about collections of words even if exquisitely bound.
Fairstein shows the importance of the Library's conservatory efforts. Lethal Legacy also gives a look at the problems with the conservatory and the donations they are given. They have many donations they can't display or properly protect. As a bibliophile I was fascinated by this glimpse of the preservation of unbelievable volumes that still exist.
The mystery is good too. If something is unique and priceless it's going to be fought over. Book collectors can be a cut throat as any thief after a big score. Lethal Legacy also gets into family squabbles and inheritance fights. It is a well done suspense that keeps the reader guessing.
Notice: Non-graphic violence
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