Sulari Gentill’s novel The Woman in the Library (9 hours) is an intriguing mystery-within-a-mystery, performed with a measured sense of menace by voice actor Katherine Littrell.
Winifred Kincaid, an Australian on a scholarship, is at the Boston Public Library when she hears a woman’s scream. Winifred’s life becomes inextricably tied to three other strangers who are present for the discovery of a body. But this crime is actually the plot of a book being written by Hannah, an Australian who exchanges letters with Leo, an American writer who critiques her work and points out cultural idiosyncrasies.
Littrell combines restraint and a modulated pitch to convey Hannah’s characters’ growing uncertainty and fear as they suspect one another of the woman’s murder. Similarly, Littrell’s portrayal of Hannah brings out her anxiety and suspicion about Leo, who is becoming obsessed with Hannah’s novel and starts sending her crime scene photos to inspire her. Many listeners will appreciate Littrell’s accents, which highlight the cultural differences between America and Australia.