Peninsula Community Library - Cozy November Murder Mystery | Jane Boursaw Photo
Peninsula Community Library's Cozy November Murder Mystery | Jane Boursaw Photo
Feel free to share this post...

Welcome to Part Four of Peninsula Community Library’s cozy November WHODUNIT!

In this four-part installment series that’s just for fun, your goal is to answer several questions by month’s end. You should submit your answers all at once at the end by November 30 via email to Library Director Vicki Shurly at [email protected]

Old Mission Gazette is Reader Supported.
Click Here to Keep the Gazette Going.

Everyone with the correct answers will be entered into a drawing for a basket of goodies! In solving the questions, you can use the internet, your knowledge of Peninsula Community Library (PCL), or whatever comes to mind! Please note that due to recent Covid-19 restrictions, PCL is currently closed for inside service, but staff is happy to help you curbside.

To refresh your memory, read:

  • Part One: The Weapon – click here
  • Part Two: The Crime Scene – click here
  • Part Three: The Victim – click here

On to Part Four – the final installment – below!

Part 4 – The Murderer

The deputy told me that these things take time. Jane Boursaw, editor and ace reporter with the Old Mission Gazette, did a great write-up, as usual:

Library Murder Shocks Director, Investigation Targets Staff
By Jane Louise Boursaw, Old Mission Gazette

When Peninsula Community Library Director Vicki Shurly stayed late last night to catch up on paperwork, she never expected to find a dead body in the stacks. But that’s exactly what happened as a severe hail storm blew across the Old Mission Peninsula.

“I heard a noise and figured it must be a mouse,” she said tearfully. “Perhaps a little creature who ventured in from Bewitched Farm next door to get out of the storm.”

But when Shurly went to check out the noise in the darkened library – the building lights were not working, but her computer screen still glowed brightly – she discovered a gruesome sight. The horrified library director watched helplessly as a member of her staff took her last breath.

The woman, whose name is being withheld pending notification to her family, lay strewn on the floor in a pool of blood. She reached up to squeeze Shurly’s hand before sinking back to the floor and dying. A shocked Shurly said she noticed a book on the floor near the body – “All Our Yesterdays,” by Traverse City author Larry Wakefield.

“I guess her yesterdays are all she has now,” said Shurly, her voice shaking. “I’m still trying to process what happened here. To think that just a year ago we were celebrating the opening of this amazing new library and now…”

The deputy sheriff who patrols the Old Mission Peninsula responded to Shurly’s 911 call and spent the night investigating the crime scene. First responders from the Peninsula Township Fire Department and the local CSI unit were also on scene.

The deputy said they are officially calling it a homicide. “We are in the process of questioning library staff and waiting on a report from forensics,” he said, adding that staff alibis and possible accomplices are also being investigated. “That’s all we can say at this point.”

For Shurly, that adds an extra layer of heartache. “We’re like family here at PCL,” she said. “I just can’t imagine who would ever want to hurt her. Or why…”

Stay tuned to Old Mission Gazette, and we’ll update the story with more details as we have them.

The funeral had happened. Sad event with all the staff following the hearse pulled by far too many of the victim’s favorite critter. Of course, we stayed six feet apart, dutifully wearing our masks as we hiked the three miles from the library to the Peninsula Township Cemetery.

Afterward, we all headed back to the library for a little wake – wine and some whitefish dip from the Boathouse Restaurant. Mary pointed out that the victim loved wine and hated fish. Oh well! Nothing is perfect!

She would have been over the top happy to know that we spied Carter Oosterhouse at the back. She was a huge fan of his. When the library was homeless for a bit just before the new building opened, the Oosterhouses had allowed us to use their winery’s library room for a staff meeting.

When our late staff member spied him on one of the decks, she wouldn’t let us rest until we asked him to pose in a photo with the librarians. He happily obliged. She would have been over the moon to know he was at the wake!

PCL Staff at Bonobo Winery
In happier times: Carter Oosterhouse with PCL Staff at Bonobo Winery, Summer 2019 | PCL Photo

The deputy came up to me while I was talking to some friends. He had found some books under a table near the victim. Obviously, they were in the wrong place, but there appeared to have been a struggle over them. The author biography in the back noted that the writer was Canadian. Then I saw the author’s name. Hmmm…one of the staff members had something very in common with this author. A handwritten note slipped out of one of the books. It read…

“I really liked her, but there was a fatal grace about her. November is the cruelest month and it just gets to you sometimes. I have spent too many nights reading too much crime fiction and there is the brutal telling of it all. Now all you have to do is bury your dead. Still, life is good.”

Suddenly, I knew WHODUNIT!

Every sentence contained a title of the Canadian author’s books. How typically imaginative of this creative staff member. She was truly a kind soul. Can’t imagine what drove her to it. Had the two been fighting over who got to take home the latest hot novel by the popular author? Too bad. So sad!

Guess the stress of so many years of Dewey and silently singing the alphabet song to shelve books pushed her over the edge. The only conciliation? She would now have a lifetime of uninterrupted cell time to read. And she did LOVE to read! That would be her comfort no matter what.

And we would dedicate the magazine section to our fallen staff member. I looked up at the timbered ceiling in the library and knew that life at PCL would go on. It was one more story for the books.



Now it’s your turn, dear reader, to tell us what you have deduced. You can use the internet, your knowledge of PCL or whatever comes to mind. Unfortunately, you cannot currently enter the library since we have returned to curbside service only due to the surge in the Covid-19 cases.

However, below is the library floor plan in case that helps. We will enter the name of everyone who sends the correct answers into a drawing for some great prizes! Please send your answers in one email by November 30 to [email protected]. Be sure and include your name and contact information.

Here is what you need to tell us:

  • What was the weapon?
  • Where in the library was the victim found?
  • Who was the victim?
  • What is the novel by a local author set on Old Mission and based on a real murder?
  • What subject matter would you find under Dewey’s 364.1523 section?
  • What is the name of the SNL inspired film with Will Ferrell?
  • What is the name of the Canadian author?
  • What are the titles of the Canadian author’s books hidden in the note found?


All will be revealed on December 1! Happy sleuthing!

(Editor’s Note: We will reveal the answers – and subsequent winner – here on Old Mission Gazette. -jb)

Peninsula Community Library Cozy November Murder Mystery; Library Floor Plan | PCL Photo
Peninsula Community Library Cozy November Murder Mystery; Library Floor Plan | PCL Photo

A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper.

Because Old Mission Gazette is a "Reader Supported Newspaper" -- meaning it exists because of your financial support -- I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks our way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. In a time when local news is becoming a thing of the past, supporting an independent community newspaper is more important now than ever.

To keep the Gazette going, click here to make a donation. Thank you so much for your support. -jb

Bay View Insurance of Traverse City Michigan


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here
Please enter an e-mail address

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.