Death Checked out by Leah Dobrinska – Character Interview + Giveaway

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Death Checked Out: A Larkspur Library Mystery
by Leah Dobrinska

About Death Checked Out

Death Checked Out: A Larkspur Library Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Level Best Books (December 6, 2022)
Number of Pages ~300
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0BHJJ1QRT

She’s used to checking out books. A death? Not so much.


Greta Plank, resident librarian in the small, lakeside town of Larkspur, Wisconsin, prefers her rose-tinted glasses extra rosy, thank you very much. Ever since a family tragedy landed her in Larkspur, she’s kept a happy-or-bust outlook. But Greta’s cheery resolve takes a hit when she finds the town recluse dead at the base of the stairs leading from his deck to the lake. What she assumes is a terrible accident Greta soon learns is something more sinister, and to make matters worse, new-to-town Detective Mark McHenry cites her as not only his primary source for the case, but his top suspect.


To clear her name and return to life as she knew it before the murder, Greta decides to do some clue cataloging of her own. After all, she’s got her master’s degree in library science with an emphasis in research methodology…how hard could a criminal investigation be? With the help of her fellow librarians and her lawyer mom, Greta begins checking out the pages of the murder, uncovering details about the recluse’s rare book collection and Larkspur’s real estate market as she tries to understand why anyone would have authored his death.


But with friends and neighbors stacking up as both victims and suspects, Greta must cross-reference the facts and put a hold on her idyllic worldview if she wants to get the full story without paying the fine of her life.

Character Interview – Allison

Death Checked Out by Leah Dobrinska

Hi, y’all! Welcome to Mugs & Hugs. My name is Allison and I am the owner and operator of the cutest café in Larkspur, Wisconsin. I serve all the residents and vacationers in this quaint, lakeside town.

I’m so glad you’re here. Pick your poison. I’ve got coffee, tea, specialty drinks, and the locals swear by my white chocolate peppermint cookies this time of year. One of those is sure to put a smile on your face.

Let’s sit a minute and get to know each other, shall we?

You’re so sweet to compliment me on my business. Yes, I designed and decorated the dining room myself. Everything from the white bead board on the walls to the cheery yellow paint and fresh plants is meant to make people feel happy and at home. In fact, that’s the vibe this whole community gives off—welcoming and pleasant.

At least we used to. Now we’ve got this murder investigation casting a pall over all of us. I can hardly stand it.

The worst part about it all, well, aside from the untimely death of one of Larkspur’s own, is that Greta Plank, the recently appointed director of Larkspur Library, has been thrust into the center of the investigation. She found the body, and she’s also the only one who had managed to break through the victim’s cantankerous personality and make a friend of him. I don’t know why being nice landed her in the new-to-town detective’s hot seat, but here we are.

Anyway, I’m not going to stand for it. Even though I’ve been teasing her about the way that very same new-to-town detective looks at her (there’s some serious unspoken tension of the romantic variety between the two of them, if you ask me), I like Greta too much to let her name be dragged through the mud, and I know she would never hurt her friend. I’ve promised to do whatever I can to help her figure out what really happened.

You might be wondering what little old me can do to help with an off-the-books murder investigation. Well. I’ll have you know that nothing goes on in this town without me knowing about it. Anyone who’s anyone passes through my front door. When you need a place to wind down after a long day with your coworkers, you come to Mugs & Hugs. When you’re having a business meeting or a first date in Larkspur, you come to Mugs & Hugs. When everything seems to be going wrong (or right!), you come to Mugs & Hugs to drown your sorrows (or celebrate your victories!).

I take care of people, make sure they’re comfortable and caffeinated. You see that coffee you’re drinking? It may as well be truth serum. If someone happens to spill some of their secrets to me over one of my delectable pastries, so be it!

I’m a café owner, yes. But I’m wickedly observant, quick on my feet, and devoted to the people I care about.

So you best believe I will fill Greta in on the conversation (read: argument) I overheard just before you got here between Ed Kennedy, owner of Kennedy’s Cozy Cottages, a resort—and goldmine—on the far side of the lake, and a mystery woman who I’ve never seen before.

Something smells fishy, and I’m not talking about Larkspur Lake.

I’ve got to get back behind the counter, but I’m so glad you stopped by. Come again whenever you’re in the Northwoods. I’ll have a steaming cup of coffee ready for you, and we can swap stories.

I’m sure the police will have this whole mystery figured out in no time…and if they don’t, Greta certainly will.

Bye for now!

About Leah Dobrinska

Leah Dobrinska is the author of the Larkspur Library Mysteries, a cozy mystery series set in the Wisconsin Northwoods, and the Mapleton novels, a series of standalone small town romances. She earned her degree in English Literature from UW-Madison and has since worked as a freelance writer, editor, and content marketer. As a kid, she hoped to grow up to be either Nancy Drew or Elizabeth Bennet. Now, she fulfills that dream by writing mysteries and love stories. Death Checked Out is her debut cozy mystery.

A sucker for a good sentence, a happy ending, and the smell of books—both old and new—Leah lives out her very own happily ever after in a small Wisconsin town with her husband and their gaggle of kids. When she’s not writing, handing out snacks, or visiting local parks, Leah enjoys reading and running. Find out more about Leah, join her newsletter community, and connect with her through her website,

Author Links



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Purchase Links – Amazon – B&N

Death Checked Out Purchase link (Barnes & Noble): Coming soon!


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