The Habit of Silence by Ann Cleves
Source: Best Eaten Cold and Other Stories
Story Number: 107
The Literary and Philosophical Society Library is the setting for this murder mystery which features the author’s series detective Vera Stanhope. Gilbert Wood, who is researching and writing a book on the history of the place, is found dead in the Silence Room – death due to a blow on the head by a heavy book! The closed group of suspects is restricted to the librarian, library assistant, one of the trustees and a poet who found the body.
All of them saw Gilbert going down to the Silence Room but no one heard anything as the person who was with Gilbert wouldn’t obviously talk or make any noise because of the very nature of the habit of keeping silent in that particular room. With no clues forthcoming from any of the witnesses, Vera has to dig deep into her psyche and recall upon the trauma which she herself had faced when she was just twelve to solve this murder and identify the guilty party!