One Book in the Grave, the latest best seller in Kate Carlisle’s Bibliophile mystery series, spins off the restoration of one of my favorite fairy tales, Beauty and the Beast. But, who actually is the beauty, and who is the beast in this intriguing story?
Bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright is always pleased with a commission from the Covington Library in San Francisco. But, this time, she is reluctant to take on the task, knowing the copy of Beauty and the Beast she’s asked to restore was stolen from a friend. Shortly before Max Adams’ tragic death three years earlier, Brooklyn had given the book to Max and his fiancée, Emily, at their engagement party. Immediately after Max’ death, Emily’s apartment was broken into, and the book was stolen. Brooklyn can’t resist a puzzle, though, and she heads to the book dealer who sold the book to the Covington Library. Once again, Brooklyn is the person who finds a murder victim. The book dealer has been killed, Brooklyn’s tire is slashed, and all the clues point to Max Adams.
It doesn’t take long for Brooklyn to gather allies in her search for answers. Her boyfriend, Derek Stone, of Stone Security, shows up, along with the mysterious, sexy Gabriel (think Ranger in the Stephanie Plum books). And, Brooklyn and SFPD Detective Inspector Janice Lee finally admit to a friendship after Lee calls Brooklyn, “My favorite dead-body magnet.” The search for answers will lead into the past to the Sonoma Institute of the Arts where Max once taught. And, the search takes Brooklyn, Derek and Gabriel to Dharma, the commune where Brooklyn and Max grew up, where they are shocked to learn their assumptions are all wrong.
Carlisle’s mystery is filled with wonderful characters, from Brooklyn and her delightful family, to the sexy men involved in the case. There’s also an interesting assortment of villains, including Brooklyn’s archenemy, Minka LaBoeuf, two controlling faculty members at the art institute, and a group of survivalists. And, Brooklyn is my favorite type of amateur sleuth, one who calls the police, and calls for help, instead of trying to take on a killer on her own.
Oh, and the beauty and the beast? Max and Emily? The pair of suspects from the art institute? In my favorite version of the story, the beast is hunted by the villagers and the villain. And, someone made a point of making Max' life miserable. Once Brooklyn is involved in the case, she's the recipient of unwanted gifts as someone continues to follow and find her. It's up to the readers to put their own spin on the definition of Beauty and the Beast.
Kate Carlisle mixes the book world and eccentric California residents with a little romance and humor in One Book in the Grave. Once you’ve been introduced to Brooklyn Wainwright, her friends and family, you’ll understand why the Bibliophile mysteries continue to attract readers and hit the best seller lists.
Kate Carlisle’s website is www.katecarlisle.com
One Book in the Grave by Kate Carlisle. Obsidian. ©9780451236128 (paperback), 291p.
FTC Full Disclosure – The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.