The Lies That Bind (Bibliophile)
by Kate Carlisle
Edited by Ellen Edwards
Review by Mel Jacob
Signet Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451231697
Date: 02 November 2010 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
The setup for Kate Carlisle's latest Bibliophile Mystery, The Lies that Bind is almost a repeat of Penny Warner's How to Host a Killer Bash. This is Carlisle's third such mystery and features Brooklyn Wainwright, a bookbinder, as the detective. Like Killer Bash, the victim is a bitchy director of an arts organization and the crime solver is a funny gal with an interesting profession, bookbinding. Determined to be part of the action, Brooklyn risks death for herself and others to unravel a murder involving fraud, greed, and a criminal mind.
To complicate her life, Brooklyn discovers Derek Stone, her heartthrob and a British hunk, with Layla Fontaine, the hot-blooded woman with designs on every man and eye out for money. As director of the Bay Area Book Arts (BABA) Center and Brooklyn's employer, she casts a large shadow. Layla insists the copy of Oliver Twist that Brooklyn restored and bound for her will be sold as a rare first edition despite Brooklyn's protest it's not one.
Because of Brooklyn's past history, her worst enemy, Minka LaBoeuf, calls her a black widow. Attacks on and the deaths of others cluster around Brooklyn. First, she finds Minka knocked senseless in the hall, and then Layla in her office, dead. Luckily, Brooklyn was with her class when the gunshot that killed Layla was fired. What link did Minka and Layla share beyond BABA? Too many suspects and too few clues confound Brooklyn and the police.
Carlisle excels at keeping Brooklyn's romance with Derek on edge. They met some time ago and shared a passionate kiss in Edinburgh, but she has heard nothing from him since. A long distance romance isn't what she's wants. He has come to San Francisco in charge of security for a noted German lithographer who keeps avoiding the guards hired to protect him. The murder further clouds their relationship.
The novel provides plenty of suspects and motives. Those readers interested in book binding will find Brooklyn's lectures interesting while others may skim over them, but the actions and reactions of the characters provide valuable clues to solve the mystery.