Peril in Paperback: A Bibliophile Mystery
by Kate Carlisle
Review by Harriet Klausner
Signet Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451237620
Date: 07 August 2012 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Book-restoration expert Brooklyn Wainwright drives with her favorite neighbors Suzie Stein and Vinnie Patel from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe. The trio will spend a week at a luxurious mansion owned by Suzie's computer guru and engineering genius Aunt Grace who is celebrating her big 50th birthday with a bash.
Known for her eccentricities, Grace's home is loaded with hidden panels, holograms, and many more surprises. A bibliophile, Grace hired Brooklyn last year to rebind some of her favorite books. After some doubts due to the mustiness and thinking of how Vinnie calls Grace a book hoarder, Brooklyn decides to enjoy being given the Library Suite as her room. When she finds a 1790 copy of Pilgrim's Progress and a century plus old version of Gulliver's Travels, Brooklyn feels she went to heaven though the carelessness of some people with these rare books disturbs her.
At dinner, the hostess promises to read extracts from her unpublished autobiographical novel that she just finished. Everyone attending the party is in the book though the names were changed to protect the guilty. After a tarot reading by Sybil, Grace's employee Bella Santangelo dies from drinking passion fruit iced tea. Brooklyn believes the poisoned drink was intended to kill Grace. Obsessed with learning the truth, Brooklyn, who has solved murder mysteries before, investigates the homicide.
The seventh bibliophile cozy (see One Book in the Grave, The Lies That Bind, and Murder Under Cover) is an engaging whodunit in which the mansion steals the show from the heroine and the other guests. The house is loaded with shockers as Brooklyn learns when she uses a remote in the room she is staying in only to find bookshelves moving about. Later when Brooklyn hears a scream, she races out of her room to find her hostess' haughty sister-in-law complaining about being lost and whining about Grace. Part of the leisure early pace is that the homicide occurs somewhat late in the witty but slower than usual storyline.
Besides being in book shock over what she finds and how people mistreat antique editions of the classics, Brooklyn also feels jealousy as she called her boyfriend Derek Stone, but a sexy sounding Frenchwoman answered his phone and never put him on. Her internal debate to sleuth or not to sleuth is answered by her obsessive compulsive need to learn who tried to kill Grace. With a zany ending where just about everyone in attendances confesses to something including Derek who arrives at the wild mansion, fans will enjoy the entertaining Peril In Paperback.