The first book in the Bibliophile mystery series.

Publication year: 2009
Format: print
Publisher: Obsidian
Page count: 289

Brooklyn Wainwright is a bookbinder: she restores old books. She’s participating in a party celebrating an upcoming book exhibit in the Covington museum. She’s a bit nervous because she’s going to meet her former mentor and friend Abraham Karastovsky and they haven’t even spoken to each other in six months. However, Abraham is in a very good mood and they patch things between them quickly. Unfortunately, later Brooklyn finds Abraham’s murdered body. With his final breath, Abraham gives Brooklyn a very valuable old book (Goethe’s Faust) and a mysterious message. Moments later a handsome but gruff British security man Derek Stone finds Brooklyn kneeling beside the body and thinks that she killed him.

I loved the world of bookbinding and Brooklyn’s strange family and friends. Her family lives in a hippy commune making wine. She has five adult siblings who all grew up there, following Guru Bob. She also has a nemesis, a crazy woman who hates her and tries to put her down verbally and even attacks her. Brooklyn has a female best friend who is much more into fashion than she is, and she’s also friends with a lesbian couple lives next door. This was very refreshing because often in mystery books if the MC is female, she doesn’t have female friends.

But Brooklyn is a bit strange protagonist. On the one hand, she’s clearly smart and very good in her profession but as an amateur sleuth, she’s not too bright. She lies to the police, takes items from crime scenes without telling anyone, and makes rather thoughtless decisions, especially near the end. She also faints at the sight of blood which I find rather strange in a woman who has to, you know, deal with blood on monthly basis. But I liked that she likes to eat. She’s also quite funny.

Unfortunately, the plot is based on keeping information from the reader (and to be fair also from the main character) so I don’t think there was any chance of finding clues. The suspect pool is also very small. Also, Brooklyn doesn’t actually do much investigating. She only questions a few people and none of those she meets near the first murder. She does have a knack of showing up at the wrong time, though.

As you might guess, Derek is the romantic interest and I think there’s more romance in the book that mystery solving. At least there’s no romance triangle or too toxic troupes, although Derek (and other men) do save Brooklyn several times.

So, overall I did enjoy the book but not as much I thought I would. I can’t recommend it to people who read mystery books in order to solve the whodunnit.