Friday, June 9, 2017

Once Upon a Spine: A Bibliophile Mystery

Welcome!  Kate Carlisle is the author of The Fixer-Upper Mystery series and A Bibliophile Mystery series.  Two of The Fixer-Upper Mystery series novels have been converted into movies on the Hallmark Movie and Mystery Channel with Jewel playing Shannon Hammer.  Colin Ferguson (from Eureka and Haven) also stars on the show (he also plays the Maytag man on the commercials).  

Once Upon a Spine by Kate Carlisle is the eleventh book in A Bibliophile Mystery series.  Brooklyn Wainwright lives in San Francisco, California with her fiancé, Derek Stone.  Brooklyn is a bookbinder and paper artist.  At the Brothers Bookshop in the Courtyard, Brooklyn has been coveting a beautiful and rare copy of Alice in Wonderland owned by Eddie Cox (co-owner of the shop).  She has always been fascinated by Lewis Carroll and his Alice books.  Terrence Payton, who co-owns Brothers Bookshop with Eddie, mentions that he had a similar copy of Alice in Wonderland, but it was stolen six months previously.  Bonnie Carson comes into the shop and mentions that once again someone has vandalized the building with graffiti.  Later that week Brooklyn is out early to get coffee from the Beanery and looks into the Rabbit Hole as she goes walks by the shop.  She notices the place in a disarray and enters to find Will Rabbit, the owner, on the ground.  Brooklyn finds another victim under one of the shelving units.  She quickly contacts 911 and Inspector Janice Lee.  When the shelving is removed, they find Joey Falco, the cobbler, underneath.  Joey dies on the way to the hospital.  Brooklyn looks in Joey’s shop door (looking for her burgundy heels Joey was repairing) and discovers the shop in a shambles.  Why were Joey and Will attacked?  What was the killer looking for in Joey’s shop?  The next day Derek’s parents arrive from England (Brooklyn has yet to meet them), and Brooklyn’s parents are visiting as well.  Brooklyn will have to work in sleuthing among the sightseeing trips.  It seems, though, that the killer is not yet finished.  Bonnie would be roadkill if not for Brooklyn’s quick actions.  Can Brooklyn close the book on this case before another victim gets struck down?

Once Upon a Spine is a delightful cozy mystery.  Kate Carlisle has a conversational writing style that makes for an easy to read book.  The book is well-crafted and has a good pace.  I enjoyed the addition of Derek’s parents.  Meg Stone is nothing like I expected.  Meg and Becky’s (Brooklyn’s mother) antics had me laughing a few times.  The mystery is multifaceted and complex which I adored.  Readers will have a hard time solving this one.  I give Once Upon a Spine 5 out of 5 stars (I loved it).  While Once Upon a Spine is the eleventh book in the series, it can be a stand-alone.  The author does provide background information on Brooklyn, her career, and relationship with Derek.  I like how far Brooklyn and Janice Lee’s relationship has progressed since the beginning of the series.  I loved the description of Brooklyn’s Alice project especially the details on papermaking.  Once Upon a Spine has great characters, beautiful setting, complicated crime, wonderful book descriptions, and humor along with a nice easy writing style.  All these elements come together for a pleasure reading experience.  I hope we get Brooklyn and Derek’s wedding in the next A Bibliophile Mystery.  It will be entertaining to see what the two-mother’s put together.  

Can you tell that I loved Once Upon a Spine?  Each book in this series is better than the previous.  I will be reviewing Treble at the Jam Fest by Leslie Budewitz on Saturday.  I hope that you have a fantastic Friday. Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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