Brooklyn Wainwright repairs rare and damaged books for a living in Homicide in Hardcover by Kate Carlisle, and she gets invited to a special gathering at the Covington Library for her former mentor, Abraham, with whom she had a falling out six months earlier. Noticing some personal drama going on at the party, including a curious argument with the members of the family that owns the library, her father tending bar, and her mother waiting for what looks like a secret rendezvous with Abraham. And her personal enemy who has a psychotic hatred of Brooklyn shows up and creates trouble. But then Brooklyn comes upon Abraham on the floor and covered with blood. He manages to croak out a few words before dying in her arms.
Now enters the stranger with the British accent who seems to think that Brooklyn has killed Abraham and pulls a gun on her, at which point Brooklyn faints. When she comes back to consciousness, she finds herself on a sofa in a side room, with the man shaking and slapping her to wake up. It takes a while for Brooklyn to learn about this stranger, named Derek, but eventually she finds out that he is in charge of the security for the library. And he is certain that Brooklyn has committed the crime, threatening to keep his eyes on her like a hawk.
Brooklyn’s ex-fiance, Ian, now head of the Covington Library, hires her to continue the work of Abraham in restoring a valuable, ruby-studded copy of Goethe’s Faust that is said to be cursed, with a string of deaths related to the copy. The drama continues throughout the book as someone comes after Brooklyn. Her hippie parents, who live in a commune, come and go, adding flavor to the book.
I enjoyed listening to this book, which has an interesting plot and creative setting. According to a review on Goodreads from a book restorer from the Huntington Library in Los Angeles County, which is like the Covington Library, the depictions of Brooklyn’s work can be ridiculous at times. So don’t try to clean up your books with bread! But despite those details, the book had strong characters and showed a real love of books. I liked the original way of setting the book around book restorations, something I’ve never seen in another mystery book.
Eileen Stevens narrates this audiobook effectively. She makes the book enjoyable and keeps it moving well. Her British accent for Derek didn’t really seem realistic to me though. But I still appreciated the performance in general.
I liked my experience listening to Homicide in Hardcover. It read pleasurably and entertained me a lot. I give the book four stars.
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