The Book Stops Here: 10/09/17
The Book Stops Here by Kate Carlisle is the eighth of the Bibliophile Mystery series. Brooklyn has been hired to assess books on the local stop of This Old Attic (think Antiques Roadshow). Her first on air client is a woman who purchased a very rare edition of The Secret Garden.
Soon, Brooklyn is caught up in two mysteries — one involving a stalker — and the death of woman who bought The Secret Garden. Are the two related? Sure the book is rare and sure it's worth a lot of money — but what exactly makes it worth killing over?
Like A Cookbook Conspiracy [Link], most of The Book Stops Here is focused on Brooklyn's profession — book appraiser and book binder, specializing in the restoring of old and rare volumes. That means less (nearly none in this volume) of her hippy family or the weird commune near Napa.
For the most part, this is the most straight up response to a crime in any mystery I've read in a long time. She discovers the body. She reports the crime. She's interviewed. She's later able to recognize a suspect and he's arrested. All of this is great, albeit a little dry.
But as soon as he's arrested and there's a good third left, I knew where the book was going. Twins. It's been done before. It's one of those classic tropes. So, I was curious to see where the twin trope would go.
If there's someone else obviously calling the shots — someone who is neither twin — then one can see that the twin trope is only the surface of a historical trope. This is like how all stories involving a long running feud will either be a Romeo and Juliet retelling if there's a romance involved, or the Hatfields and McCoys.
So back to the twins. If there is a family of criminals — then we're probably doing an homage to Ma Barker. The problem with that, is if it's not done well — it quickly degrades into the parody of her and her criminal family — Ma Beagle.
Or if you prefer...
Once she's invoked, it doesn't matter how well the rest of the book is written. She's there and soon the rest of book is recast with characters from either Duck Tales or Darkwing Duck and San Francisco recast as St. Canard (for the cool bridges).