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Ripped From the Pages: 12/20/17
Ripped From the Pages by Kate Carlisle is the ninth Bibliophile Mystery. Guru Bob is expanding the compound's winery but adding a wine cave for tasting. In the process of boring through the wall, a secret room is exposed, packed full of treasures and containing a well dressed body.
Mostly this volume is a cold case with ties to WWII and to the Nazi confiscation of artwork. These were pieces squirreled out of Europe. They are also clues to Guru Bob's family history. Let's just say the story he's been telling his followers isn't true.
I personally wish this book had just been a cold case. But Brooklyn seems cursed to be in the middle of present day murders. Of course someone has to die and the person behind it is obvious from the very get-go — from the first introductions. Despite the obvious villain being obvious, we still have to wait until the final act for the present day crime.
Unfortunately the same ties to WWII reveal a flaw in the series — one that many mystery series suffer from — namely, the slippage of time. As I described in my review of Crunch Time by Diane Mott Davidson, the longer a series continues, the more obvious the inconsistencies between plot time and the temporal environment of the story (ie what sorts of things are available, references to current events, etc) become.
In Ripped From the Pages, it's stated that a little more than two years have passed since Brooklyn met her boyfriend. That happened in Homicide in Hardcover, the start of the series. That book was published in 2009. This volume was published in 2015 — six years later, not two years later. When thinking in terms of how many murder investigations Brooklyn has been part of, it's amazing she has had any time to do anything else as described in the books.
Then take a look at the body discovered in the secret room. He's been there roughly seventy years. That puts the time line for the mystery in 2014 — or when the book was being written. So which is it? Here, the difference really isn't that grand a thing — only a couple years, but as the series continues, this gap is likely to widen. What happens when it does, depends on how the author decides to handle it. Two extremes are: to rigidly insist it's still however many years back (as Sue Grafton does with her Alphabet Mystery books) or to just let the characters live in the present and have fun with the new technology (as Elizabeth Peters did in the Vicky Bliss mysteries).
The tenth book in the series is Books of a Feather (2016).