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Book Review: Homicide in Hardcover by Kate Carlisle

Reviewed by Joelene Pynnonen

When Brooklyn Wainwright agrees to attend the opening of Covington Library’s latest antiquarian exhibit, she’s expecting conflict. She and her old mentor, Abraham Karastovsky – the man who taught her everything she knows about book restoration, haven’t spoken for six months, after all. What she’s not expecting is to find Abraham shot and close to death; the jewel of the collection, a supposedly cursed copy of Faust, nearby.

When Derek Stone, the head of security for the book exhibition, finds her hunched over the body, she becomes a major suspect. Now it’s up to Brooklyn to clear her name, bring the killer of her beloved mentor to justice, and try to stay alive doing so. With the suspects mounting, the task is getting more impossible by the minute.

Characters and setting are the magical combination that will either win or lose readers in a cosy mystery. Luckily, Homicide in Hardcover has a winning combination. Both the characters and setting are friendly, comfortable and easy to lose yourself in. Brooklyn grew up in an affluent hippie commune. While she doesn’t live there any longer, her family and friends mostly do; and she goes back to visit quite often.

While this is marketed as a cosy mystery and fits the guidelines fairly well, it could also fall into the romantic suspense category. From the first couple of chapters a classic love/hate relationship dynamic pops up around Brooklyn and Derek. It suits the quirky, whimsical atmosphere of the novel, but might be a too cheesy for some cosy crime readers.

The atmosphere of Homicide in Hardcover is fun and light, but that doesn’t keep it from tossing an abundance of red herrings into the mix. There’s no shortage of suspects. Brooklyn’s nemesis in love and work, the vindictively jealous Minka LaBoeuf, is hanging around on the night of the murder. And while there’s nothing to indicate that Minka had a grudge against Abraham, Brooklyn wouldn’t put stealing the Faust past her. Abraham’s own archrival, Enrico Baldacchio, has shown up, despite the bad blood between them. And, perhaps most disturbingly, Brooklyn runs into her mother only moments before finding the fatally wounded Abraham.

As forces close in from every side, Brooklyn needs to search for the truth– even if the answers she finds are not the ones she wants.

Homicide in Hardcover is a solid start to the Bibliophile Mystery series. A quick and easy read, it fills up an otherwise dull weekend quite nicely.


Homicide in Hardcover – Kate Carlisle

Berkley (February 3, 2009)

ISBN: 9780451226150