Title: Ripped from the Pages (Bibliophile Mystery 9)
Author: Kate Carlisle
Publication Date: 2015
Book restoration expert Brooklyn Wainwright has moved back to her hometown commune community of Dharma with her boyfriend, security expert Derek Stone, while their condo in San Francisco is being refurbished. Living in close proximity to her parents and siblings is great fun for Brooklyn but also puts her close to all the eccentricities and idiosyncrasies that that only her family can have. Luckily the commune winery had decide to excavate an area in the caves underneath to expand storage and tasting areas, which provides some entertainment and distraction to all the family bonding.
When the blasting dust settles, a secret room is discovered. It is filled with art, furniture, and treasures from a bygone era. Unfortunately, it also contains a body. As Derek, Brooklyn, and local detectives attempt to discover the body’s identify and origin of the room and its treasures, other interested parties also flock to the small California town. Treasure hunters and journalists join local families who fled France during the Nazi invasion; wanting insight into the history of the artifacts and to claim ownership of family heirlooms.
Tempers rise, innocent people are hurt, and others are not what they seem to be. The mystery of both the past and the present must be solved if peace is to return to Dharma.
I got hooked on the Bibliophile mysteries a long time ago and Kate Carlisle’s series is one of my favorites. I mean, her stories include books, wine, San Francisco, and a sexy former British intelligence agent; what more do you need! The previous books in the series usually revolve around a book that Brooklyn is restoring. I find the whole restoration process and how the physical make-up of the book can tell a completely different story than what is written on the pages fascinating. The restoration of the book in Ripped from the Pages takes a back seat in the plot to the history of artifacts smuggled out of France prior to the Nazi invasion. I admit I missed the book focus but the blending of history into the story really kept my interest.
Carlisle has created some great secondary characters, including Brooklyn’s family and Guru Bob; these reoccurring characters help the reader truly feel a part of the story and have a vested interest in their lives and experiences. Each time I start a new Bibliophile book, I feel like I am revisiting old friends.
Who might like this book:
I consider this book a bit more involved than a cozy mystery but still a fun, entertaining read. The weaving of World War II history and life in a commune with the techniques of bookbinding seems like an odd, mismatched combination, but it does work. Carlisle has a very diverse background herself and she seamless meshes unrelated facts and insight into an enjoyable, well-constructed story.
Although a new reader would understand the story, there is a lot of background of characters and situations that would be lost without starting the series at the beginning. I have especially enjoyed watching the characters grow and develop over the course of the series.
Here are the books in order:
Homicide in Hardcover
If Books Could Kill
The Lies That Bind
Murder Under Cover
Pages of Sin (e-book novella)
One Book in the Grave
Peril in Paperback
A Cookbook Conspiracy
The Book Stops Here