Tuesday, October 19, 2010

If Books Could Kill by Kate Carlisle

Title: If Books Could Kill
Author: Kate Carlisle
ISBN: 9780451228918
Publisher: Signet, 2010
Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Genre: Cozy, Amateur Sleuth, #2 Bibliophile Mystery
Rating: C+
Source: Paperback Swap

First Line:  If my life were a book, I would have masking tape holding my hinges together.

Book restoration expert Brooklyn Wainwright is still recuperating from the events in Homicide in Hardcover, but she's now in Edinburgh, Scotland attending the Book Fair. Her roguish ex, Kyle McVee, shows up with an original copy of a book that could very well change history and humiliate the British monarchy in the process.

When Kyle turns up dead, naturally Brooklyn is the first suspect out of the gate, so she starts conducting her own investigation to see if the motive for murder was a 200-year-old secret-- or something much more personal.

Although the main character is still suffering the effects from the first book in the series, there's no need to go back and get your hands on a copy to fill in the blanks. Carlisle provides enough detail for new readers to avoid confusion.

There is a lot to enjoy in this second book. I loved the Edinburgh setting, and-- just like the first time-- I really enjoyed the book restoration details which Carlisle provides. Brooklyn is a likable, interesting character who has a fascinating career, the promise of a lot of romance in her life, and a winning voice. The plot certainly has enough twists and turns to keep the pages turning, but there is trouble looming in my rearview mirror. I find two of the supporting cast of characters extremely annoying and more than a bit distracting.

Brooklyn's mother is a child of the 60's who never relinquished her hold on Flower Power. She's gone on to put New Age practices in a stranglehold as well. I found her dependence on spleen washes and other kooky-sounding stuff mildly amusing at first, but in this book she just got on my nerves.

The second character who chaps my hide is Minka LaBoeuf, Brooklyn's arch enemy. The character is so over the top she's like a cartoon character. Minka is screaming loud, she's obnoxious, and she's constantly telling the police that Brooklyn is responsible for whatever's gone wrong. I wouldn't be surprised if Minka also believes Brooklyn is responsible for global warming, the US deficit, and my trick knees. I really wish Carlisle would either have Minka put on some heavy duty meds... or have her committed. (Preferably the latter. I'd supply the strait jacket.)

When two secondary characters begin to annoy me to this degree, I begin to wonder if the series is really for me. The acid test will be Carlisle's third Bibliophile Mystery, The Lies That Bind. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.


  1. The premise of this series intrigues me but no seems to love it. Am thinking this one I might skip.

  2. Cathy - Thanks for this review. The premise of this one is really interesting to me. Still, I can see why those characters put you off. Maybe I'll wait on this...

  3. Your review had me chuckling Cathy :)
    It's too bad the characters grated on you, as this seems like a perfect fit for book lovers...

  4. I missed your review of the first in the series, but am definitely intrigued by this story. I think I was an art restorer in another life :) I'll add it to my wishlist, thanks for the tip.

  5. A book about books. Brilliant! I don't know, though, if the characters got on your nerves so badly. Loved your review but maybe I'll pass on the book.

  6. Beth-- As far behind as we are in what we want to read, that's a decision all of us make almost daily.

    Margot-- Just like I'm keeping my fingers crossed for book #3.

    TBG-- The book restoration part *is* perfect for book lovers!

    Alexandra-- You're welcome! :)

    Barbara-- It's no fun when a character keeps yanking me out of the story.

  7. Wonderful cover, Edinburgh setting, cosy mystery - but annoying characters?

    Hm, can you see me wobbling on that fence?

  8. Oh man..sorry to hear the characters are so annoying, well, at least two of them anyway. I'm still planning to read this one, will be interesting to see what I think of the characters.

  9. Dorte-- Yes, I can. Don't hurt yourself!

    Kris-- Yes, I really look forward to seeing what you think of it.

    Diane-- It is. :)


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