Homicide in Hardcover: a bibliophile mystery Review

Summary homicide in hardcover

Kate Carlisle’s cozy mystery Homicide in Hardcover brings together the mysteries of murder and bookbinding.

Under the tutelage of her friend and mentor Abraham Karastovsky, Brooklyn Wainwright has studied the fine art of bookbinding since the age of eight.  Now a master of her craft and living in San Francisco, Brooklyn’s career is on a high note as her reputation as a highly skilled bookbinder circulates through the world of antique book collectors.

With everything going so well Brooklyn is looking forward to the Covington Library’s new exhibit, featuring her mentor’s latest book restoration.  However, the day of celebration takes a frightful turn.

No sooner has Brooklyn congratulates Abraham she finds him stabbed in one of the Covington’s workrooms.  Just before his final breath Abraham bequeaths the priceless copy of Goethe’s Faust that he still clutches to Brooklyn with a mysterious clue.

Before she even has time to process Abraham’s death she finds herself accused of his murder courtesy of annoying (and attractive) British security officer Derek Stone.  Brooklyn starts to wonder if the rumors about the Faust being cursed are true as things start to spiral out of control.  Along with being named prime suspect in her friend’s death, Brooklyn’s apartment gets ransacked, someone might be following her, and there seem to be more mysteries in Abraham’s life than just his death.

Though she much prefers finding the best ways to save a book than tracking down a murderer, she realizes it’s up to her to put the pieces of her mentor’s life together in order to clear her name and catch the killer before she becomes the next victim.

Thoughts on Homicide in Hardcover

I picked up this book for the look at bookbinding and stayed for that everything else.  This is a wonderful start to a new series that is still ongoing.  You get introduced to San Francisco, bookbinding, and Brooklyn Wainwright and her entourage.  A group of spunky characters you won’t want to say goodbye to.  Fortunately it’s a series so you don’t have to!

Kate Carlisle’s heroine Brooklyn is the guiding voice throughout the story.  Funny, talented, and constantly hungry you cheer her on as she works to catch a killer with her own personal skills that the police just don’t have.  After all if a murder circulates around a rare, priceless, supposedly cursed antique book who better to solve the case then a bookbinder?

Brooklyn has a lot on her plate though.  Aside from trying to track down a ruthless killer who seems to now be targeting in on her while being under suspicion for the murder herself, Brooklyn must face off with Derek Stone.  Both legally and personally.

As far as romance goes this was definitely one of the odder ways to start a relationship.  Being accused of murdering your friend by the guy.  Nevertheless Brooklyn can’t get her mind off him and throughout the book it’s hilarious how they keep running into each other in the most awkward of places.  They get very good at breaking and entering teamwork!

Thanks to the first person perspective, you get an inside look into Brooklyn’s emotions and thought process.  Her bookbinding, romance, and solving a murder of a friend all come into much sharper focus when you know what she’s thinking all the time.  Not to mention all her own funny thoughts!

The mystery was compelling throughout the entire story, and I kid you not I could not for the life of me figure it out.  Even when I thought I figured out who the killer was the big reveal showed me to be very  incorrect.

I guarantee you won’t see the who coming, and the why… I mean that was even more amazing.  Every tiny piece of the mystery was so well thought out, and going back after knowing the ending I could see how each detail even those that seemed insignificant at the time all fit together to form one complete and sinister picture.

I really enjoyed the use of bookbinding as the theme of this cozy.  It was well researched and let me walk away with a new knowledge of the craft and an excitement to learn more.

It’s a cozy with a learning curve as Carlisle breaks from murder with a tutorial in bookbinding basics as we observe Brooklyn work all of which is described and explained using actual bookbinding jargon.

Set against the backdrop of San Francisco, it’s a funny and thrilling ride as you follow Brooklyn as she works to solve the mystery and learn a thing or two about bookbinding along the way.  The Bibliophile Mysteries is a cozy murder mystery series that will keep you coming back for more!

Other Details

My Recommendation: This book is for adults, but really once their old enough to wander throughout all the sections of the bookstore alone kids would enjoy it too.  What better way to get teenagers interested in reading than a compelling mystery with information on how books are made, restored, and conserved?

Author: Kate Carlisle

Genre(s): mystery, cozy

Pages: 289

Publisher: Obsidian

First Released: 2009

If you want to know more about cozy murder mystery check out my post, “Why cozy murder mysteries are awesome” here: