Author: Kate Carlisle
I reviewed the third book in the series, The Lies that Bind (click here), and the fourth, One Book in the Grave (click here.) This is the sixth book in the series, let's see how this addition to the series stacks up.
Copyright: August 2012 (Signet) 304 pgs
Series: 6th in Bibliophile Mysteries
Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy, Amateur Sleuth
Main Characters: Brooklyn Wainwright, book binder and restorer
Setting: modern day, San Francisco and countryside
Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review
Brooklyn is invited to the fiftieth birthday party of her neighbor Suzie’s aunt Grace for a week of festivities. Grace, now retired, was the founder of a major video game corporation. The party is at Grace's Lake Tahoe Mansion that she has enhanced with everything from pinball machines and giant props to secret passageways and trap doors. Brooklyn is excited to discover Grace’s extensive collection of rare paperback pulp fiction.
Early on Grace, who doesn't have a psychic bone in her body, leads a séance that turns deadly. A cocktail intended for Grace was poisoned and took the life of another guest. Immediatly suspicion turns to the auto-biography that Grace had finished and was about to publish. This sets up a classic manor mystery with a cast of strange guests to investigate.
Brooklyn is not her usual loving and enlightened self in this edition. There are two guests that she can not stand, really can't stand. It doesn't help that Derek has been in France...or is it Belgium, working a case and when Brooklyn called, a women made it clear Derek was unavailable. So she is under a little stress with her imagination running wild. Derek doesn't make an appearance until later in the book so not much to add there. Gabriel pops up at the Lake Tahoe mansion, somehow personally knowing Grace (I suspect auntie helped Gabriel with some high tech gadgetry in the past.) Gabriel has really grown on me and in this book he lets slip a few words that make it seem he cares more for Brooklyn than anyone thought possible. Grace may be turning fifty, but she is a hoot. She springs the biggest surprise on everyone that provides a great twist in the plot. I enjoyed her character and look forward to reading more about her. We get to know Susie and Vinnie, neighbors in San Francisco, a little better. The pair gets quite a surprise during the week with Aunt Grace. Their lives are forever changed, in a good way.
The mansion is primarily the setting and not so much Lake Tahoe. The mansion sounds fascinating and provides a great setting for this mystery to play out. The plot is solid cozy mystery fare with being stranded by snow until the murderer can be caught. The pace kept up well with sub plots developing and several twists and excitement.
The climax was a good romp complete with revelations and a few surprises. The wrap-up had some heartwarming moments and leaves the reader feeling good, looking forward to another outing with Brooklyn.
This addition to the series is a solid cozy mystery with plenty of interesting characters and excitement. If you aren't a fan already, this could make one.
Excellent - Loved it! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list