Bookman Dead Style
A Dangerous Type Mystery, Book #2
By Paige Shelton
Author’s Website: paigeshelton.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
A movie star is typecast as a killer in the second Dangerous Type Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of To Helvetica and Back.
It’s January, and the Star City Film Festival has taken the Utah ski resort town by storm. Movie stars are everywhere, carving fresh powder on the slopes and crossing the thresholds of Bygone Alley’s charming boutique shops—including The Rescued Word, where Clare Henry and her grandfather restore old typewriters and beloved books. When cinema’s hottest superhero, Matt Bane, enters their store to buy some personalized notecards, it’s hard not to be starstruck.
But when Clare sees the police leading Matt out of The Fountain hotel in handcuffs only a few hours later, she can’t believe her eyes. The affable actor is accused of killing his sister, but Clare’s convinced he’s wrong for that role. Now it’s open call for suspects as Clare tries to reel in the killer before another victim fades to black…
The A Dangerous Type Mystery series was one my favorite new cozy series of 2016, and Bookman Dead Style is another hit in the series. The Rescued Word is a shop where history meets the 21st century with services including typewriter repair, book restoration, and printing from a handmade replica of a Gutenberg press. It is owned by Clare, a delightful young woman who brings warmth even to a Utah winter, and Chester, her grandfather.
Star City, Utah is a beautiful setting, especially during the winter skiing season. When the annual film festival occurs at the same time, tourism is at its peak. Box office favorites such as Matt Bane and his current and former lady friends, Adele and Nell, provide the huge crowd draw. One of the local theaters is showing Matt’s top-rated movie, Kill Night.
Unfortunately, the murder of Matt’s sister Cassie becomes one of the huge attractions, Matt is immediately the prime suspect as he is covered in blood and holding what is probably the murder weapon. He is taken to jail while he is still in shock and explaining that he didn’t do it. Having kind heart after having had met him in The Rescued Word, Clare felt as though they had a ‘connection’ of sorts in a town where he doesn’t have friends. She asked BFF Jodie, a police officer, to let her go to the holding cells to visit Matt. They talked, and she would ask his assistant to get him an attorney. When next she sees Matt, he gave her his invite to what would turn out to be a very exclusive party. In turn, Clare would look and see if there is anything ‘off’ about anyone at the party.
Adding to the suspense is Clare’s discovery of a huge amount of cash in a typewriter ribbon tin that Seth, her boyfriend, brought her from one of his friends who was closing out his grandmother’s estate. Another unusual event is the appearance of Toby, a young blogger who follows the star trail, sleeping in his van. Once he meets Clare’s niece Marion, there are stars in his eyes as he begins to fall in love with her. A young man comes into the shop to sell several of one of my favorite typewriters, and a man claiming to be the brother of the man whose ribbon tin held the cash.
Clare is a wonderfully complex, three-dimensional character, and we see other characters and situations through her eyes. Chester, her grandfather, Seth, and Jodie are probably the next best defined; they are shown through excellent dialog and behavior. The film stars and Clare’s high school friend, now a sister wife at the polygamous compound, show us that these are, first and foremost people with feelings just like us, in spite of their seeming mystique.
There are several mysteries occurring in a short period of time, the last three being whether any of the three men are who they say they are. I do enjoy novels like this where there are mysteries within a mystery, adding texture to the novel just as a change of font adds texture to the printed page. I enjoy reading about the shop and typewriters; there is just enough detail to be interesting. Learning about the printing press and typewriter ribbon tins is also enjoyable.
There are enough plot twists to keep this reader on her toes. I confess, when Clare first wants to help Matt, I was skeptical and wondered why, but helping an almost total stranger can be in character for her and takes her into such varied circumstances. Of course, it is central to the novel and I could see within a short time that the premise for the murder, Matt’s arrest and Clare’s help make for an exciting, intriguing plot. It was a challenge to determine who the bad guy/ gal might be, and I not only wasn’t prepared for who it was, I suspected someone else. I highly recommend Bookman Dead Style to anyone who enjoys the snowy winter setting, the services offered at the Rescued Word, and very well-crafted mysteries.