Little Black Book
Bibliophile Mystery, Book #15
By Kate Carlisle
Author Website: katecarlisle(.)com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
Brooklyn and her hunky husband, security expert Derek Stone, have just returned from a delightful trip to Dharma, where the construction of their new home away from home is well underway, when a little black book arrives in the mail from Scotland. The book is a rare British first edition of Rebecca, and there’s no return address on the package. The day after the book arrives, Claire Quinn shows up at Brooklyn and Derek’s home. Brooklyn met Claire when the two women worked as expert appraisers on the television show This Old Attic. Brooklyn appraised books on the show and Claire’s expertise was in antique British weaponry, but they bonded over their shared love of gothic novels.
Claire reveals that during a recent trip to Scotland she discovered her beloved aunt was missing and her home had been ransacked. Among her aunt’s belongings, Claire found the receipt for the package that wound up with Brooklyn and Derek. Claire believes both her own life and her aunt’s are in danger and worries that her past may be coming back to haunt her.
But just as Brooklyn and Derek begin to investigate, a man who Claire thinks was following her is found murdered, stabbed with a priceless jeweled dagger. With a death on their doorstep, Brooklyn and Derek page through the little black book, where they discover clues that will take them to the shadows of a medieval Scottish castle on the shores of Loch Ness. Under the watchful gaze of a mysterious laird and the irascible villagers who are suspicious of the strangers in their midst, Brooklyn and Derek must decode the secrets in Rebecca to keep their friend’s past from destroying their future. (Amazon(.)com)
Little Black Book, the fifteenth book in the long-running Bibliophile Mystery Series finds book restorer Brooklyn and her dashing husband Derek embroiled in a convoluted mystery that includes a missing person, murder, antique weapons, international travel, and, of course, rare books.
I have enjoyed this series so much over the years, and, after fifteen installments, these characters feel like good friends…slightly annoyingly perfect friends, but fabulous to hang out with. In a series twist, Derek receives a package containing a copy of Rebecca, and Brooklyn’s former acquaintance, antique weapons expert Claire (from book #8 The Book Stops Here), arrives to claim the package she believes was sent by her missing Aunt Gwyneth. Gwyneth happens to be Derek’s former coworker at MI6. Claire has recently had some scary encounters with some unsavory men, and one has followed her and is murdered at Brooklyn’s building. Fearing for Claire’s safety, the trio travels to Dharma then follow the clues to Scotland. As the body count rises, they must solve a puzzle from the past that ties to the present.
As always, author Kate Carlisle spins a compelling yarn full of suspense and danger. Most of this book takes place in Scotland, and the wonderful castle setting is a welcome change of venue (I love the regular San Francisco and wine country settings just as much) and reinforces the gothic feel of Rebecca. Though the book plays a pivotal role in solving the mystery, I wish it had been featured even more.
Because of the trans-Atlantic action, readers see very little of the regular supporting characters, and I missed them. Brooklyn’s quirky family is always a joy. It is, however, nice to get to know Claire better. Let’s face it, she is a weapons’ wizard. Brooklyn and Derek have settled nicely into married life, and their chemistry is still palpable and endearing, even when they get a little too syrupy.
Little Black Book is a highly entertaining biblio-centric mystery. Highly recommended to fans of Carlisle and anyone looking for a well written, quality cozy mystery.