The Book Supremacy
Bibliophile Mystery, Book #13
By Kate Carlisle
Author Website: katecarlisle(.)com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
Newlyweds Brooklyn and Derek are enjoying the final days of their honeymoon in Paris. As they’re browsing the book stalls along the river, they bump into an old friend from Derek’s spy days, Ned, and Brooklyn finds the perfect gift for Derek, an old first edition copy of a James Bond novel, The Spy Who Loved Me.
Once they are back home in San Francisco, they visit a spy shop Ned told them about. Owen, the owner, is thrilled to see his old buddy Derek. Brooklyn tells Owen about the spy novel she found in Paris and Owen begs them to let him display the book as part of the shop’s first anniversary celebration. Brooklyn is hesitant–she’s shocked to find that the book is valuable!–so before agreeing, Derek checks out Owen’s security system and finds it acceptable.
Derek is dismayed when he receives a mysterious letter from Paris announcing the death of Ned. Then late one night, someone is killed inside the spy shop. Is the writer’s murder connected to Brooklyn’s valuable book? Is there something even more sinister afoot? The police are called in, but Owen begs Derek to look into it as well. Little do Brooklyn and Derek realize how deeply they will have to delve into Derek’s past in order to unmask an enemy who’s been waiting for the chance to destroy everything they hold dear. (Goodreads)
The Book Supremacy, the thirteenth Bibliophile Cozy Mystery by Kate Carlisle, is as fresh as ever and a fine addition to the long running series. Full of interesting book restoration tidbits, a touch of romance, and plenty of spy games, it is perfect for fans of Nancy Drew and James Bond alike.
This installment begins with the final days of Brooklyn and Derek’s honeymoon in Paris. Brooklyn stumbles upon the perfect souvenir gift for her new husband in the Parisian street bookstalls, a first edition of The Spy Who Loved Me. The pair also encounters one of Derek’s former coworkers Ned. Upon returning to San Francisco, and at Ned’s suggestion, they visit another former operative Owen’s spy shop. The first anniversary of the shop is quickly approaching, and Brooklyn agrees to loan the Bond novel to the store for a celebratory display. When someone tries to steal the book, killing an employee while they are at it, word reaches Derek that Ned has been murdered. Brooklyn and Derek dive into a mystery worthy of a James Bond thriller where freelance operatives are being killed one by one.
I have always enjoyed the Bibliophile mysteries, and The Book Supremacy is among the best of the series. Author Carlisle strikes just the right balance of cozy mystery and covert spy thriller. The mystery here is top notch, weaving a local crime with a murder half-way around the world. Derek is the tenuous connection between all of it, and the emphasis on covert operatives is so much fun and rather unusual for the cozy mystery genre. There is a nod to James Bond throughout the book, and I love it. The tale is full of action and suspense, and even though I guessed who the villain was relatively early on, I still held my breath as the final scenes played out.
Carlisle does a fantastic job with world building. I feel like I was right there in Paris alongside Brooklyn, and the lovingly executed descriptions of San Francisco and Sonoma are spot on. Oh, how I wish I could vacation to California right now. The details of Brooklyn’s vocation are interesting and educational. Even though there is a great emphasis on ex-spies in the story, the plot never feels too far fetched. It is easy to appreciate the skills of a spy, making Derek all the sexier and the bad guys all the more detestable.
I loved my time with Brooklyn and Derek and look forward to many more adventures with this odd couple. I highly recommend The Book Supremacy. It is one of my best reads of 2019.