Review: Police Chief Dockerty enlists the help of a local bookseller to solve a particularly brutal murder in Book Club, a short bibliomystery by Loren D. Estleman.
Lloyd Fister's family had been a part of Good Advice, New Mexico for generations. A wealthy man, he had a private library in his home that included many rare volumes on the history of the region. And it was in this library where he was found dead, his head bashed in. Chief Dockerty suspects that the man's murder may have been related to his books, and seeks out Avery Sharecross, the owner of a bookshop converted from a 300-year-old mission, for advice. Sharecross had assisted Fister in acquiring many of his books — indeed, Fister was the bookshop's best customer — and as an ex-cop himself, he's happy to assist in the investigation.
Book Club presents a whodunit, howdunit, and whydunit in a nice, neat package. All the same, it's slightly disappointing that the solution to the crime is more coincidental than calculated, and more suitable for a 2-page minute mystery than a 21-page short story. In some respects, the characters are more interesting than a murder mystery, with the principal characters of Dockerty and Sharecross — and, to a lesser extent, the victim, Fister — creatively drawn. The title refers to a weekly meeting at the bookshop, one member of which is most likely the killer. But these characters are given only fleeting attention in the story, and it's only on a mere "hunch" that the culprit is identified, not the most clever of means to solving a crime.
Acknowledgment: Mysterious Press provided an eARC of Book Club for this review.
Review Copyright © 2013 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Book Club: New Mexico
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Book Club by Loren D. Estleman — A Bibliomystery Short Story
Publisher: Mysterious Press
Publication Date: March 2013
List Price: $1.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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