Tuesday, October 1, 2019

ARC Review: The Books of the Dead by Emilia Bernhard

The Books of the Dead
Author: Emilia Bernhard
Series: A Death in Paris Mystery (Book 2)
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (October 8, 2019)

Description: Parisian summers are for strolls in the park . . . and solving a murder--or two. 

When American sleuth Rachel Levis stumbles upon an employee of the French national library strangled in the bathroom of a cafe, she's not surprised to be asked to help with the investigation by her old acquaintance Capitaine Boussicault--after all, she and her best friend Magda solved a tricky murder only eighteen months before.

But right from the start, this case proves to be très difficile. When Rachel goes undercover as a librarian to determine which of his book-loving colleagues loathed the man enough to kill him, the library is rocked by more bad news: a priceless antique book has been mutilated. And the very next day, her favorite suspect for the murder is found dead in the stacks.

Just as the case is heating up, Boussicault pulls Rachel from the investigation. Undeterred, she and Magda decide to forge ahead with their own investigation--even if it could put them at odds with the police and in serious danger. With evidence and suspects piling up, it will be up to them to find the culprit--and stop more innocent books from being harmed--before anyone else checks out for good.

My Thoughts: This story begins when our heroine Rachel Levis discovers a man who has been strangled on the floor of a men's room of a rather seedy cafe. She learns that he was an employee of the French national library and worked with rare books. She isn't surprised when Capitaine Boussicault asks her to go undercover at the Library to see if she can figure out who wanted him dead. She had worked with Bousicault before and solved another mystery.

Rachel quickly learns that the murder victim was rather universally hated by his colleagues. He destroyed the dream of becoming an author for one of them and destroyed their trust in men for the other. A note discovered by Rachel also seems to indicate that he was attempting blackmail on someone.

When it is discovered that illustrations from some of the rare books have been stolen, the suspect pool widens to include the scholars who have been using the library. And all of the visiting scholars seem to have money troubles and motives for theft.

I liked the characters in this story. Rachel is eager to be a detective since she is currently frustrated with her current assignment to write hymns. Her sidekick Magda is feeling resentful that she wasn't asked to infiltrate the library and tensions are building between the two best friends.

I liked the details about rare books and the French national library. I liked that Rachel and Magda felt frustration as they were searching for information about their suspects. I could also feel the frustration of Bousicault as Rachel kept thinking she was more important to the investigation than she was and kept getting in the way of the police investigation.

This was a nice cozy with a great setting. It is also the second in a series but stands alone quite well.

Favorite Quote:
"I know, I know. But --" Rachel took another, smaller, swallow, then put down the glass. "First of all, I hate to say it, but he's right: I do want to know how the story ends, and I don't want someone to tell me. I want to see it for myself."

"Or make it happen," Magda pointed out.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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