Brooklyn is a bookbinder who specializes in rare -book restoration. That's why she covets a hard-to-find version of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in the bookstore in the Courtyard, a building that houses neighborhood shops. But, the owner refuses to sell it to her. In fact, he and the shop's co-owner argue over that book, just as they seem to fight over everything. It puts a damper on her mood. But, it doesn't destroy her as much as finding two people buried under shelves at the Rabbit Hole, the local health food store. One disaster after another seems to be hitting the Courtyard, fights, graffiti, and, now, murder.
Brooklyn is just worried that her meeting with her future in-laws could be another one of those disasters. She's afraid she won't be dignified enough for the British couple. And, what are they going to think about her hippie mother? Fortunately, she has Alice playing cards to make for a spring book arts festival as a distraction. That doesn't mean she's forgotten about the murder almost next door.
While Carlisle includes information about the papermaking process, the charm in this particular mystery comes from the family interaction. The Courtyard building, with its collection of small shops adds an intimacy to the story and the murder. Brooklyn Wainwright thinks of it as "A whirlwind week of murder, mayhem and in-laws." Cozy mystery fans may find it a delightful fall into Brooklyn's enchanted world.
Kate Carlisle's website is www.katecarlisle.com
Once Upon a Spine by Kate Carlisle. Berkley Prime Crime. 2017. ISBN 9780451477729 (hardcover), 288p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.