"...when it comes to books, conventional morality doesn't exist."
The Club Dumas is ostensibly a mystery, but the real mystery here is the depth of our obsession with books, not just for what is contained therein, but also for their physical selves: the luxurious vellum or shagreen bindings, the fading gilt letters on their spines, the linen papers that would stay fresh for three hundred years, the rare first editions and complete serials that cost a small fortune. And what is written inside can change our lives, influences our perception of reality and even drives us mad with forbidden knowledge.
The other mystery inherent in all narratives is the narrator. How faithful is he to the reality of his subject? How much embellishment does he add to the bare bones of the story? Is he telling us the unvarnished truth or instead coddles us with beautiful lies? Did Borja ever meet the devil? Who really killed Enrique Taillefer? Was the girl who called herself Irene Adler really the devil incarnate? How reliable is Boris Balkan, the 'nearly omniscient' narrator?
A page-turner of a mystery with some loose ends. The conclusion is either briliant or a cop-out, depending on your taste.