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Bibliophile Mystery #1

Homicide in Hardcover

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Book expert Brooklyn Wainwright discovers that murder is always a bestseller in the first novel in the New York Times bestselling Bibliophile Mystery series.

Brooklyn Wainwright is a skilled surgeon. Sure, her patients might smell like mold and have spines made of leather, but no ailing book is going to die on her watch. The same can’t be said of Abraham Karastovsky, Brooklyn’s friend and former employer.

On the eve of a celebration for his latest book restoration, Brooklyn finds her mentor lying in a pool of his own blood. With his final breath Abraham leaves Brooklyn with a cryptic message, “Remember the Devil,” and gives her a priceless—and supposedly cursed—copy of Goethe’s Faust for safe-keeping.

Brooklyn suddenly finds herself accused of murder and theft, thanks to Derek Stone, the humorless—and annoyingly attractive—British security officer who found her kneeling over the body. Now she has to read the clues left behind by her mentor if she is going to restore justice…

289 pages, Kindle Edition

First published February 3, 2009

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About the author

Kate Carlisle

103 books2,469 followers
Golden Heart and Daphne du Maurier Award winning author Kate Carlisle spent over twenty years working in television production as an Associate Director for game and variety shows, including The Midnight Special, Solid Gold and The Gong Show. She traveled the world as a Dating Game chaperone and performed strange acts of silliness on The Gong Show. She also studied acting and singing, toiled in vineyards, collected books, joined a commune, sold fried chicken, modeled spring fashions and worked for a cruise ship line, but it was the year she spent in law school that finally drove her to begin writing fiction. It seemed the safest way to kill off her professors. Those professors are breathing easier now that Kate spends most of her time writing near the beach in Southern California where she lives with her perfect husband.

A lifelong love of old books and an appreciation of the art of bookbinding led Kate to create the Bibliophile Mysteries, featuring rare book expert Brooklyn Wainwright, whose bookbinding and restoration skills invariably uncover old secrets, treachery and murder. Kate is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers and Romance Writers of America. She loves to drink good wine and watch other people cook.

Despite the appearance of overnight success, Kate's dream of publication took many, many years to fulfill.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,025 reviews
Profile Image for James.
Author 19 books3,484 followers
May 9, 2021
I've been a fan of Kate Carlisle for several years, having read her Fixer-Upper series since its beginning. After finding myself finally current on ~25 series that I am reading, I decided to pick up a few new ones, rounding out those from authors I already enjoy. First up was Homicide in Hardcover of her Bibliophile series. A good friend has been recommending it to me for years, so I dove right in yesterday after work and before I needed to start cooking dinner. I finished in bed that evening!

Brooklyn grew up on a commune in California with five siblings. She learned how to repair books at a young age and built a career out of it. A few years after a disagreement with her mentor, she's been out on her own and developing her business acumen and astute reputation. The man re-enters her life with apologies, but by the end of the evening, he's found dead in the library during a small gala. Whodunnit? Of course, I would love this series... it's about books, takes place in San Francisco where I once lived, and has a load of sarcastic characters.

As a first in series, it's strong. I enjoyed the banter between Brooklyn and her friends and colleagues. Meeting her ex-fiance and parents was a good intro... and we've learned a bunch about her childhood and siblings. Nothing too overwhelming. I thoroughly loved being back in a setting I know quite well, from Marin County to the various areas within the SF city. It's described perfectly and offers a beautiful backdrop. The supporting cast has potential too. As for this mystery, it was chock full of strange angles, red herrings, and clever mixed messages.

I learned a lot of about bookbinding, caring for spines and pages, and Faust. I studied Faust in a German literature class two decades ago, which made this a fun trip down memory lane. I think this will grow to be a top series for me, and it's been added into my rotation, so expect to see more of them this year while I attempt to catch up by the time the newest is released.
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,116 reviews1,979 followers
August 10, 2016
I have to admit to being a bit disappointed as I did have high hopes for this one. A mystery where the main character is a book restorer - sounds good to me!
Well there was a reasonably intriguing mystery and a couple of murders, and the main character did restore books for a living. So far so good.
However the book fell down with its style. Our smart, book restoring main character was written as some kind of idiot with a death wish who nevertheless had sexy, good looking men falling over her. The dialogue was supposed to be smart and funny but it never quite hit the mark and it certainly did not match with the serious bits when she occasionally got down to her job.
Basically the book was okay and I read it through to the end. The last few pages were really odd. I guess I am supposed to go on to the next book but I probably will not.
Profile Image for Sara.
35 reviews2 followers
December 15, 2022
Maybe I'm too picky. Maybe I tend to read books more as a writer than a casual reader. Maybe I'm nuts. I don't know. But I do know that Kate Carlisle's Homicide in Hardcover didn't live up to my expectations.

The story is set in the world of book restoration and bibliophiles, literary museums and high brows. But Carlisle has chosen to write the book in an almost chick-lit style. Her protagonist (the book is written in first person) drops cutesy cliches left and right and indulges in way to much soul searching. This fluffy, flirty tone just doesn't tally with the elegant, sophisticated, upper-crust world of first editions and gallery openings. Granted, the reader learns a bit about the process of restoring old books responsibly but, in the words of the protagonist, this process comes across more as a little girl playing grown up than as a professional sharing work she enjoys.

I gave this book two stars rather than one because, despite the problems with the overall tone of the book Carlisle has created a fairly interesting cast of characters. Although I don't think it was necessary for her to introduce all 25+ of them within the first two chapters. It would have been much more effective had she introduced each character at his or her natural entry into the narrative.

I'm keeping in mind that this is a first novel in a series. I will probably even read the second installment despite my disappointment in this book because of the characters and to see Carlisle grow as an author. All in all, this was an acceptable first novel but I do believe that with a slight change in tone and one or two additional drafts it could have been much better.
651 reviews110 followers
July 20, 2020
I have a small stash of cozy mysteries that have been waiting for me to pick up when the time was right. I picked this one and have to say I sure am glad that I did! The problems that I had with the genre "cozy mystery" did not present itself here (infact I have to say that this read like no other cozy mystery I have read) and I had a fantastic time reading through the pages! I absolutly loved the characters, the place and Brooklyn's job (of which the author included fascinating facts). I am planning on trying to get the second in the series to see if the magic continues. 4.5 stars.
Profile Image for Mim.
47 reviews
February 9, 2012
There are spoilers. Don't read this review if you don't want to know.

I really wanted to like this book because the protagonist is bookbinder and I find that subject area interesting. I like intelligence in my hero/heroine and Brooklyn Wainwright is just too stupid to live. This book is allegedly a mystery but she spent most of the book doing the following activities a.) eating b.)fainting at the sight of blood c.) getting rescued by men and d.)committing book theft. Right before she discovers the body she comes across several people, but never questions any of them at any point in the book as to why they were there. One of those people is her mother. You would think if someone you cared about was just murdered and you wanted to find out who the killer was you would question the people who were last at the scene especially if you had access to them. This book is fluff. Not good fluff like cotton candy at the state fair. Not thrilling fluff like emptying the lint filter on your dryer. It is the lint between your toes fluff you get from wearing socks, it is --meh-- fluff. In this book two people die from getting shot, yet the main character, (who finally solves the "mystery" when she understands her friend's dying words) decides to antagonize the killer and meet him/her. All I could think was, "Seriously?!?!?! You're going to aggravate the killer and set up a meeting with them without some sort of weapon or backup?!?!" Then she gets saved by a pizza box!!!!! Seriously. If your definition of mystery is someone gets murdered at the beginning of the story and you find out who is the murderer at the end of the book, then this book is a mystery. If your definition of mystery is a book where the protagonist solves a mystery using clues, logic and their intelligence (not when they suddenly remember the meaning of their friend's cryptic last words) then this is not a mystery.

Also her family is made up of twee new agey commune dwellers that I've only seen in Hollywood movies.

I will not read any more books by this author mystery or otherwise.

Profile Image for Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*.
2,379 reviews1,051 followers
February 28, 2018
3.5 stars

Homicide in Hardcover is a cute, quirky start to a mystery series.

This isn't a cozy about a bookshop owner, but a book restorer who repairs valuable tomes that have degraded with age and abuse. It opens with a touching scene where she reunites with her mentor, her friend, only to find him brutally murdered moments later.

Her internal monologue and family left me giggling, giving the series needed humor as it breaks between the tragedy of the murder. I loved the protagonist's quick wit and comebacks, her sarcasm in relationships and life beliefs, her introverted personality and work obsessed personality. The far out new age family and circle is a fun accompaniment. The writing style is a winner.

The mystery side is decent - there's some worthy misdirecting, a little actual investigating, and of course tricky tangling with some colorful detectives. It wasn't obvious who the murderer was, but the villain made sense in the end when the veil is lifted away. There's a tense scene or two that made the book hard to put down, but overall this is a rather sedate mystery pace.

Despite humor and quirk, the book balances the subject of murder and investigating evenly enough. I think I'll like the series, but the book didn't engross me yet. I'm thinking the next, especially considering how fun the characters are, will do the trick. I hope so since I bought the next three books already. Maybe a risky gamble, but how can a book-lover and mystery lover resists a bibliophile mystery series?
September 17, 2020
I wish we would replace the inane word “cozy”. I don’t judge fiction on being heavy or light. My gauge is: do I like it? Were my pages zooming? I also refuse to dock ratings for 'not being what I thought’. That isn’t on an author’s head! That was true of “Homicide In Hardcover” but I review what a novel turns out to BE. Irrelevant to the front cover, Brooklyn has no cat nor mood-evoking library and a humorous tone pervaded more than a mysterious one. But I like her, her best friend, the neighbours; heck, even her ex-fiancé is endearing. People seldom comment on language flavour but natural narration is a gift. Not repeating “she said” lets conversations flow. Kate Carlisle so frequently caught me off guard by how funny she was, I forgave low level suspense.

A professional book restorer loses her childhood mentor to murder and finishes his pricey contract. Few know about communes and I enjoyed that enlightenment too. They aren't hippies, although the establishment of new villages require makeshift shelters. They are essentially church members - of eastern traditions - who live close together; like ethnic groups or the Spiritualists in New York, USA. They are a neighbourhood that works together and profits from their businesses. The back story is that Brooklyn’s childhood community outside San Francisco, was successful in wine. This history goes no further than sprinkling a unique touch and doesn't monopolize the story.

Rare is the author who vividly paints her characters’ setting or personality without sacrificing the key thread. Different from general fiction, mystery must keep spurring the plot. Kate accomplishes this with excellence. I have become a fan; with a fervour usually deriving from paranormal awe, or gothic spookiness. She could publish a phonebook and I would be on board!
Profile Image for Melike.
357 reviews
December 11, 2022
3.5 stars

A good start to the Bibliophile series. I liked our protagonist and found the parts about her parents and the way she grew up hilarious. The dialogues with her mom were especially funny. The tidbits about bookbinding and restoration were interesting. I will definitely continue with the series.
Profile Image for BLynne.
164 reviews11 followers
June 25, 2017
I enjoyed this cozy mystery and I like the lead character Brooklyn. I think this will be another series that I will start to reading more of. I also like the character Derek. The information regarding how Brooklyn grew up in what sounds like a hippie commune sounded interesting and made the lead character a bit more interesting.
Profile Image for Anastasia.
1,302 reviews63 followers
September 21, 2019
Homicide in hardcover by Kate Carlisle is the first book in the Bibliophile Mystery series. Brooklyn Wainwright is a book restorer and when reconnecting with her mentor and teacher Abraham Karatovsky, she finds him dying of a gunshot wound. With his dying breath he tells her to "beware the devil" and gives her a priceless copy of Goethe's Faust for safe keeping. An excellent start to the series which I enjoyed very much. I loved meeting Brooklyn and her quirky family and I learnt a lot about book restoration. I was a bit let down with some of the main characters actions which were a bit silly. Otherwise a very interesting mystery.
Profile Image for Tari.
2,063 reviews67 followers
January 27, 2020
I've been collecting this series for a couple of years and finally decided it was about time to read the first. I just love all these characters! Brooklyn and Derek make a dynamic couple that's for sure, and Robin was great as Brooklyn's bestie. It was a real twist with the killer at the end and there was an exciting showdown. I had to laugh at Brooklyn's mom chucking a pizza box at the killer.

I wonder if the mysterious Gabriel will show up in any future books? He was interesting for sure and left a little tiny question, nothing super important, more my curiosity. I'm hoping not to let tons of time get away before I read the second book!
Profile Image for Jerry.
4,617 reviews54 followers
October 14, 2021
I expected this to be a light-hearted, cozy mystery. While the violence was only slightly bloody and never graphic, the excessive profanity--including one f-word as well as countless misuses of God's name...and that's not even all of it!--and some crude references ruined this for me. Not only that, but, with the characters' bitter rivalries and petty arguing, I felt like I was watching a trashy reality show instead. I won't bother with any more books in this series.
Profile Image for Kirsten .
1,565 reviews251 followers
May 15, 2017
Interlibrary loan courtesy of the Everett Public Library, Everett WA

A much better than average cozy mystery! I really enjoyed it. There was a lot of action, quirky characters, humor, and more than the average dollop of romance. And books!!! The only thing that would improve it was if there had been dogs. But, no, just cats. (Ugh.)

Highly recommend it, I will definitely be reading more in this series.
Profile Image for Lorraine.
1,002 reviews79 followers
April 2, 2018
I have finally read #1 in The Bibliophile Mysteries, Homicide in Hardcover by Kate Carlisle, and I was introduced to the main characters of the series & a few other intriguing characters. I have read most of this series & being a book lover, I think it is a super fine series with characters such as Brooklyn Wainwright, an expert bookbinder, Derek Stone, former commander in th British Navy and a security wizard, Brooklyn’s family & the members of the commune started with Deadheads in the 70s where Brooklyn’s mom & dad brought up their six kids, employees of The Covington Library in San Francisco, & Brooklyn’s neighbors and friends. I believe that I have a very complete picture of the series now. I actually feel as though these characters are friends of mine! I must say that in this book, Brooklyn gets knocked around quite a bit. (Oh, her poor head!) She also is able to avoid ending up dead with the help of her friends especially Derek as she manages to get herself into some very tight situations. A very enjoyable book and series, I think! 41/4 stars. Congrats to Ms. Carlisle!
Profile Image for Ian.
1,336 reviews188 followers
February 16, 2015
After reading A High End Finish I had high hopes for this book. Unfortunately it never quite manages to shine. I really liked heroine of the story, Brooklyn, despite her occasional TSTL moment but she's about all I liked. The hero was honestly a bit of a douche ... but at least I noticed him. Most of the characters were just plain forgettable, and yes I did forget one of the characters and it took me a few chapters to remember who she was.
Profile Image for Seizure Romero.
455 reviews139 followers
January 31, 2016
I suppose it's partially my fault, but they *did* lie to me.

See, I'm a sucker for biblio-mysteries, and this book has "A Bibliophile Mystery" on the cover. I'm a bibliophile! I like mysteries! It also is categorized as "Obsidian Mystery" on the spine (this is the lie. Half-truth at best). I swear I read the back cover copy, but I somehow missed the key phrase that would have set off my internal warning system. That phrase? "...the humorless--and annoyingly attractive--British security officer...." That's it. Every book I've read that has anything to that effect in the blurb has been a romance novel in denial. Plot gives way to tingly nonsense, ridiculous complications, etc. That's fine if the book is categorized as "Romantic Suspense" or something similar, because then I can place it back on the shelf, move along, thank you very much, nothing to see here. Also, lest you think me curmudgeonly, I DON'T HATE TINGLY NONSENSE. With the right person, I'm quite the fan. I just don't want or need to read about it when I'm trying to enjoy my biblio-mysteries, ok?

Really, we can all just get along. As long as publishers label their goddam books properly.
Profile Image for Christine.
492 reviews33 followers
June 5, 2019
This is the first book in Kate Carlisle's bibliophile series. Brooklyn Wainwright has started her own book restoration business. She and her friend, Robin, are attending an event where her mentor is found murdered. This was such a fun book. I loved Brooklynn's character and the side characters in the book were great as well. The plot of the mystery was great and I loved all the twists in the book. I can't wait to read more in this series.
Profile Image for Carrie .
977 reviews445 followers
November 2, 2019
Well dang that had a lot going on in it.

Brooklyn is a book binder/restorer. (Such a cool thing to know) And she is now in charge of restoring Goethe’s Faust only sadly after her long time friend and mentor has been murdered. Now she has a week to fix it, but in that week so much happens. More murder, break ins, more attempted murder and vindictive bitches.

I loved it.
Oh yeah I can't forget our very own 007.. Derick....I wonder will he be in book 2?

Profile Image for Linda.
1,789 reviews33 followers
September 13, 2019
So glad that I’m finally starting this series! I really enjoyed the characters. Brooklyn is very real and I look forward to seeing how her relationships develop. Who knew the world of bookbinding was so cutthroat! The mystery kept me guessing and made for an exciting ending.
Profile Image for Jasi.
202 reviews
May 29, 2021
New to me author, whom I’ve been wanting to read for a while. So glad I finally started a cozy mystery series by Kate Carlisle.
The setting was fun and I learned a few things about book binding. Brooklyn is a great MC, Derek made me swoon, and the mom is a hoot.
Profile Image for John.
Author 270 books158 followers
July 24, 2017
I'm a bit of a sucker for novels involving books and writing, especially mysteries, so I thought this one would be right up my street. Well, it was, sort of -- certainly I read through it fast enough!

My problem with the mystery aspect was that, toward the end, the author was to an extent guilty of coyly holding back information from the reader. My problem with the thriller aspect of it was that the whole great culminatory finale, the scene that was supposed to have me on the edge of my seat, relied on a totally artificial setup: once our heroine has worked out who the kiler is, her reason for calling the murderer first rather than the cops is that she wants to make the murderer squirm a bit before San Francisco's Finest pop on the cuffs. Suicidal or what? Natch, the murderer comes calling with revolver in hand . . .

On the other hand, my problem with the central character, Brooklyn Wainwright, is that she's depicted as an aw-gosh-wow-what-sexy-buns-he-has-turns-my-knees-to-jelly airhead, which may fit some chicklit paradigm of which I wot not but seems unlikely as the dominant thought pattern of a professional book restorer; maybe Brooklyn would encourage a killer to knock her off. Alas, I have analogous problems with most of the book's other characters, too: they seem to be collections of stereotypes rather than actual people.

All of which sounds pretty damning.

On the plus side, this is quite a lot of fun to read, a bit of fluff that held my attention and often enough made me grin even if it never actually set my pulse racing. If I'd been on a long train journey I'd have found it an ideal companion.
534 reviews
June 17, 2009
This was a fun first book! There is lots of information on how book restoration is done and the world of rare books which I enjoyed a great deal. The mystery was fun too, I didn't figure out the correct killer but I was in the right family, and I totally missed the motive! I'll be back to read more of this series.
Profile Image for Kathryn.
1,439 reviews237 followers
July 23, 2018
I enjoyed this book, fun, light, some humour and delightful characters. I am no mystery buff so while the murderer was on my possible list but I admit I had others higher up! I like this book enough to continue on to the next one. Enough said!
Profile Image for Ceki.
375 reviews87 followers
February 6, 2018
I've had so many problems with this one: an abundance of cliches, cringy dialogues, one-dimensional characters, mediocre mystery... Not recommended.
Profile Image for Dawn Michelle.
2,256 reviews
July 5, 2017
I didn't love this one. I didn't hate it either. It was just average for me. I didn't know WHO did it until the end though and that is really what saved this book for me; there were a ton of red herrings and that kept me guessing until the end.
I am not 100% engaged with any of the characters and am hoping that changes as I move forward in this series. Because I will read the next one only because I have learned you cannot judge a first book by its tepid writing. I really like this author's other books so I am willing to take a chance with the second on in this series.
Profile Image for BJ Rose.
733 reviews78 followers
June 12, 2010
Brooklyn believes firmly in her job of book restoration - she refuses to let a good book die, especially if it's a very old classic, even if it's cursed. Enough people have already died when they owned/inherited this book, or were even working on restoring it. The latest victim is Brooklyn's mentor, so she's determined about 3 things: a) the book is not going to kill her because there's no such thing as a curse, b) she is definitely going to finish restoring the book before next week's exhibit, no matter how many other things go wrong, and c) she's going to find out who killed her friend and mentor.

I love a good cozy-mystery, and this one qualifies; it's not the best I've read, but it's well above average, so I'll look forward to continuing this series - especially since I expect to see more of the 3 things I liked about it: 1) more of Brooklyn's family - her parents remind me very much of Alex P. Keaton's parents in Family Ties, and you know there are stories behind sisters who are named Savannah, London, and India, 2) more good cozy-mysteries, and 3) books, books, and more books! She is a book restorer, after all!!
1,328 reviews19 followers
June 7, 2015
Read this today. It was not great. It was a lot of stereotypes, but they didn't all seem to fit together.

The protagonist specializes in book restoration.

Her parents and family run a winery on the commune she grew up at.

Her best friend also grew up there, and is very successful, friendly and fashion-conscious.

She meets a hot Detective/love interest.

She reunites with a mentor just before he's murdered.

There are a lot of pretty awful characters in this. Seriously, this was a case of people being jerks for no reason. And way too many people wanting/trying to kill the protagonist.

Maybe 2.5 stars.

Except that I'm vaguely intrigued and perversely may not to read the next one?

Oh, also, it irritated me beyond belief that not only can the protagonist barely remember to feed her neighbour's cats when she's looking after them, she apparently has no confidence in her ability to keep the plant they gave her as a thank you alive for two days? YOU HAVE TO WORK TO KILL A PLANT IN THAT AMOUNT OF TIME. I don't know, there's a severe lack of common sense going on int his book.
Profile Image for Nicole Romine.
178 reviews8 followers
June 5, 2011
"Homicide in Hardcover" is a cozy mystery with a heroine who loves and restores old books. Given my love for books and the cozy genre, I expected to love this novel. Although there isn't necessarily anything wrong with the plot, somehow it just didn't meet expectations. I think the main problem with this book is its tone. The story is told in first person by the heroine, Brooklyn Wainwright, who is an intelligent and passionate bibliophile Her narration, however, is quite fluffy (stereotypical chick-lit material) and unsophisticated, with lame cliches, new-age soul searching, and a lot of internal dialogue about pizza, ice cream, wine, and hot men. I just found it difficult to shift from that fluff to the highly technical and detailed descriptions about book restoration. It somehow just didn't meld. Overall, a disappointing, but not necessarily bad, read. Considering I had to force myself to finish the book, I won't be reading the next one in the series.
Profile Image for Roxanne (The Novel Sanctuary).
339 reviews225 followers
May 12, 2018
Pretty fun read. I was in a mood to read fluffy amateur female sleuth books and heard about this one in BookTube and thought I'd give it a shot. It was pretty fast paced and funny. It is very tropey, a young white female who is attractive but doesn't seem to consider herself so randomly becomes amateur sleuth and begins to fall for some sexy strong man with connections to law enforcement. It sometimes gets a little redundant with the author randomly describing things that don't really matter to the story but that's not too much of a set back. Overall it's fun, nothing marvelous but I will probably continue with the series.
Profile Image for JoAn.
2,047 reviews1 follower
June 2, 2018
Homicide in Hardcover by Kate Carlisle was an enjoyable beginning to this cozy series. Ms. Carlisle's descriptive writing pulled me into the story as she introduced the characters. Brooklyn is an interesting character that I am looking forward to getting to know much better. I found the details of the book restoration process to be fascinating. I'm glad that I am late to the party on this series because I know that I have plenty to read throughout the summer.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,025 reviews

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