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The Bookwoman's Last Fling

(Cliff Janeway #5)

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  1,997 ratings  ·  208 reviews
As a young man, New York Times bestselling author John Dunning earned his living for several years working behind the scenes on the racetrack circuit. Now he brings his memories of the horse world and his expertise in collectible books to this mesmerizing new Bookman novel rich with the lore of both books and horses. . . .

Denver bookman Cliff Janeway would have liked Can
Kindle Edition, 528 pages
Published May 9th 2006 by Scribner
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3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,997 ratings  ·  208 reviews

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John Dunning's Cliff Janeway series ranks among my top favorites in mystery/detective series. When I think of Dunning an inevitable comparison takes place in my little grey cells: if you like Dick Francis you will love John Dunning. Why the comparison? What I often find delightful in fiction is not just the story itself; what delights is the acquisition of knowledge on a particular subject. Dick Francis in addition to handing his readers a well crafted mystery delights his readers with his thoro ...more
Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This hardcover is 337 pp from Scribner, 2006 Library Loan (not 500 pp)
I have not read the Janeway books in order, so I am missing a bit of background info with regard to his relationship with Erin, his lawyer partner in the Denver bookstore. Otherwise, not a real problem in reading this as stand alone if you love books and horses. Dunning knows his subject matter in both areas.

The first 150 pages were really engaging as the characters were introduced. The initial contact to hire him on a book va
Aug 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fans of previous "Bookman" novels by John Dunning will be equally captivated by The Bookwoman's Last Fling: A Cliff Janeway Novel (Cliff Janeway Novels). This offering is just as witty, literate and informative a tome as his previous ventures. This time out the reader not only gets a lesson in the appraisal and valuation of rare juvenile books (from Winnie the Pooh to Nancy Drew) but we are also treated to an inside look at the racing game (seems Dunning worked behind the scenes at a few racetra ...more
Benjamin Thomas
I had been putting off reading this one for quite a while because I knew it was the last (so far) novel by John Dunning and of the Bookman series. To be honest I had also put it off a little due to many reviews that said it just wasn't quite up to the standards of the previous novels in the series.

My experience, however, was a little different. I thought it got off to a great start, with lots of scenes where we readers get to wallow in the book collecting world that is so paramount in Cliff Jane
Nov 27, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery fans
Shelves: mysteries
Like the other Goodreads reviewers who commented on this book, I really enjoyed John Dunnings previous books---what could be more compelling for a mystery fan and avid reader than a good suspense story centered around books?

This novel is entertaining, but wasn't as interesting to me as Dunning's other books because he veered away from the bookseller's world and entered the racing circuit.

I highly recommend The Bookman's Promise and the Sign of the Book----then, if you can't get enough of the pro
Aug 30, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: completed
Dunning does a great job re-creating the environment found around a racetrack. In this case, a major portion of the bookman's snooping takes place at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco area and Santa Anita in Los Angeles. Dunning does a WONDERFUL job of describing racetrack life, horses, people who work around horses, owners, etc. Dunning gets the horse stuff especially right. In fact, he does it so well that I could almost smell the straw, the manure, the equine sweat, etc. I could see and in so ...more
The main appeal surrounding John Dunning's books is the insight into the darker aspects of bookstores and book collecting. Dunning's protagonist, Cliff Janeway, is a retired cop-turned-bookseller; he is often searched out for his detective work in solving cases involving book theft, forgery, etc.

In the most recent Janeway book Dunning takes a slightly different turn. Instead of dealing primarily with the book world he ventures into California to throw in this new plot twist - horse racing. There
I did not enjoy this book as much as the other two Cliff Janeway novels I have read. I would have given this book only 2 stars except that I like the Cliff Janeway charater so much.

This book has much less to do with the book trade than the others, and seems to have Cliff going off in a different direction in the end. You can almost sense the author going off in a different direction also, and one that is much less appealing to me. Darker, more hard-boiled, more Sam Spade, less Perry Mason. This
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another great Cliff Janeway detective novel! I was engaged the entire time and found the plot well done. It was a little disappointing that it didn't take place in Denver and focused more on horses then books, but I still greatly enjoyed it (also, I like horses too!) I was sorry to finish it because this is the last Cliff Janeway and I've now read all of them!
Tommy L. Barton
Apr 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
John Dunning’s style - Very Entertaining

Mr. Dunning makes me feel as if he is an old friend. All his characters are well thought out and seem very real to me. I would rank his work among the very best in the mystery/thriller genre.
Betsey Stahler
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery, horses
This is the final book in the Cliff Janeway series written by John Dunning. I have really enjoyed the series and am sad there aren't anymore. This is one of those cases why I wonder why these books weren't on the best-seller lists. Why do people read books by James Patterson (not really by him anymore) when they could be reading John Dunning? Why? This one aspect of the publishing arena that I just don't understand.
A Sad Surprise, August 1, 2012
By Ellen Rappaport (Florida)
This review is from: The Bookwoman's Last Fling (Cliff Janeway Novels) (Paperback)
I've read several of the cliff Janeway novels and thoroughly enjoyed them. They not only held my interest all the way through...I became involved in the plot and with cliff Janeway on his journey's. The unraveling of his mysteries regarding rare book collections had depth and the information given by this talented author added to the suspense.

Oct 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the fifth and last Cliff Janeway mystery, a series I've enjoyed immensely. Cliff Janeway is an ex-Denver cop who has become a book dealer in Denver who also hunts down antique books and is often hired to estimate costs of antique books. He also still becomes involved in mysteries, often with a book-theme. In this story, he travels to Idaho to help estimate the value of an estate's books and also to solve a mystery; some of the books have been disappearing and being replaced by cheaper ed ...more
Sep 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A review on the back cover refers to Dick Francis and I can certainly see the similarity in this Dunning book. Given the earlier Bookman stories, I don't know where it came from! It got a bit slow in the middle but was still very good and had a rather surprising conclusion. However, I do prefer the earlier books in the series where the book business is primary to the story rather than secondary or tertiary.
Dec 26, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was my last fling with a John Dunning novel, I was a drag until last few pages & relief to finish.
Apr 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Slow book, too much about horses and not enough detecting.
Janeway is hired to appraise part of an estate, a collection of first-edition children's books amassed by a woman who died 20 years before. Now the husband has died, and his children want to distribute the money, but first, everything has to be totalled up.
Early on, the case has some interesting bits including discovery that someone has been slowly replacing some of the books with cheap duplicate
sharon mason
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
5th book in a doozy of a series

This is the last book in a series of five and after reading them all, it's the first I've reviewed. Maybe my reasoning is weird but I knew after the first, I would read them all and I wanted to save my words more as a postscript rather than a review. It has been one adventure after another traipsing after Cliff Janeway, radical cop, bookseller, book cop. Keeping him away from being gunshot was a failed endeavor. Even his girlfriends had great difficulty. But he has
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I cannot compare it to the other Cliff Janeway books as I checked this out on a whim from the library. It certainly has interesting information about rare books and if you are into horses/racing that too. However, so little of it moves the story forward. It is slow, plodding and even the denouement felt lackluster. I didn't particularly empathize with most of the characters and actively disliked a number of them which doesn't make for pleasant reading. And so it goes.

I would not actively avoid D
Enjoyed the audiobook of this story read by George Guidall. I have to say his reading was excellent! I'm attempting to branch out and take in more books by utilizing different formats. I've not had much luck with audiobooks in the past but perhaps this had a lot to do with the type of book and the narrator. This attempt was a pleasant surprise. I thoroughly enjoyed the narration, and while the story itself wasn't particularly memorable it was a nice distraction while on my way to work or running ...more
Garden Girl
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I enjoy these Cliff Janeway book mysteries. This one is set for the most part in racing stables.
Janeway is hired to catalog and evaluate a recently deceased bibliophile's fabulous book collection.
And then, in a by-the-way fashion, becomes hired to discover who murdered the bibliophile's wife 20 years ago. She was also a consummate book collector and the family has noticed that some of her books have gone missing.
We who love books can imagine rooms lined with book shelve with many first editions
May 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-series
Sixth in the Cliff Janeway series, this one has him more involved with horse racing than with books, although the bookwoman of the title may have been murdered and Janeway gets a job behind the scenes at a racetrack to investigate. The daughter of Candice Geiger, a woman who had collected rare children's books from an early age, thinks that her mother's death from anaphylactic shock may have been intentional, especially since her father's death and the subsequent disappearance of random books. N ...more
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am always skeptical of books that are part of a series because I feel the stories can sometimes get stale. This one was #5 in the series, so you see where I am going with this! What a pleasant surprise! Your head will spin with this one! I was blind-sided on page 326 of a 337 pager!!!! Filled with murder, mayhem, mystery, and suspense! What a cast of weird characters! I loved that two totally unrelated subjects, horse racing and rare books, were interwoven in this book! I can relate to the obs ...more
Shiela Rozich
Finally finished listening to this book. As always, full of information and action, this time not only about books but about racing! Fun!
The ending was disappointing, however. There are no further Janeway books that I am aware but the ending leaves us dangling. Perhaps there will be more?
Feb 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Ok not enough on book scouting

Plot s bit weak and contrived. Characters could be better drawn. Protagonist motivation seems a bit weird. Interesting insight into the lives of those who work in horse racing.
Laurel Wicke
Picked this up on my audible library account without realizing I was jumping into the middle of a series. Still, it read independently enough. But it didn’t necessarily inspire me to run out and read all of them.
Wendy Hearder-moan
A good book -and a good series - for mystery-loving bibliophiles. I learned something about bibliomania too. Reminiscent of Dick Francis’s books.
John Dunbar
Good read. Left room for a Cliff Janeway #6! Lets hope!!
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, fiction
I really enjoy the protagonist. A former cop turned bookseller is an interesting concept. This story seemed to ramble a bit at times. Overall, a good easy read.
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really like it - yes - Cliff is a little crazy, but always interesting.
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good whodunit!
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John Dunning was born in 1942 in Brooklyn, NY. He was raised in Charleston, SC, is married, and has two adult children.

John always wanted to write, but was a poor student. He left high school in the tenth grade, partly because of an inability to concentrate and absorb lectures. Several years ago he was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD), a malady that could not have been imagined in t

Other books in the series

Cliff Janeway (5 books)
  • Booked To Die (Cliff Janeway, #1)
  • The Bookman's Wake (Cliff Janeway, #2)
  • The Bookman's Promise (Cliff Janeway, #3)
  • The Sign of the Book (Cliff Janeway, #4)
“What's that old cowboy saying? Never was a horse that couldn't be rode, never was a man who couldn't be throwed.” 10 likes
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