Sunday, November 13, 2016
Bodies in a Bookshop - R. T. Campbell
A little while ago, my friend Peggy reviewed another R. T. Campbell book, Unholy Dying. She made it sound so good that I had to find a copy. I did, and I added Bodies in a Bookshop to my order. What reader can resist a mystery about a bookshop.
How can you not love a book that starts: 'I don't know what came over me. It wasn't as if there were not enough books in the house to begin with. There were books on the floor, books on all the tables, books on the beds - and in the beds if one wasn't careful.' The narrator, Max Boyle, then goes out to find a book he wants to read - and ends up in several bookshops, with several bags of books. Until he finds two bodies in a bookshop. Even then, he's careful to package up the books he's found there and write his name on the package so whomever inherits the store will know to contact him about buying the books.
The mystery revolves around stolen books and prints of a certain degree of pornographic imagery. At the same time, it's a humorous book. 'I had rarely heard a man say less at greater length.' In addition to Max, there is his employer, Professor John Stubbs, a Scottish botanist, and Chief Inspector Reginald F. Bishop (The Bishop), of Scotland Yard. All three collaborate to nab the killer.
I'm not one of those readers who tries to figure out who did it. I'm happy to lazily wait for the killer to be revealed. But I did figure this one out on page 148. That didn't make the rest of the book uninteresting.
I liked the characters and I will go on to read Unholy Dying.