by Cynthia Chow
This week we have a review of the latest Bibliophile Mystery By Kate Carlisle and an interesting Behind the Book interview with Kate about the book. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of The Book Supremacy, a link to purchase it from Amazon, and from an indie bookstore where a portion goes to help support KRL.
The Book Supremacy: A Bibliophile Mystery by Kate Carlisle
Review by Cynthia Chow
Brooklyn Wainwright Stone is still basking in the glow of her Parisian honeymoon when the specialist bookbinder comes across the perfect gift for her security expert husband in the Bouquinistes bookstalls. For a mere seven euros, Brooklyn purchases a 1962 first edition copy of Ian Fleming’s The Spy Who Loved Me, a bit of a wink and a nod to her own former MI6 James Bond-ish spouse. Unfortunately, once home in San Francisco the discovery that the book is worth over $7500 is quickly overshadowed by news that all is not well within Derek Stone’s security business. In an attempt to soothe the discontent being stirred by primarily one employee, they are inspired to engage in a team-building exercise ironically hosted within Pier 39’s all-things-spy gallery SPECTRE. Run by one of Derek’s ex-spy co-worker Owen Gibbons, not only does the warehouse contain a spy-centric bookstore, café, and home-espionage supplies, SPECTRE also runs a variety of Escape Rooms that force participants to work together to solve puzzles before time runs out.
While Brooklyn and her friends are challenged and excel under the pressure to think their way out of a zombie escape room, the non-participation of the challenging employee does little to improve their team’s morale. It’s even worse when a part-time SPECTRE employee and member of an aspiring thriller writing group is found brutally murdered in one of the escape rooms. Not only was the attack captured on video, it also revealed that the Ian Fleming book Brooklyn and Derek lent for a display was the target for an attempted theft. Further intrigue leads them to a plan targeting seven secret ops agents, one of whom is hunting down the rest. Using Brooklyn’s knowledge of books and Derek’s skills as a spy, the couple and their allies hunt down a brutal assassin motivated by greed and willing to cross borders to protect a nefarious plan.
It can’t be emphasized just how much fun this suspenseful, book-themed series has become. Brooklyn’s obsession with meticulous book-mending and preservation is truly fascinating, and the author excels at making her every stitch and specialized glue repair interesting and informative. The less book-nerdy readers will be riveted by the exploits of the former spies, who uncover a plot of blackmail and trail of bodies that surprises even these jaded agents. Brooklyn’s visit home to the town of Dharma gives her some emotional support from her family and wisdom from Guru Bob, but the real fun takes place back in San Francisco. The Fisherman’s Wharf setting is depicted so vividly that readers will feel the chill and taste the fresh fish delicacies prepared in their charming cafes and restaurants. Book-themed clues, a thrilling plot, and witty characters continue to make this a winning blend of spy and cozy mysteries.
Behind the Book with Kate Carlisle:
KRL: I would think that more people know of the Bond movies than the Ian Fleming books. I am a huge fan of the movies, but man, they do not hold up today by being incredibly sexist and racist. But Sean Connery is still hot! So, what drew you to focus on Ian Fleming’s The Spy Who Loved Me in your latest novel?
Kate: As you know, each Bibliophile Mystery centers on a rare or collectible book in the care of bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright. Then I write the story so that the themes pay homage to those of the rare book. Birds in Books of a Feather, when an Audubon book was featured and lots of action in Buried in Books when the featured book was The Three Musketeers. This makes writing the series tons of fun, and I have a wish list of books I’d love to feature in upcoming books.
The Spy Who Loved Me was high on my list because the James Bond series was formative for me. I discovered my brother’s collection when I was young and devoured them, one after the next. I thought it would be a blast to play with spy themes in one of my books. After all, Derek Stone, Brooklyn’s new husband, is a British security expert with a mysterious past. So, I decided it would be the perfect book for Brooklyn to stumble across at a “bouquiniste” in Paris on their honeymoon, in The Book Supremacy. Little does she know that bringing the book back to San Francisco will bring trouble along for the ride!
KRL: Have you ever visited the Spy Museum in Washington, DC? Have you been to “spy shops?” And are you amazed or horrified by the technology that enables people to spy upon one another?
Kate: I haven’t visited the spy museum in DC, but I have visited one in San Francisco. I would say I was both amazed and horrified, not just about the technology that facilitates spying, but at the nature of people to want to spy. I will confess that I’ve eavesdropped on a few conversations in my time – never with any sort of equipment, only when I was sitting at the next table from someone who was having a very interesting conversation in public. In my defence, I’m a writer and eavesdropping is part of the gig!
By the time I left the spy museum, I was feeling a bit paranoid and thought I saw hidden cameras everywhere! I think anyone who spied on me would be disappointed by the mundanity of my daily existence.
KRL: Brooklyn had a very untraditional upbringing in a commune. It’s refreshing that “Guru Bob” truly believes in his loving, peaceful philosophy. Is Dharma a place you would like to live?
Kate: I would love to live in Dharma! I did once live in a commune for a very short time. Dharma is my fantasy town of what it could have been if everything had gone right. I love the idea of people helping each other, that close sense of community.
Plus, wine! Along other lines.
KRL: Do you know if there will be any more Hallmark Movies of your other series?
Kate: There’s nothing on the agenda at the moment that I’m aware. They ran into some scheduling conflicts. I love Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ take on the Fixer-Upper Mysteries, though and I’d love to see more. Jewel and Colin Ferguson do an amazing job of bringing Shannon and Mac to life. They’ve made me very proud.
KRL: I have really enjoyed the movies myself! How many books are there currently in both series?
Kate: The Book Supremacy is the 13th Bibliophile Mystery, and Shot through the Hearth, which will be out in October, will be the 7th Fixer-Upper Mystery. Readers can see all of the books in order on the BOOKS page at www.KateCarlisle.com. I have a bibliography there, as well, that readers can print or save to their computers, tablets or phones.
While they’re at www.KateCarlisle.com, they should check out all the free bonus goodies available in the Secret Room. They’ll find word searches, book cover puzzles, contests, freebies and more.
KRL: What all are you working on bookwise now?
Kate: I recently finished copy edits on Shot through the Hearth (October 29), and now I’m back to work on next year’s Bibliophile Mystery, which will feature Little Women as the rare book that motivates murder.
KRL: What are your future goals with your books? Anything completely new on the horizon?
Kate: I’m living my dream right now, which is writing two ongoing mystery series, releasing a book a year in each series and getting fantastic feedback from the most wonderful readers in the world. I always have the goal of helping new readers to discover me and my books, of course. Thank you for helping to introduce me to the King’s River Life community.
KRL: You are very welcome! Anything else you would like to share?
Kate: I’ve been deeply honored by the amazing reviews coming in for The Book Supremacy, from very prestigious trade publications and Barnes & Noble. I’d love to share a few highlights:
Named one of June’s Best New Mysteries by Barnes & Noble!
“Book lovers and Bond fans won’t want to miss this cozy.”
Publishers Weekly: “Unconventional and intricately plotted, this mystery builds in intensity, while the suspense is relieved by moments involving books, friends, and food… Readers of Carolyn Hart’s Death on Demand series will appreciate.”
Library Journal starred review: “Details about book restoration and spy gadgets add a layer of intrigue to this fascinating “bibliomystery.”
Booklist, a publication of the American Library Association
Thank you so much for your support and enthusiasm for my books. I appreciate all you do to help readers discover books they’ll love.
KRL: You are very welcome! And thanks for joining us.
To enter to win a copy of The Book Supremacy, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “supremacy,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen July 13, 2019. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address (so if you win we can get the book sent right out to you), and if via comment please include your email address. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. A new episode goes up next week and one of Kate’s books will be featured later this year.
Use this link to purchase the book & a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:
You can also use this link to purchase the book on Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases using those links. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.