MYSTERY

The Books of the Dead

Crooked Lane. (Death in Paris, Bk. 2). Oct. 2019. 320p. ISBN 9781643851570. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781643851587. M
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Curiosity gets the best of American expat Rachel Levis when she steps into a Paris restroom and finds a dead body. Guy Laurent, who worked in the rare books room at the Bibliothèque Nationale, was strangled; most of his coworkers had a reason to dislike him, but none will talk to Capitaine Boussicault. So Boussicault asks Rachel to volunteer at the library, blend in, and investigate, with a trusted security guard nearby. Rachel learns one colleague is a jilted lover and another is a writer betrayed. And did Guy want the department head’s job? When it’s discovered that pages are being torn out and stolen from irreplaceable library books, Rachel wonders if blackmail or briberty was on the table. Then the body count increases. Rachel becomes an active investigator working with police, but Boussicault removes her from the investigation for misunderstanding her assignment, and Rachel and her friend Magda charge into an investigation of their own.
VERDICT Bernhard’s second series mystery (after Death in Paris) is another charming amateur investigator tale. For readers for Bernhard’s previous novel and fans of Mary Kay Andrews or Laura Childs.

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