I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.
This is the series that changed my career path (I hope).
I've been in IT in one shape or form since '89 and it was never a field that particularly interested me, I was just always good at it. I was well past the stage where I found anything interesting about it at all, when I happened to pick up the first book in this series, Homicide in Hardcover. The MC is a bookbinder and the story is thoughtfully laced with explanations about repair, restoration, and conservation. Reading it, I thought, "right, I want to learn how to do this". I found courses and a teacher who was willing to let me apprentice with her and now I'm on my way; I still have heaps to learn and I'm still in IT, but there's a light at the end of my tunnel!
All this to say, I'm slightly biased when it comes to this series and my review might reflect that.
Brooklyn Wainwright, bookbinder, restorer, conservator is now temporarily on the show This Old Attic as their book appraiser:
Her first subject is a very valuable first-edition copy of the classic children’s story The Secret Garden, which is owned by a flower vendor named Vera. Once she hears what her book is worth, Vera is eager to have Brooklyn recondition it for resale. But a furious man viciously accosts Brooklyn, claiming that Vera found the first edition at his garage sale, and he wants it back.
In the days that follow, several violent incidents occur on the set, and Brooklyn is almost killed, leaving both her and her security expert boyfriend, Derek, shaken. And then Brooklyn visits Vera’s flower shop…and discovers her dead.
I love these books. The characters are all smart, independent and some of them are very quirky. Brooklyn doesn't take herself too seriously and she thinks rationally, instead of haring off and doing stupid things. She and her boyfriend Derek are great together - and he has stopped calling her Darling quite so often (it got rather ridiculous for a book or two in the middle). He's a romanticised male lead, to be sure, but I'm ok with that now that he's not quite so sappy. A new neighbour moves in and I spent the entire book waiting for her to end up as part of the murder plot, for no reason at all except that I'm suspicious of new characters in established cozies.
The plot was good. It has a hole or two in it (example: how did the suspect keep finding Brooklyn? He always seemed to know where she was and it was never explained.) But overall it was a good puzzle. The suspects are obvious, but the story isn't. Nothing is really clear until the end.(show spoiler)
I devoured this book in a day. It's a fast, fun read with entertaining dialogue, a fantastic setting (San Francisco) and a plot done well enough to keep my attention and leave me wanting the next book sooner rather than later.