An original tale of a mysterious suicide in a bookseller’s shop, involving intense bibliophiles; both those that man the shop and those that inhabit the shelves to feed their habit but seldom can afford to buy.
Lydia, who has returned to the town that once was the scene of her nightmare childhood, had formed a bond with a Bookfrog – one of those almost-homeless that consistently find solace and succour between the book covers – Joseph Molino. When he hangs himself between the bookshelves on the 3rd floor, and Lydia finds his body within minutes of him taking his life, she is devastated. Very slowly, she is presented with clues that lead her to messages from Joseph himself, and to find out why he took his own life, she must follow them.
Her father, who had fled the town after the bloody murder of a family by the Hammerman, where Lydia herself was present but spared, joined the prison service. As he withdraws into himself, he no longer supplies the comfort she needs and craves. They become estranged. She knows that the investigator, who never found the identity of the killer but always believed that it was her father, hasn’t given up when he contacts her again to find out if she has remembered anything more from that ghastly night.
Her childhood friend, Raj, comes back into her life, both complicating it as well as being a comforting support, but the shocking truth begins to emerge even as Lydia starts to solve Joseph’s messages. These are intricately clever, but I found them a slightly unnecessary embellishment.
Be that as it may, this was a good read; tense and well-twisted, as the past and the present begin to intertwine.
Thank you to for the ARC to which this review is a frank and honest appraisal.