Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore and Other Mysteries

December 7-14

I started out this week reading The American Girl by Kate Horsley. An unusual and interesting tale described as a “modern day gothic tale” on the back cover, this novel did hold my attention, and was super creepy in theme and description. Set in France, the details of small-town living from the perspective of an exchange student added interesting elements to the story.

The Vanishing Year by Kate Moretti, a book that’s been in my TBR pile for a while, was the follow-up—I was in the mood for mystery, and from the cover this looked appropriately weird and mysterious. The opening chapter seemed a bit 50 Shades of Gray in tone to me, but I persevered and found it a different kind of mystery. Although the story was interesting and the New York setting was fun, I found some elements of the story farfetched (for me) and I was disappointed by dead ends (What happened to her college roommate who appeared and then disappeared from her life?). There were SO many twists and turns I felt this could have been the stories of two different people in fact, even more than the duplication required by the story elements.

My third book of this week was Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore and I loved it so much! I’m a sucker for stories about books and bookstores, and this one had great elements of mystery, a secret society, unusual but plausible characters, and a very original take on a classic storyline. I kept wanting to sit and read it through, but was insanely busy—and also wanted to stretch out the reading experience. I ordered it for a young nephew for Christmas, since I think it has a super combination of bookishness, tech creativity, and elements of surprise. He’ll love it or hate it I guess.

Finally, another mystery: The Lost Boy, by Camilla Lackberg. I read everything I can find from Scandinavian mystery writers, after the thrill of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. This was less compelling than those stories (pretty much everything has been), but I adore the Scandinavian setting, glimpses into Nordic culture, and interesting problem solving in this police procedural writing.



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