The City: Atlanta
The Date: 17 June 2015
When a person is a Cozy Mystery Addict, it's probably a safe bet that they are also a Bibliophile. So how on earth is a Cozy Mystery Addict supposed to pass up a series entitled A Bibliophile Mystery? This was my dilemma in 2009 when I picked up the first title in this series. I feel I have to make a slight confession. When I read the synopsis, I wasn't too enthused about beginning a series set in California. Being the worst kind of Eastern Seaboarder - especially after nearly 30 years in New York City - I thought it would be just a little too hippy-dippy for me. Thankfully, the need to satisfy my addiction won out over my groundless prejudice and it's a good thing it did. Now, mind you, my initial reaction wasn't completely unfounded because there is plenty of hippy-dippy in this series: the commune of Dharma, Brooklyn's sage burning, white witch mother, Becky; siblings named after places where they were either conceived or born - not to mention Guru Bob for pete's sake. But it's all written with a lot of heart and a lot of grounding and that makes it lovable, believable and deeply endearing. The main character, Brooklyn, is one of those wonderfully strong, kind cozy heroines that you come to love deeply and root for constantly; especially when it comes to her love interest, Derek Stone.
From the very beginning I loved this series and perhaps one of the reasons was the inclusion of characters like Vinnie and Suzie and Jeremy and Sergio who are positive representations of loving, gay couples. This inclusion appears in several cozy series I read and I am grateful to the writers who do it. It is especially important to me as a loyal reader of these series, considering that I am a gay man, married to the person I have committed my life to for over 15 years - who I have created hearth and home with and with whom I live in openness and dignity and pride. I believe it is very important for writers - especially writers in the genre of cozy mysteries - who appeal to a very large audience with a diverse range of demographics - to help raise consciousness and break down peoples' preconceived notions. This kind of gentle activism is noble and honorable and socially responsible. Most importantly, in creating characters like Vinnie and Suzie and Jeremy and Sergio, it reinforces the simple truth that we all need to love people simply for who they are. So thank you, Ms. Carlisle for your sense of social responsibility, openness, love and generosity of spirit.
I must admit, most everything about this series makes me feel quite warm and happy and, of course, cozy, in spite of the fact that I am one of those people who are not great fans of terms like "organic" or the overly zealous "save the trees" attitude. (That's what 30 years in New York City can do to one). And of course, that state of mind is completely antithetical to Dharma and Guru Bob. My heavens, if Becky were real and met me she would probably tie me to a bed of sage and start in on a month's worth of wicky-wacky to set me on the right path!
The recent title in this series, Ripped From The Pages, was a compelling read with a great story, although I confess that I did miss the San Francisco gang a lot and even the villainous Minka (well just a little). The story moved and kept me wondering; always a good sign in a mystery. And although I won't give away the delicious last line - I say to you, Ms. Carlisle, that I hope the next title sees that long-awaited for moment the focus of the next title!
As we all know by now, I'm a hopeless bibliophile. I
even married a librarian for heavens' sake. Between us we probably have between 7000 and 8000 books, so I guess it really is no surprise I'm addicted to a series with the word "bibliophile" in it. And goodness knows, I would love to learn how to book bind, but alas, as craftsy as I am, I simply am not precise and careful enough to ever learn such an art. I can, however, make some kick-ass bookmarks and do so all the time.
Although I do not follow Ms. Carlisle's other series, The Fixer-Upper Mysteries, I encourage my fellow Cozy Addicts to check out The Bibliophile Mysteries; you won't regret it. And you absolutely must visit Kate Carlisle's website. It is - hands down - one of the very best cozy author websites around. Also, don't forget to visit her Facebook page!
And, as always, I'd love to hear from my fellow addicts. Should you wish to know more about me, please visit my website:
Until next time, when I write about cozy author, Lorna Barrett, her series The Booktown Mysteries, and her current title that I am reading, A Fatal Chapter, happy cozy reading!