I picked up another book for a $1.00 at my local bookstore a few days ago. The author was new to me, Anna Porter, but the plot sounded interesting. It’s about a murder that takes place during an International book fair in Frankfurt, Germany. Book fairs are places where editors and publishers schmooze, plot against one another over book deals and get into some interpersonal mischief. As the book’s cover declares, The Bookfair Murders is a “hilarious romp through the world of publishing.”
I’d just finished Martha Grimes’ latest Inspector Jury mystery, The Black Cat. I’m a fan of the series not only because her plots twist and turn, but also because Grimes’ characters never fail to amuse. Few can hold a candle to her as a mystery writer, but for a buck, I thought I’d give Porter a try. At the very least, I hoped to get a glimpse of what goes on at these pretentious gatherings to which I shall never be invited.
I’m not far into the book, only the first 50 pages. But I confess, I am intrigued. The style is brisk and certainly the wicked band of editors out to cut one another’s throats, figuratively if not literally, are well drawn. The way the murder is discovered is novel, as well. Marsha Hiller, the heroine, is hoping to clinch a big deal on a book being shopped by the prominent agent, Andrew Myles. Hoping that showing a bit of leg might help, she sits on the arm of Myle’s chair, crosses her knees and leans toward him to whisper into his ear in a more than friendly fashion. That she gets no reaction could crush a working girl’s ego; but in this case, Andrew has an excuse. He’s dead. Marsha discovers the fact as she watches him collapse to the floor.
In sum, I like the setting. I like the style. I like the concept. For $1.00, I think I got my money’s worth. Does anyone really buy hardbacks for $25 anymore?
(Courtesy of amazon.com)