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by Kate Carlisle
Berkley Prime Crime, June 2019
322 pages
ISBN: 0451491408

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Kate Carlisle skillfully weaves elements of a spy thriller into her latest Bibliophile Mystery creating an intriguing tale with a tip of the hat to spy master Robert Ludlum.

While honeymooning in Paris, Brooklyn buys a 1962 edition of The Spy Who Loved Me as a gift for Derek, her new husband. After browsing through the bookstalls, she finds Derek talking with Ned Davis, an old friend from Derek's MI6 days. When Ned discovers Derek lives in San Francisco he urges him to visit a mutual colleague from the old days who now owns a spy shop, SPECTRE, located along the Embarcadero.

Returning home Derek finds troubles at his office causing problems among his employees and his assistant Corinne threatening to quit. While visiting SPECTRE for the first time Derek realizes he might have found a way to deal with his employee problems – use an escape room challenge as a team building exercise. The spy store, in addition to lots of sophisticated gadgets for sale, includes a café, a bookstore and several escape rooms. Owen Gibbons, another retired spy, owns the shop and is happy to see Derek, who schedules a retreat for his employees the weekend the shop is celebrating its one year anniversary. Upon learning about Derek's gift from Brooklyn, Owen convinces them to let him make it the centerpiece display in the bookshop.

That Saturday night, Owen calls Derek at 2 a.m. to ask him for help dealing with a break-in at the shop. Both Brooklyn and Derek rush to SPECTRE only to find that the alarm went off but there are no signs of robbery. Watching security footage, they see an unidentified person helping lifting items off the shelves in an orderly fashion and then trying to break into the display case for the book. Before the thief completes cutting the display case glass another person confronts him only to be shot. Sirens scare the thief off before he gets the book. A search of the premises uncovers the dead body of Tailor, a young man who works at the shop, in one of the escape rooms.

Within the next few days Derek receives a letter from Ned advising his friend that he hid the names of seven agents who worked on a top secret op several years earlier in the book Brooklyn bought Derek. Ned's wife sent the letter as instructed in the event of his murder. In the letter, Ned asks Derek to find out who is murdering the agents.

So now, Brooklyn and Derek are looking for: whoever killed a young man while trying to steal The Spy Who Loved Me; an agent who is killing members of a top secret op team: and a way to deal with an unstable, trouble-making employee who can't be fired.

THE BOOK SUPREMACY is a compelling read. Carlisle stretches the traditional cozy genre with unusual twists, incorporating the excitement of the spy world into the steady suspense she always creates as this engaging cast of characters investigates its way to the solution.

§ Ruth Castleberry has worked as an investigator for Pinkerton's, a city desk assistant on the Charlotte News, free-lance writer, marketing/business strategy consultant, competitive intelligence practitioner and digital marketing consultant.

Reviewed by Ruth Castleberry, May 2019

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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