Kate Carlisle is the bestselling author of the Bibliophile Mysteries and the Fixer-Upper Mysteries (as seen on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries). In each Bibliophile Mystery, San Francisco bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright solves a modern day murder linked to a rare book in her care. Her latest is Once upon a Spine. Read Chapters 1 and 2 free at KateCarlisle.com.

There are a lot of things I should do today. Organize my billing, exercise, make dinner—delicious and with zero calories, of course, so Derek’s mouth will water tonight, and his jaw will drop three months from now when I walk down the aisle. Here’s what I’m going to do: call my mom, visit a rare book I covet at my favorite bookshop, and scarf down a decadent piece of pie. I just found out that my future in-laws are coming from England to “get a look at” me, as Derek so eloquently put it, and I’m nervous. I’m call-my-mommy nervous. I’m pie-nervous.

(Although to be fair, I will grab at any excuse for pie.)

I’m sure I’ll love them. After all, they raised the most honorable man I know. The question is, what will my proper British in-laws think of me and my hippy-dippy California family? I’m probably not what they expect. People assume bookbinders are stodgy academics. They’re often surprised to learn that I was raised on a commune and am more comfortable in Birkenstocks than penny loafers.

Their surprise turns to shock when they discover I’ve solved more than ten murders.

That’s me. Brooklyn Wainwright, professional bookbinder, amateur sleuth. Not that I’m going to add the latter bit to my business cards anytime soon.

The call to my mom connects just as I enter Brothers Bookshop. I wave to the brothers—ex-brothers-in-law, to be precise—and go straight to the coveted book. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, encased in glass like the rare and precious thing it is.

“What’s wrong?” Mom asks, before even saying hello. She has a sixth sense when it comes to her kids.

“The British are coming.” I lean down for a closer look at Alice, willing the beauty of this sweet little book to lift my mood. It’s a first edition, sort of. This charming children’s book has a history almost as convoluted as the story it tells.

“Derek’s parents?” She squeals. “Oh, that’s wonderful! When? Your father and I will come into the city to be with you. I can’t wait to meet them.”

My heart stops dead. No! No, no, no, no, no. “You don’t have to—”

“We’ll take the smaller guest room,” she goes on, ignoring my interruption. “They can have the larger one.”


“Oh, should I come early to cleanse the place, in case there’s any residual negative energy from the murder?”

I give up. When Becky Wainwright sets her mind to something, there’s no dissuading her, and she’s set her mind on not only meeting Derek’s parents, but staying with them—with us—in our loft.

What could possibly go wrong? I ask myself with dark humor. You know, the fatalistic kind that has cops joking at a crime scene because it’s the only way to cope with something more terrible than a human can truly comprehend.

I might need two pieces of pie.

You can read more about Brooklyn in Once Upon A Spine, the 11th book in the “Bibliophile” mystery series.

San Francisco bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright stumbles through the looking glass in a tale of murder, rare books, and a quest for the perfect pie. . .

Brooklyn’s oh-so-proper future in-laws are traveling from England to meet her, and if that’s not enough to set her on edge, rumors abound that the charming Courtyard Shops across the street may be replaced by high-rise apartments. Their trendy neighborhood will be ruined unless Brooklyn and her fiancé Derek Stone can persuade the shopkeepers not to sell.

But with a rare edition of Alice in Wonderland causing bad blood at the Brothers Bookshop and a string of petty vandalism making everyone nervous, Brooklyn and Derek feel like they’re attempting six impossible things before breakfast. Then the owner of The Rabbit Hole juice bar is felled by his own heavy shelves, and the local cobbler lies dead beside him. An accident . . . or something more sinister? Things get curiouser and curiouser when a second priceless copy of Alice is discovered. Will it stir up more trouble within the close-knit community?

As the Brits descend, Brooklyn learns they’re not so stuffy, after all. Derek’s dad is won over with chocolate cream pie, and his psychic mum would kill to help Brooklyn solve this murder—before another victim takes a tumble.

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