Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore – Matthew Sullivan

This gets the prize for quirkiest murder mystery I have read in a while. As you will guess from the title, it is set primarily in a bookstore. Lydia Smith, the bookseller with a social conscience, tends to and is sympathetic to the homeless and the oddball characters who are regularly present there as a refuge from the outside world.

One such regular is Joey Molina. His death triggers an investigation into his life and the connections he had, all delivered by messages fashioned by him from books in the store. Lydia has to track down the books, decode the messages, and work on what these clues mean, and what part they play in explaining Joey’s life and death, and Lydia’s role in his world.

This is a touching, lovingly told tale, with some nice characterization, and a gentle style that eases you along despite the death and tragedy that underpin the investigation and search for the truth.

This is one to be savored, especially by book lovers.