23 November 2007

Colorado mystery

I was in the Denver airport. I had over an hour until my plane left and I'd read the New Yorker I'd brought along.

I found my way to the Hudson Bookseller store in Terminal C and bought a copy of The Sign of the Book. It's by John Dunning [at right], a Denver resident. "How appropriate," I thought.

Years ago, I'd read a couple of Dunning's mysteries. They are set in Denver and involve "cop-turned-bookseller Cliff Janeway." Bookseller in this case does not mean someone like the clerk at the airport Hudson's. It means someone who deals in rare and obscure books for collectors. (See the link to Dunning's Old Algonquin Books.)

Anyway, there weren't many Dunning books, and I never became a fanatic about them. (I don't remember why at this distance.)

Well, this one was extraordinary and compelling.

I had gotten up early on a Saturday in a Denver motel, taught a workshop for teachers all day, and then had over two hours at the airport before flying home. I was a little tired.

But, once I started reading at departure gate C22 it was difficult for me to stop. A couple times during the flight home, I did put the book down and close my eyes for attempted naps. But before long I was reading again.

Once I got home, I discovered that Nancy had had a flat tire on her way to pick me up, and I had another 45 minutes to read. By the time I did get home, it was nearly midnight and there was no way I could keep reading.

But the next night I did read more and didn't finish only because the suspenseful finish was "in sight" and I wanted to be able to get to sleep. I took time to finish the next afternoon.

The Sign of the Book was just the kind of thing I wanted to read just now. The pace of the action, the amount of detail, the intriguing asides, the near absence of unbelievables, and the clarity of narrative were just right for me.

So, if you read it, let us know how it fit you.

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