cover image The Paperback Sleuth: Death in Fine Condition

The Paperback Sleuth: Death in Fine Condition

Andrew Cartmel. Titan, $16.95 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-789098-94-5

Cartmel (the Vinyl Detective mysteries) has never been better than in this darkly funny series kickoff centered on London bookseller Cordelia Stanmer, a former addict who has fallen in love with vintage paperbacks and has no scruples about how she’ll feed her growing collection. Cordelia often forges author signatures to jack up a book’s resale value and offers bribes to church sale organizers for a first crack at rare volumes. While picking up weed at her dealer’s house one afternoon, she glimpses a photo of a bookcase stuffed with rare crime novels and resolves to find out where the photo was taken, break in, and steal as many of the beautifully illustrated editions as she can. Her scheming hits an unexpected snag when she successfully makes away with the volumes—only to realize she’s just robbed one of London’s most notorious criminals, who sets out for revenge. Cordelia is a memorable, devilish antihero, and Cartmel’s delightfully dexterous plotting bodes well for a sequel. Fans of Lynne Truss’s Constable Twitten novels will find much to love. (June)