Book Review: The Haunted Bookshop, by Christopher Morley
Genre: Mystery, Classic
Number Of Pages: 95 pages
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Synopsis: Aubrey Gilbert stops by the Haunted Bookshop hoping to sell his services as an advertising copywriter. He fails to accomplish his goal, but learns that Titania Chapman, the lovely daughter of his most important client, is a store assistant there. Aubrey returns to visit Titania and experiences a series of unusual events: He is attacked on his way home from the store, an obscure book mysteriously disappears and reappears, and two strange characters are seen skulking in a nearby alleyway. Aubrey initially suspects the bookstore’s gregarious owner, Roger Mifflin, of scheming to kidnap Titania, but the plot he eventually uncovers is far more complex and sinister than he could have ever imagined.
A charming ode to the art of bookselling wrapped inside a thrilling suspense story, The Haunted Bookshop is a must-read for bibliophiles and mystery lovers alike.
★★ and 1/2
...for going in a direction that I ended up not liking very much
This is definitely not what I had expected.
At first I thought that this would be a ghost story, but it turns out I was wrong there.
Then I figured it was probably going to be some type of romantic comedy, but no. Turns out that wasn't the case.
Now I realize that this is in fact a mystery novel, with tie-ins to World War I. I will not say anything more, because I'm not one to spoil things.
I will say that I am a little disappointed though. The mystery/thriller aspect seemed rather unnecessary; the book could have kept with the plot line of Titania discovering the benefits of being a bookseller, and with the bookshop becoming more successful because she's there. That alone would have been enough. The added tie-in to World War I and the Germans made the book a little too busy and rambling.
I did enjoy the beginning however. My favorite part is what is said on the placard at the front of the bookshop:
"This shop is haunted by the ghosts of all great literature, in hosts; We sell no fakes or trashes. Lovers of books are welcome here, No clerks will babble in your ear, Please smoke--but don't drop ashes!--Browse as long as you like. Prices of all books plainly marked. If you want to ask questions, you'll find the proprietor where the tobacco smoke is thickest. We pay cash for books. We have what you want, though you may not know you want it. Malnutrition of the reading faculty is a serious thing. Let us prescribe for you. By R. & H. MIFFLIN, Proprs."
I just love that. I wish all bookshops had something similar to welcome readers in.
Would I recommend this read. Weeellll....maybe. It is a classic (it was originally published in 1919), and therefore contains an enticing piece of history. It is also a bit of a thrilller, though you won't realize it until about a third of the way in. It just wasn't for me I guess.