Wednesday, May 6, 2009

According to Their Deeds by Paul Robertson

A Deadly Game of Justice Versus Mercy

Charles Beale lives outside the shadow of Washington, D.C. Politics and power matter only when a client crosses the Potomac to visit his Alexandria Rare Books shop. But that all changes when a former client--a man deeply connected in the Justice Department--is found murdered after a break-in gone bad. 

When Charles reclaims at auction the books he'd once sold, he quickly discovers he's bought more trouble than he could have ever imagined. Inside one volume are secrets. A collection of sins that, if revealed, could destroy reputations, careers--even lives.

 Charles soon learns he isn't the only who knows. Going to the police means ruining a multitude of lives. But staying silent puts a target on his shop, his wife--and himself. Charles must decide: Should one mistake really cost you everything? 

My Review:
This lighthearted mystery contains a married couple who speak to one another in a manner reminiscent of The Thin Man. Charles and Dorothy Beale obviously care deeply about each other and share an interesting partnership as they manage their old and rare bookshop. Their conversations are a study of a couple at play.

This is not the usual fast paced mystery. Rather, it demands a careful read. In between each chapter is a discussion between the Charles, the protagonist and the Derek, the deceased. This makes for an unique change of pace, as it adds to the plot.

There are many allusions to literature. I loved the word play whenever Alice, the bookstore clerk, answers Charles' question, "Was anything sold?" with a title of a book. Charles then comments with an allusion referencing that book. This reinforces or foretells what has just taken place or what will soon take place in the plot.

I love the characters; I loved the dialogue. This novel would be a good choice for a book club as it begs discussion.

If you would like to read the first chapter, click here.

f you would like to buy a copy, click here.


bermudaonion said...

Sounds delightful!

Sally said...

It's such a fun book! It's one I'd read again.