Saturday, July 18, 2015

A Love Letter to Independent Booksellers Presented in a Mystery


Thomas Shawver, author of The Dirty Book Murder and Left Turn at Paradise, returns to the surprisingly lethal world of rare books with a third enthralling novel featuring a most unlikely hero -- antiquarian bookseller Michael Bevan.

 A furious man from nearby Independence, Kansas demands that Michael Bevan return a rare first edition of the Book of Mormon, claiming that it was mistakenly sold by a disgruntled descendant of A.J. Stout. Contained on the frontispiece are a list of Ford names dating from 1845 to the present. Beside each name, save the last two, is a check mark - but what could the checks signify? With this discovery, Michael Bevan stumbles onto a trail of hatred and murder stretching back to 1844.


A Mormon Vendetta, A Rare Mormon Book, and Murder

A murder in 1844 is the basis for a vendetta. The Mormon Prophet, Joseph Smith, and several of his followers died at the hands of a mob in Carthage, Illinois. Several of the men who escaped the massacre vowed to kill everyone involved down to the last living descendant. 

Michael Bevan, a rare books dealer, has never heard of the Mormon vendetta, but Natalie Phelan, his friend and director of the Celtic Heritage Center, has fallen in love with Emery, one of the descents of the original Mormon vigilantes. He claims to love her and wants to marry her, but they need money. He has an original copy of one of the early Mormon books, which he gives to Michael to authenticate. For Bevan this is an opportunity to get a book good enough to allow him entry to the AABA, Antiquarian Book Association of America, but nothing is simple. 

This is a fun mystery with an interesting plot that revolves around an historical incident. It's a quick read. The characters are interesting. Michael Bevan is a mix of scholarship and physical ability. The small town he lives in is like having a vacation from the real world. The other characters Natalie, and particularly, Michael's lover Josie, and sympathetic and well drawn. 

If you enjoy mysteries with little violence and an interesting historical plot, you may enjoy this book. 


How did you Get the idea for your hero?

I decided to write about a trade I know with a protagonist who somewhat resembles me.  Then I made stuff up.

Josie Majansik plays a small role in the present book.  However, she and Michael Bevan have now married.  Do you see this changing the series?

Good question.  I’m going to give Michael and Josie a rest for the time being while I write a different series featuring a Frenchman who solves crimes in a Missouri river town.  With them married it does present challenges.  Obviously, Mike can’t get away from flirting (or whatever you want to call it) with other women.  But Josie is an independent gal who might just take off on her own someday.  We’ll see.

Would you like to share anything else about the series?

The series is really a love letter to the independent book trade that is rapidly disappearing, to my wonderful neighborhood, and to the customers from whom I mined so many characteristics for my stories—except for the evil parts.

Author Bio:

Thomas Shawver is a former marine officer, lawyer, and journalist with American City Business Journals. An avid rugby player and international traveler, Shawver owned Bloomsday Books, an antiquarian bookstore in Kansas Cit
Goodreads: Goodreads

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