Another great Cliff Janeway story. This time, Dunning sends Cliff off to work behind the scenes at some race tracks. Terrific background stuff, since Dunning worked with race horses earlier in his life. The books are all juveniles this time. A fine read.
I remember reading an interview John Dunning gave in which he said that he didn't think a series should go beyond 5 books. "The Bookwoman's Last Fling" is the fifth book in his Cliff Janeway series and in some ways his weakest. Unlike the previous books, this one seemed too long and not as attention grabbing - almost as if he felt he had an obligation to write it but his heart wasn't in it. It isn't a bad book. But, based on the others it left me feeling just so-so about the characters and the plot line. And despite his statement, I have a feeling there will be at least another book coming with Janeway.
The author combines his knowledge of rare books and racetracks for a thrilling mystery.
I agree with another reviewer that this one is perhaps the weakest of the Janeway books, but I enjoyed it as I have all of the others. There is a bit too much horse-racing information and not enough about books and the bibliomania that is the problem here. Francis does the horse racing stuff better, anyway. If Dunning writes another one, though, I will read it.
This is one of my favorite series that I only recently discovered. The adventures of a cop-turned bookseller and the lengths he goes to, to find rare books. It does not sound very exciting, but believe me it is. This one is not the best of the series, but it is quite well written. It is a whole new world out there for him to seek out authentic first editions - not just for the financial aspect, but just the hunger to find that one hidden gem. There is a mixture of crime detective and book facts that somehow just pulls you in. Check out "The Sign of the Book" and "Booked to Die", too.
I have enjoyed all of Dunning's Cliff Janeway books and this one did not let me down.
Janeway is called to Idaho to appraise a book collection, but things are never simple for Cliff. It is an astounding collection, but someone has clearly been stealing some of the books.
He is still absorbing that mystery when he must start investigating the death of the woman who made the collection, though she has been dead for many years. Was her death an accident, suicide, or murder?
Janeway must immerse himself in the racetrack life, looking for those who remember the Bookwoman.
Dunning is a good writer in the "hard boiled" style and the background of books and racing is vivid and interesting.
However, I found this story a bit drear. None of Dunning's books are light and humorous, but this one seemed especially dark. (I suppose our current long, long winter could be influencing me.)
If you have not read Dunning before, I would suggest that you start with another book, since some of the problems Janeway faces have been building in the previous books. Still if you like tough guy mysteries with a bit of book lore, you'll like the books of John Dunning.
This is the last book of the Cliff Janeway series. I loved the whole bunch because Dunning was able to weave rare book dealer's lore into them. For anyone who loves books, the antiquarian's tidbits are fascinating.
Cliff Janeway is a rare book dealer who was a police homicide detective -- years before. Sometimes, the jobs he's given require him to use both skills; this is one of those jobs. Janeway is hired to go through a fabulous children's classics collection. However, some of the selection's first editions have been replaced with reprints or later editions.
The collection originally belonged to a wealthy woman who died under mysterious circumstances (many years before). She married a horse racing enthusiast and trainer many years her senior. In order to learn more about the books and their owner, Janeway has to move into the close-knit circle of horse-racing. My only complaint with the story is with the amazing number of (available) people who knew things about someone who died 20+ years before.
Cliff Janewayâ Seriesâ
1. Booked To Die (1992)
2. The Bookman's Wake (1995)
3. The Bookman's Promise (2004)
4. The Sign of the Book (2005)
â**â5. The Bookwoman's Last Fling (2006)
I've enjoyed the last four Cliff Janeway books by Dunning, but perhaps I just wasn't in the right mood when I read this one. Janeway is hired by the estate of a very rich man to investigate missing books from the library of the man's wife, also deceased. While he's deciding whether he wants to work for these very unpleasant people, he meets the one good offspring and gets drawn into whether or not the woman was actually murdered. The locales were interesting: he spends quite a lot of time at a ranch and also working at a racetrack, but wow this book is slow. Talk talk talk, all the same questions, every answer has to be dragged out of the character over ten or more pages while they dither and ditz and evade. It seemed like it went on interminably. Finally when he gets close to solving the mystery, we head off into left field for the answer. The book has some good moments, and what looks like an interesting bit of character development for Janeway, but I would have appreciated about 100 fewer pages.
Can't go wrong with John Dunning. Always a good read. Love the book references.
Good read! Definitly recommend.