Book Reviews of Haunted Bookshop

Haunted Bookshop
Haunted Bookshop
Author: Christopher Morley
ISBN-13: 9780380626953
ISBN-10: 0380626950
Publication Date: 3/1983
Edition: Reprint
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.

3.9 stars, based on 4 ratings
Publisher: Avon Books (P)
Book Type: Paperback
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2 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

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Helpful Score: 1
The story finds Roger Mifflin (of Parnassus on Wheels) running a second-hand bookshop in Brooklyn. No ordinary bookshop, it is inhabited by many lively spirits, thought not all are among the living.

From the shop proprietor : When you sell a man a book, says Roger Mifflin, protagonist of these classic bookselling novels, you dont sell him just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue you sell him a whole new life. The new life the traveling bookman delivers to Helen McGill

"Did you ever notice how books track you down and hunt you out?" asks Roger Mifflin, protagonist of this charming novel. "It's one of the uncanniest things I know to follow a real book on its career-it follows you and follows you and drives you into a corner and makes you read it Words can't describe the cunning of some books." Originally published in 1919, two years after Parnassus on Wheels had introduced readers to Mifflin and Helen McGill, The Haunted Bookshop finds the couple, now married, having set up house and bookshop in Brooklyn. The novel's rollicking plot, an amusing tangle of romance and espionage, provides plenty of diversion while allowing ample room for Mifflin (and Morley) to expound on the intrigue and intricacy of the bookseller's art.
reviewed Haunted Bookshop on + 601 more book reviews
I read Parnassus on Wheels by Morley a couple of years ago and finally got around to reading this sequel. Parnassus was a quaint story of a woman who buys a travelling bookstore, Helen McGill and who ends up settling down with another booklover, Roger Mifflin. In Haunted Bookshop, the Mifflins are very settled into their used bookstore in Brooklyn just after the end of WWI (the book was originally published in 1919). Roger is a little pretentious as he expounds the benefits of really good books and derides some of the current novels of the time written by Harold Bell Wright (one of my father's favorite authors) or the Tarzan novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs. He much prefers the classics written by Samuel Butler, Robert Louis Stevenson, Emerson, or Walt Whitman and cannot understand how people prefer the ready romances of the day. I guess this could be like comparing James Patterson to John Irving or T.C. Boyle by today's standards (I'm certainly guilty of consuming the popular novels of today like Patterson!). In fact, Roger makes a point that WWI could have been avoided if people would have read Thomas Hardy's The Dynasts, a book about the Napoleonic Wars. I found all the talk of books, the descriptions of Brooklyn at the time, and the atmosphere within the bookshop to be a delight. I didn't really agree with his smoking policy, however - Please smoke but don't drop the ashes! Not a very good mix with books in my opinion! The Mifflin's dog even had it's sleeping compartment made to look like a bookshop.

The bookshop is not really haunted, no trace of ghosts in the story; rather it is haunted by the ghosts of great literature. The story also details an adventure of Miss Titania Chapman, who has agreed to work in the shop, and a young advertising man named Aubrey Gilbert. Aubrey discovers a plot related to the mysterious disappearance and reappearance of a copy of Thomas Carlyle's Letters and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell which happens to be one of President Wilson's favorite books. Turns out there is a plot brewing by some German-Americans who still think the war hasn't ended. Overall, I thought this was a good followup to Parnassus but not quite as enjoyable. I would recommend it to any booklover or someone interested in early 20th century New York.