On the sixth day of Bookgiving, my true love gave to me:
The Book of the Dead, by Elizabeth Daly.
It is July of 1943. New York City is gripped by a major heat wave. In a large, not-too-uncomfortable room, a middle-aged man looks quite realistically at his fate: he is dying of a swift and incurable disease – leukemia, which was pretty much untreatable in those days. The dying man is attended by another man who appears to be part caretaker and part nurse – and, perhaps, part keeper. He is also attended by a doctor, who knows there is little he can do to keep his patient alive. Soon, the man is transferred to a nearby hospital – and, sure enough, he dies. A sad story, to be sure. But it’s not the end of the story. Not even close. For – within hours of his death – there is the murder of someone who had only casual contact with the dying man. And there is the attempted murder of book expert Henry Gamadge. And therein lies a fairly complex and quite satisfying mystery, in Elizabeth Daly’s The Book of the Dead.
Daly is said to have been Agatha Christie's favorite American mystery writer, and it's easy to see some of the things that Dame Agatha would have liked. Daly was an absolute master of misdirection. At one point, in reading the book, you will suddenly realize that you've been hoodwinked - quite legitimately - into viewing events and even relationships backwards. The surprises here are going to be stunning. Daly wrote sixteen books featuring books-and-documents expert Henry Gamadge, and The Book of the Dead is a first rate bibliomystery. It is available as a Felony & Mayhem Press paperback and also in a variety of formats for e-books, including a Kindle edition.
(If you came in late, here's what we're doing - I hope you'll join in!)