Two wrongful accusations has librarian Cleo Watkins and her loved ones booked for trouble.
It's springtime and septuagenarian librarian Cleo Watkins is celebrating new blooms and old books. To her delight, the Georgia Antiquarian Book Society has brought its annual fair to Catalpa Springs in honor of Cleo's gentleman friend, respected antiquarian bookseller and restorer, Henry Lafayette. But trouble rolls in with the fair when a flirtatious book scout makes the rounds, charming ladies of a certain age out of prized books.
Among the conned is Cleo's cousin, Dot, who relinquished a signed first edition of Gone With the Wind. With no proof the scout took it, Dot is at a loss. And when he's found dead the very next morning, without Dot's first edition or other valuable books reported missing in his belongings, Dot's freedom is on the line. Cleo is flummoxed in discovering too that the scout's body is found behind Henry's shop, and the murder weapon identified to be Henry's bookbinding hammer.
Although books are at the heart of the crimes, Cleo feels dizzyingly out of her depths. Someone is setting up the people she holds dearest and with the authorities on the wrong trail, Cleo has no choice but to catalog the evidence herself. Along with the help of her trusty bookmobile cat Rhett Butler, it will be up to Cleo to book the real killer for good. (Summary via Goodreads)
Read or Alive is the third book in the Bookmobile Mystery series by Nora Page and if you have read the previous books, you cannot help but be a fan. As soon as you open Read or Alive you will be swept back to Catalpa Springs.....
Cleo Watkins is the main character and she drives a bookmobile for her library......and solves murders. However in Read or Alive the case may be too much for her to handle when her cousin AND her gentlemen friend are both being accused of a murder.
Henry, Cleo's gentlemen friend is a antiquarian bookseller and restorer and owns his own shop in town, The Gilded Page Antiquarian and Rare Books. He and the town have been awarded the honor of hosting The Georgia Antiquarian Book Society Fair which is a week long yearly book event hosted in a different town every year.
To say that Henry is nervous and excited and Cleo is hopeful to purchase some good books is an understatement. But how could either of them have predicted that a death would occur in the alley between Henry's shop and the town psychic ...... not even Madam Romanov could have seen that coming !!!
Unfortunately on opening day of the week long event, while Cleo and her best friend Mary Rose are looking at books at the fair, they hear Cleo's cousin Dot yelling at a gentlemen at one of the booths demanding that she wants her books back !! Cleo quickly learns that the person Dot is yelling at, Hunter Fox, may have visited members of her town "looking" to buy their valuable books but at what cost ?? Turns out the cost was his life and Dot was overheard telling the victim that he would be sorry !!!
Cleo frantically tries to figure out who could have killed Hunter Fox and why but no matter what she does, it seems Chief Culpepper has his eyes on Henry or Dot and refuses to look at any of the out of town guests working the fair and staying at the Myrtles Bed and Breakfast.....especially Kitty Peavey who is high on Cleo's list of suspects.
Readers will get swept away in this book and no one can blame them !! Page has a way of opening up the reader's mind so that they will feel like they are hanging around in Catalpa Springs. They will wish they were hanging out at the Pancake Mill or riding along with Cleo in her bookmobile. They will become as determined as Cleo to solve the case so that Henry and Dot can go back to running their businesses and Cleo can go back to deliverying books to homebound members of the town.
Page's imagination is off the charts amazing. How she comes up with these tales is just outstanding and captivating !! I became a fan with the first book and will continue until there are no more Bookmobile Mystery books to reads but I hope that is a loooooooong ways in the future !!! Maybe Madam Romanov can help with that.....
Review by Missi M.