Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley | A Book Review

lo-fi & lovely

TITLE: The Haunted Bookshop
AUTHOR: Christopher Morley
GENRE: Thriller, Mystery, Bibliomystery

PUBLISHER: Grosset & Dunlap
PAGES: 289

Must I say *SPOILERS AHEAD* in regards to a book with its 100th birthday in its rear-view? 


In this sequel to 1917's Parnassus on Wheels, we again meet up with Roger Mifflin, a used bookseller Brooklynite. A man whose character is developed via a series of mainly book-centric at times house kitchen-centric mini-manifesto soliloquies of philosophical lilt. Another way we get to further know the ginger fireplug is an off-shoot of those book-related diatribes in which he rattles off book & author after book & author in a charming way which first might require you to take a few steps back. Rain Man territory.

But know him well, we do, unless we are the character of a young advertising man named Aubrey Gilbert, who leaps straight-away post-haste into putting Roger in league with ze Germans. This rather odd plunge can I suppose be written-off by Aubrey's distractable infatuation with Roger's apprentice, one Titania Chapman. She's the daughter of a ::: very ::: wealthy daddy who makes Parnassus on Wheels Roger's dream-come-true. Only after Roger decks Aubrey, and a German Pharmacist and Assistant Chef have their own dreams of killing President Wilson blow up in their faces.

The ad-man and apprentice live happily-ever-after AND I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY BOCK HAD TO FUCKING DIE. The plot is a page-turner, simply done. I've cited the issue I had in Aubrey's personal red-herring reach. Also, I wonder if I'd find Roger's elongated thoughts upon thoughts upon thoughts so darned charming if I didn't agree at every step; as I admired his chimney-smoking corn cob pipe puffings. I just like the little weirdo. He's loveably lovely, as is his Mrs.--who tethers him quite well. Of note, the mood set in this (not literally haunted) bookshop is pretty much my own idea of heaven.

Of more cringy note which is no fault of Morley's, he's blissfully unaware that the end of WWI leads to the onset of WWII, as this not so super suspenseful suspense novel lives in that in-between period. I feel as though I may be giving the reader the idea I didn't like this book. This is not true--I quite did--but also see its flaws and my own (again) bias towards Mr. Mifflin. I'd give my favorite clay pipe to sit in on a meeting of his Corn Cob Club. I have this thing Wednesday evenings but all others I'm free. In closing, fuck Jeff Bezos.

3/5 stars.

PS: As many of you know, Cornell & Diehl has long-offered its now classic Haunted Bookshop pipe tobacco blend, which I reviewed at this ((( link ))).


::: very :::