How do you define Bibliomystery?
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Browsing through some folks' tags and I just don't understand the justification. B/c it takes place in a library? Book is weapon? Protagonist is a librarian by trade but no mention of books? What do you think of as a bibliomystery?
Hi: Great idea for a group. A mystery involving a library or bookstore, a book as a weapon, or a book-related protagonist (as long as it goes beyond a mere mention) are all bibliomysteries, as far as I'm concerned.
The Jo Dereske cozies featuring librarian Miss Zukas are bibliomysteries.
It's for fans/ readers/ collectors of bibliomysteries. Linda has given her definition of a bibliomystery, which I think a lot of folks agree with. What about you? What should the group be about?
At the moment I'm immersed in The Shadow of the Wind, a bookish mystery if there ever was one. I think you may also want to include mysteries involving writers working on their books, which broadens the scope a bit.
That's the question- What is a bibliomystery? Every reader has developed their own definition. I tend to be pretty strict. Is The Big Sleep a bibliomystery b/c a bookstore figures into the story? I say not. I think it's more a story of blackmail and pornography than of a central biblio-element. Some should argue that pornography *is* a biblio-element, but that's another discussion for another day.
Shadow of the Wind, I agree is a wonderful bibliomystery. Have you read The Angel's Game?
I just went through my mysteries and tagged 13 of them 'bibliomystery'. One or two might be debatable such as Who Censored Roger Rabbit. It is likely that I missed some titles, I havent read all of them yet...
The John Dunning books featuring Cliff Janeway are certainly bibliomysteries. I've read the first one, Booked to Die and hope to get to the others.
If you like cozies, the Lorna Barrett "Booktown" series would certainly be bibliomysteries. There's a town full of bookstores. I think the newest one in this series is Bookplate Special.
I agree (and I think anyone would!) about the Cliff Janeway series by Dunning. I liked them all (more or less), except the last, Bookwoman's Last Fling. Not so good. If you liked the John Dunning series, be sure to check out Fast Company by Marco Page. Very similar, but set in the 1930s, b/c it was written in the 1930s.
I'm not as much into cozies as a rule, but may pick one up if the "biblio" elements are interesting enough.
Also, thanks for adding the tag! It isn't used a whole lot (by LT standards) and it gives others a good place to start.
What about books that feature literary characters, like Jasper Ffjorde's books? (to my discredit I haven't actually read one yet, so I don't know if they're actually mysteries!)
I also read a great one by Philippe Doumenc where the characters in the novel re-evaluate Madame Bovary's death and conclude it was... murder! (Contre-enquête sur la mort d'Emma Bovary)
A lot of people would classify the Thursday Next series by Fforde as Bibliomysteries. They usually are mystery stories, amongst almost anything else! Elements of mystery, fantasy, scifi, horror, paranormal... it goes on.
However, that may not work for everyone. I tend to think of books like John Dunning's Bookman series as a bibliomystery than stories that happen to take place in a library (for atmosphere), but otherwise mention nothing of books.
An example: Browsing other folk's libraries, I happened across one which tagged an obsucre 1940s pulp The Navy Colt as a bibliomystery. I happened to own and have read that book, and the only biblio-element I can remember is that the basically homeless con-men/ slueths hang out at a public library once or twice in the story. No biblio-element central to the plot.
The Madame Bovary book sounds interesting! Again, it's up to each reader to define what a bibliomystery is. Actually, a reader doesn't *have to* define that, but collectors should! The Bovary book rings more to pastiche or homage to me than bibliomystery. But... another reader/collector may disagree! Probably should.
One more: The Club Dumas by Arturo Pérez-Reverte which involves a dangerous treasure hunt for a rare book. A real pleasure!
Yes, I definitely agree with the authors listed above, especially Arturo Pérez-Reverte, Jasper Ffjorde, and John Dunning.
How about adding The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. For me, this was the first time I discovered that there were authors and, by extension, characters, who cared about books as much as I do. To be able to read about people who can think about nothing except books helps me to feel a bit more like a normal person, when all my family and friends wonder what is wrong with me for reading all the time.
The Name of the Rose is a pillar of the genre! I believe it remains one of the most popular books of the type that is generally popular.
gaylebones asked an interesting question, and I'm curious how everyone else leans on this:
Is it a bibliomystery if the only biblio-element is that the central character is literary? For instance, the Jane Austen/ Ben Franklin/ Charles Dickens/ EA Poe solves crimes, otherwise unrelated to books? Would it matter if the biblio-personae is/was a real human being, or if the character is in fact fictional, i.e. the Bennett sisters immigrate to Montana and become vigilantes.
I for one do not count these books as bibliomysteries in either case. I like my bibliomysteries to have a heavy biblio element. I like it when the plot hinges on the book as an object/artifact. Gaylebones used the term (coined it?) litmysteries, and I think that works pretty well. I tried a Benjamin Franklin as sleuth novel and it was forgettable.
Something not yet mentioned, there is one institution actively collecting bibliomysteries, and they define the genre this way:
"Bibliomysteries are mysteries in which books, manuscripts, libraries of any kind, archives, publishing houses, or bookstores occupy a central role, or mysteries in which librarians, archivists, booksellers, etc. are protagonists or antagonists (and preferably the location or occupation is important to the plot or theme). Our collection does not include academic mysteries or mysteries which happen to be about journalists, authors, or literary figures unless libraries, books, manuscripts, archives, and so on, are important to the plot."
Not a bad definition.
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