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The Sign of the Book (2005)

by John Dunning

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Cliff Janeway (4)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,0642013,650 (3.75)11
Criminal defense attorney Erin D'Angelo, Cliff's bookstore partner, needs a favor. Her first true love, Robert Marshall, has been murdered, and his wife Laura has confessed. But Erin smells something fishy. She asks Cliff to investigate, which he is more than willing to do when he learns the victim left behind an amazing collection of signed books. If the books are genuine, they are definitely worth killing for.… (more)
Recently added byotori, private library, jrademaker, reader12205, Misprint, peterpobre, qwertytypo, nelsam
  1. 10
    The Bay Psalm Book Murder by Will Harriss (benjclark)
    benjclark: Protagonist even has the same first name!
  2. 00
    Fast Company by Marco Page (benjclark)
    benjclark: If you like John Dunning, allow me to reccomend Marco Page's Fast Company. Out of print, but that shouldn't stop you. It's in a similar vein to Dunning's Bookman series, but set in 1938. Well, it was written in 1938.
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» See also 11 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
A solid addition to the Janeway series - I didn't figure it out till almost the end. I liked the stronger focus on book selling inside information than some of the other books but it was a strong mystery as well. Recommend the series. ( )
  Terrie2018 | Feb 21, 2020 |
I absolutely loved the first book in the series. The second and third books were good, but didn't resonate with me the same way. This fourth book took me back to the feeling I had with the first book. I enjoyed reading it very much.

The clues in the mystery sneak up on you. After we meet the accused, the events of the night are exposed slowly, allowing the reader's theories to change and evolve as more is revealed. I thought the mystery was interesting, although a little too much time was spent on Janeway chasing the three book sellers he suspects. That seems like a big detour, but is an important part of the story. ( )
  readingover50 | Jun 11, 2019 |
BOTTOM-LINE:
Good book mystery, poor murder mystery
.
PLOT OR PREMISE:
Cliff's friend Erin asks him to go help an old girlfriend charged with murdering her husband. It seems like a strange request considering the woman stole Erin's boyfriend, i.e. the dead guy, and they haven't spoken since.
.
WHAT I LIKED:
I am a bit of a sucker for stories involving unresolved emotional stories, and the story has a bit of that rolling around in it. There are even BOOKS, gasp, BOOKS involved in the story (shocker, right? The guy had a lot of high-end signed copies of middle-of-the-road scarce books, too many for a small-timer). So of course there are two stories -- the death of the husband and the mystery of the signed books.
.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:
There is a bent local sheriff's deputy who is almost a caricature at times, and the sub-story of the autistic boy is handled a little manipulatively (shows his grandparents are evil, for no real purpose -- they didn't need to be in the story at all -- and two other kids that are referred to but hardly seen) plus he isn't just autistic, more like Rain Man with drawing, of course. And the ending for the murder mystery is written taut, and supposedly riveting, but I just found it ridiculous.
.
DISCLOSURE:
I received no compensation, not even a free copy, in exchange for this review. I am not personal friends with the author, nor do I follow him on social media. ( )
  polywogg | Apr 8, 2019 |
The "bibliophile" content of this is actually not the strongest part. It adds a more literary flavor, but this is really a hardboiled detective type mystery. Cliff Janeway is a dealer in rare books and an ex-cop who agrees to help his attorney girlfriend on a murder case, partly because a collection of rare books seems to be involved. The story is well-plotted, suspenseful and wraps up with a a real nailbiter. Good fun for genre lovers. ( )
  kaitanya64 | Jan 3, 2017 |
WOW! Tight, suspenseful, as full of twists and switchbacks as a mountain road. The Cliff Janeway series is great. ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Dunningprimary authorall editionscalculated
Čulić, DraženTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Yokoyama, HiroakiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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To Susanne Kirk of Scribner.

Without you there would be no Janeway.
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Two years had passed and I knew Erin well.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
John Dunning (1942- ), an American writer of detective fiction. Do not confuse with John H. Dunning (1927- ), British writer of business and economic works.
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Criminal defense attorney Erin D'Angelo, Cliff's bookstore partner, needs a favor. Her first true love, Robert Marshall, has been murdered, and his wife Laura has confessed. But Erin smells something fishy. She asks Cliff to investigate, which he is more than willing to do when he learns the victim left behind an amazing collection of signed books. If the books are genuine, they are definitely worth killing for.

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