Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sarah Graves' "The Book of Old Houses"

Sarah Graves lives in Eastport, Maine, where her "Home Repair Is Homicide" mystery novels are set.

She applied the "Page 99 Test" to the latest novel in the series, The Book of Old Houses, and reported the following:
"...Bob Arnold was an unlikely-looking cop, with a round body that nevertheless was able to move very fast, a pink face whose deceptively mild expression had been the downfall of many a crook, and unemphatic blue eyes that failed to hint at the sharp mental machinery behind them."

That's the first paragraph on page 99 of The Book of Old Houses. Next, sleuth Jake Tiptree tries to persuade Bob to keep an eye on a mysterious visitor whose links to a strange old book may include having committed murder for it.

Or maybe someone else did, either to get the book or while under its uncanny influence. After all, the volume is written in --

You guessed it. But can you guess the rest?

I think not, actually. Meanwhile as for page 99's quality being revelatory, I tend to believe each page probably has its hands full just managing to reveal its own goodness or badness, never mind the whole book's. So if it does an even halfway decent job of that I'm generally satisfied with it.
Read an excerpt from The Book of Old Houses and learn more the author and her books at Sarah Graves' website.

--Marshal Zeringue