Tuesday, March 31, 2009

According to Their Deeds by Paul Robertson

I bought this book because the back cover blurb said that the protagonist, Charles Beale, owns a rare books shop. Any story about a bookstore owner must be good, right?
According To Their Deeds is beyond good—it is so much fun to read that I hated to see the story conclude.
If you, like me, enjoy playing with words, According To Their Deeds is for you. My compliments to Robertson’s editors at Bethany House for giving him the latitude to fill the story with puns, “swifties” (see page 69), and clever riffs on classic books. I can’t think of a time I simply enjoyed each page of a story for the subtle humor it contained.
And yet, don’t let me deceive you. According To Their Deeds is a complex mystery that that has one of the best opening scenes I’ve read in years. The plot had me guessing until the very end, but what kept me reading page after page was the cleverness of the writing. I came to look forward to the moments when Charles Beale would enter the shop and ask Alice, the clerk, if they’d sold anything. Invariably, she’d name a title and Charles would have an answering pun relating to the book’s content. As I said, I was sorry when the book reached it’s exciting conclusion, because I knew I’d miss the repartee that filled the chapters.
I heartily recommend According To Their Deeds, both as a mystery and just for fun. I plan to locate the rest of Robertson’s books and read them, too.


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