Open Road Media have published a series of Bibliomysteries (Short tales about deadly books, by top mystery authors). I have read four of them so far. The first one I read and enjoyed was by Elizabeth George called “The mysterious disappearance of the reluctant book fairy” ; the second was the wonderful “Every seven years” by Denise Mina; and the third was “The Travelling Companion” by Ian Rankin. Now, I have just read “Rides a Stranger” by David Bell.
Don Kurtwood, a university literature professor goes home to attend his father’s funeral. Father and son were never close. A love of books was their only common interest and even that was sketchy as Don loved the classics – real literature – and his Dad favoured pulp fiction, especially paperback westerns.
At the funeral reception Don is approached by a rotund little man who wants Don to visit his store later that same evening. He gives Don his card:
After a trying day, Don does go to the man’s bookstore – only to find him dead. He reports the death to the police and finds out that Lou Caledonia wasn’t interested in purchasing Don father’s old book collection. Instead, he was interested in buying the book Don’s father wrote!
This is a revelation Don didn’t expect. Even his mother had no idea that her late husband had penned a novel under the pseudonym Herbert Henry…
Don goes in search of the elusive book. He believes that if he reads it he might understand his father better.
At only 53 pages, this short story was a very enjoyable read. The short length didn’t deter the author from excellent characterization.
The point that the story exemplifies is that we, as adults, often do not ‘know‘ our own parents on a personal level. It is often only after our parents have passed away that we realize that our parents were vibrant and young at one time. People with dreams and hobbies, loves and insecurities.
This short story will be enjoyed by bibliophiles and short story lovers alike. But then that comes as no surprise… the author is David Bell.
This short story was in my own collection of ebooks. I plan to read more Bibliomysteries when time permits.
Check out the other great titles in the Bibliomysteries series from Open Road Media.David Bell is the author of seven novels from Berkley/Penguin, including BRING HER HOME, SINCE SHE WENT AWAY, SOMEBODY I USED TO KNOW, THE FORGOTTEN GIRL, NEVER COME BACK, THE HIDING PLACE, and CEMETERY GIRL. His work has been translated into numerous foreign languages, and in 2013, he won the prestigious Prix Polar International de Cognac for best crime novel by an international author. He is an associate professor of English at Western Kentucky University where he directs the MFA program in creative writing. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, he spends his free time rooting for the Reds and Bengals, watching movies, and walking in the cemetery near his house. He lives in Bowling Green, Kentucky, with his wife, writer Molly McCaffrey.