The Bookman's Promise by John Dunning

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Synopsis

Cliff Janeway is back! The Bookman's Promise marks the eagerly awaited return of Denver bookman-author John Dunning and the award-winning crime novel series that helped to turn the nation on to first-edition book collecting.
First, it was Booked to Die, then The Bookman's Wake. Now John Dunning fans, old and new, will rejoice in The Bookman's Promise, a richly nuanced new Janeway novel that juxtaposes past and present as Denver ex-cop and bookman Cliff Janeway searches for a book and a killer.
The quest begins when an old woman, Josephine Gallant, learns that Janeway has recently bought at auction a signed first edition by the legendary nineteenth-century explorer Richard Francis Burton. The book is a true classic, telling of Burton's journey (disguised as a Muslim) to the forbidden holy cities of Mecca and Medina. The Boston auction house was a distinguished and trustworthy firm, but provenance is sometimes murky and Josephine says the book is rightfully hers.
She believes that her grandfather, who was living in Baltimore more than eighty years ago, had a fabulous collection of Burton material, including a handwritten journal allegedly detailing Burton's undercover trip deep into the troubled American South in 1860. Josephine remembers the books from her childhood, but everything mysteriously disappeared shortly after her grandfather's death.
With little time left in her own life, Josephine begs for Janeway's promise: he must find her grandfather's collection. It's a virtually impossible task, Janeway suspects, as the books will no doubt have been sold and separated over the years, but how can he say no to a dying woman?
It seems that her grandfather, Charlie Warren, traveled south with Burton in the spring of 1860, just before the Civil War began. Was Burton a spy for Britain? What happened during the three months in Burton's travels for which there are no records? How did Charlie acquire his unique collection of Burton books? What will the journal, if it exists, reveal?
When a friend is murdered, possibly because of a Burton book, Janeway knows he must find the answers. Someone today is willing to kill to keep the secrets of the past, and Janeway's search will lead him east: To Baltimore, to a Pulitzer Prize-winning author with a very stuffed shirt, and to a pair of unorthodox booksellers. It reaches a fiery conclusion at Fort Sumter off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina.
What's more, a young lawyer, Erin d'Angelo, and ex-librarian Koko Bujak, have their own reasons for wanting to find the journal. But can Janeway trust them?
Rich with the insider's information on rare and collectible books that has made John Dunning famous, and with meticulously researched detail about a mesmerizing figure who may have played an unrecognized role in our Civil War, The Bookman's Promise is riveting entertainment from an extraordinarily gifted author who is as unique and special as the books he so clearly loves.
 

About John Dunning

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John Dunning has revealed some of book collecting's most shocking secrets in his bestselling series of crime novels featuring Cliff Janeway: Booked to Die, which won the prestigious Nero Wolfe award; The Bookman's Wake, a New York Times Notable Book of 1995; and the New York Times and Book Sense bestsellers The Bookman's Promise, The Sign of the Book, and The Bookwoman's Last Fling. He is also the author of the Edgar Award-nominated Deadline, The Holland Suggestions, and Two O'Clock, Eastern Wartime. An expert on rare and collectible books, he owned the Old Algonquin Bookstore in Denver for many years. He is also an expert on American radio history, authoring On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. He lives in Denver, Colorado.Visit his website at www.oldalgonquin.com.
 
Published March 9, 2004 by Scribner. 496 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, History, Comics & Graphic Novels, Travel, Action & Adventure. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Bookman's Promise

Kirkus Reviews

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The man at the heart of the mystery is the late Darryl Grayson, whose limited editions are to die for--or, in one case at least, to kill for, as Janeway begins to realize when Eleanor, terrified of the ``darkman'' who's stalking her, slips away from him and gets picked up by Pruitt and two sideki...

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Kirkus Reviews

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Soon thereafter he gets an unannounced visit from Josephine Gallant, ancient granddaughter of Charles Warren—the American companion to Burton’s storied but mysteriously unwritten 1860 tour of South Carolina—who tells Janeway she once owned the book he’s purchased and begs him to recover the rest ...

Jan 15 2004 | Read Full Review of The Bookman's Promise

Publishers Weekly

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In the long-awaited sequel to Booked to Die, Denver policeman-turned-bookdealer Cliff Janeway is hired by sleazy ex-cop Clydell Slater to retrieve Eleanor Rigby (really), who has jumped bail and fled to Seattle.

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Publishers Weekly

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Continuation of the Cliff Janeway series, in which the cop turned rare book dealer pursues a fugitive and a priceless edition of Edgar Allan Poe.

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Publishers Weekly

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In Nero Wolfe Award–winner Dunning's third literate entry in his Cliff Janeway series (after Booked to Die and The Bookman's Wake ), 90-ish Josephine Gallant persuades the former Denver cop turned antiquarian bookseller to try to recover a rare collection of the works of Richard Burton, "the exp...

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BC Books

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I mention this because in each of these books the protagonist is a bookstore owner/book scout, which is probably one of the more compelling parts of the stories, because as a result books and text becomes a main character.

Sep 20 2005 | Read Full Review of The Bookman's Promise

Book Reporter

After an eight-year hiatus, author and antiques book collector John Dunning has returned Cliff Janeway --- the tough guy, Denver ex-cop turned bookstore owner and hero of two prior novels, BOOKED TO DIE and THE BOOKMAN'S WAKE --- to his fans.

Jan 21 2011 | Read Full Review of The Bookman's Promise

Mysterious Reviews

Review: The Bookman's Promise, by John Dunning, is the 3rd mystery in the Cliff Janeway series with the ex-cop and current used bookstore owner searching for a lost collection of books by famed explorer Richard Burton.

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