The Sign of the Book

by John Dunning

Hardcover, 2005




Charles Scribner's Sons, (2005)


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.

User reviews

LibraryThing member cathyskye
The Sign of the Book by John Dunning is a Cliff Janeway mystery. Janeway finds himself hip-deep in murder and books in remote Paradise, Colorado when a woman confesses to killing her husband.

Turns out that the woman is the former best friend of Janeway's girlfriend, Erin. The friendship ended when Erin's friend slept with and married Erin's fiancé. After some very uncomfortable meetings, Erin is enlisted to defend the woman along with the help of local attorney, Parley McNamera. They all believe that Laura confessed to the murder of her husband to protect the real killer, her autistic adopted son. Even though Janeway is itching to get at the huge collection of signed first editions in the deceased's library, he knows that he's got to find the real killer first. What he doesn't know is that the books and the murder are linked.

Dunning's Janeway mysteries are among my very favorites. I've been diligently sampling new mystery series for the past three years, and this is one of the few that I've kept current on, which should tell you something. I love mysteries that combine two of my addictions: puzzles and books. An added bonus with Dunning is that his character of Cliff Janeway vaguely reminds me of another favorite literary character, Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch.
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LibraryThing member Vagabondbookman
A very quick read. It did pick up toward the end, and was very hard to put down. Not as much book lore as some of the previous installments in the Cliff Janeway "Bookman" series, but enjoyable nonetheless. I will pass my copy on to a fellow bibliophile.
LibraryThing member sringle1202
Laura and Erin were as close as two friends could be, until Laura broke the code of friendship and had an affair with Erin's lover. Now, 10 years later, Laura is accused of killing that same man, (who is now her husband and father of her children) and has asked for Erin's help, even though they haven't spoken to one another for all those years. Will Erin help her? Erin sends her new lover to check on the case, and eventually decides to help. So is Laura guilty or not?

I was very pleased with this book. I haven't read any of the other books in this series, but I will have to go back and catch up now. This is also my first John Dunning book, but definitely won't be my last. I love his writing style. It is easy to read and hard to put down. His characters are well developed and witty.

I am glad I bought this book, and I will be glad to recommend it and pass it along.
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LibraryThing member shelleyraec
A solid, entertaining mystery - this is the first in the Cliff Janeaway series I have read. I like Cliff - an ex cop who has become a bookdealer and who now almost accidently combines the two skill sets. He is his own man, guided by his own ethics with a great sense of humour. Erin seems a good partner and I liked Parley as a minor character. All the characters are grounded well.I do think the plot was pretty transparent in regards to whom shot whom and why but I couldn't quite figure out where the plot thread regarding the Preacher would end up (which was no where in particular.) I also enjoyed learning a bit about the book trade.I liked it enough that I'll happily read others in the series.… (more)
LibraryThing member JBD1
Very quick potboiler bibliomysteries, but well worth reading.
LibraryThing member tjsjohanna
Someone from Erin's past is in trouble and Cliff gets recruited to help investigate. There's a real twist in the tail, and along the way some interesting red herrings. One nice thing about Mr. Dunning's mysteries is that they are all unique - the kinds of mysteries, the motives, and the settings. Makes each one a great stand-alone read.… (more)
LibraryThing member franoscar
I thought this was really bad. Illogical plotting & a very plodding style of writing.
LibraryThing member dono421846
A solid mystery, and one I enjoyed. I was a bit disappointed that the book angle -- the primary draw for me to this series -- proved to be a complete deadend in this title. Still, the sections in which that Dunning probes the market of signed volumes and book fairs were greatly rewarding.
LibraryThing member BookConcierge
WOW! Tight, suspenseful, as full of twists and switchbacks as a mountain road. The Cliff Janeway series is great.
LibraryThing member KarenRinn
This is a page turner - kept me guessing until the last chapter with a satisfying ending. Each Janeway book is better than the last. I enjoy the Mickey Spillane/Mike Hammer style (if that's an accurate analogy)of the tough ex-cop Janeway and supporting case of smart women, charming old guys, and assorted assholes :D
LibraryThing member kaitanya64
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.… (more)
LibraryThing member readingover50
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.… (more)
LibraryThing member sfeggers
Entertaining light reading.
LibraryThing member polywogg
Good book mystery, poor murder mystery
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.
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.
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.
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.
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LibraryThing member CheryleFisher
This is the first book I have read from this author and I loved it. Just one more author to add to my "to read" list!!
Because the story involves books, book selling, and murder I found this one right up my alley. I will definitely be looking for more by this author!!


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